It’s the night before her 5th grade graduation and I throw myself on her bed, “You’re going to be a middle schooler!”
“Yeah,” she responds as a matter of fact. She laughs and plops her iPod down on the bed. “You need to read these, they are so funny.”
“Teenager Posts”, the images are labeled on Pinterest. I read through a few.
#5410 “Whenever I try cleaning my room I either end up making a bigger mess, or just playing with the things I thought I lost.”
#18599 “Saying, ‘I hate this song!’ then start singing every lyric.”
I laugh, remembering Jen Hatmaker’s words about teens just a few days ago.
“The weird thing is, those tiny sweet precious littles you are raising? The teens are the same people, just bigger. That humor? Same. That personality? Same. Those tendencies and leanings and giftings? Same. Your quirky 6-year-old who loves science and animal husbandry? Same, he just gets bigger with a lower voice.
Stop imagining that aliens will take over your darling preschooler at age 13.”
I think back to how sad I was at preschool graduation. Like, I could barely hold myself together so I wouldn’t bawl at them singing “I am a Promise.” I remember how much we struggled about whether to send her to private school or public school. We were so worried about putting her in the right environment to flourish. And then, how hard letting her go to Kindergarten was. I was terrified she wouldn’t have any help opening her milk carton.
I feel like I should be sad that we’re finishing elementary school and be panicky about middle school, but I can’t be. Elementary school has been simply a gift.
Yeah, we struggled through making a penguin, multiplication facts, spelling lists and the unending packing of lunches (kill me now), but the teachers she’s had and the friends she’s made, has been nothing but a joy. Not every kid has that experience and my heart aches for them, but we have to celebrate where we can and that’s what we’re doing today.
She’s had the best teachers and the best friends and the best education and you know, I’m simply excited for who my little Emma is becoming. She’s the same little Emma she was at 5 when she started, but also a new little Emma we’re watching bloom.
I’ve spent so many years being scared of the next step. I was scared of middle school before she’d even started kindergarten. If I’ve learned anything these past 6 years it’s that we don’t have to be anxious about 10 steps from now, we just have to be ready to take the next one. And we are.
Congratulations, my sweet girl.