To My Boy Going Into Middle School

Middle school is where kids are blossoming – you’re not little anymore but not quite a teenager.

School starts next week and yes of course, in some ways I find myself anxious to get my 8 and 11 year old boys back into their routines.

But summer – oh, man. I’ll miss you.

I’ve embraced everything you had to offer. Besides the sunny days, marathon bike rides and trips to the river I’ve also embraced not packing lunches, hounding over homework and later bedtimes.

My younger son is going into 3 grade, going back to the same elementary school, same familiar gang of friends and teachers. No big whoop.

But my older son will be starting his first year of middle school, which he absolutely could not be more excited about. Which is totally great!

It’s me who is feeling nervous about this transition – I want to put a giant roll of bubble wrap around him to keep him just where he is right now. A thoughtful, sweet, goofy kid.

You see... middle school for me was not easy; we had just moved from New York to Florida. I didn’t know anyone; I was chubby and had trouble getting my naturally curly hair to feather like the other cool girls did. If you mentioned Mick Jagger or The Rolling Stones I would trap you for hours, spouting off facts and declaring my undying love. It was 1984 and just the way things were.

Middle school is where kids are blossoming – you’re not little anymore but not quite a teenager; the middle years can be rough.

Rather than blossoming upon my entry into middle school I was bursting all over the place. I’ve been tying to give my boy nuggets of learned advice as he excitedly grasps his ticket to board the 6 grade roller coaster.

Be open.

Just out of elementary school, get ready for many roads to intersect as you are sitting next to kids you’ve never seen before. I love your current gang so much, but be open to meeting new people. I met some of my besties in middle school once I stopped trying so hard, managed to relax and be myself and stop talking about Mick Jagger for five minutes.

Be focused.

I know it’s all new, fun and exciting but this is one thing I totally forgot about upon entering middle school; I kind of forgot about the school/learning part. There are more important things than who you have lunch next to or making sure you get into that Magic the Gathering after school club (for reals.) There’s science and math and stuff like that you need to keep up on.

Be kind.

If people are being mean, get the hell out of there. Smile at someone. Sit by someone who is alone. You know in your gut what is right and wrong, and you should trust that.

Be ready.

Friends! Moving around from class to class! Music! Activities! 7-11 within walking distance of new school! Electronics! Screens everywhere! Phones!

Be realistic.

You are so not getting a phone. I don’t care that your friends have one and that you’re the only one who doesn’t. You are 11.

Be cool.

I so love the fact that you want to get a jean jacket as part of your back to school wardrobe. It’s totally adorable. I mean totally cool.

Be loved.

As you learn more about who you are I am here. I will always be here. I know from experience that Mom may be the last person you want to talk with at times, but again, I’m right here. Change is exciting but change can be hard and I can’t wait to watch you learn and maneuver through all of this like a champ. And I love you.

In my mind I still envision the bubble wrap around you, the same way I did when I sent you off for your first day of kindergarten.

And yes, I’m already imagining the giant industrial strength roll I’ll be mentally purchasing three years from now on your first day of high school.

Lori’s website, Drawn to the ‘80s, is where her 5-year-old drew the hit music of the 1980’s. Her blog, Once Upon a Product, is where she writes about important things like beauty products, food and her ongoing Mick Jagger obsession.

Back To School, 70s Style