Tuesday, August 28, 2012

In the Middle

As I slice the blueberry kuchen, I sang a song I used to sing to Nick when he was four or five.  It came from the book 'Maybelle and the Ogre' by Bethany Roberts.  That song always pops into my head after I've picked blueberries at Bybee Farms and I'm about to make a blueberry pie.  I might go pick more blueberries tomorrow or Thursday. 

Then I happened to grab the spoon that I brought home from the Princess Cruise lines when Nick, my grandma, and I cruised to Alaska when he was eight months old.  Yes, I brought home one of their spoons.  I'd had a baby spoon at the table and somehow they took it while I was changing Nick's diaper during dinner.  When I asked them to retrieve it, they told me they couldn't, that I should just take a spoon.  I had to ask them to give me a spoon that would fit into my boy's mouth since all the spoons at the dinner table were as large as serving spoons. 

I can hear my husband saying goodnight to Nick with his bedroom door propped open.  I want to run in there and sit at the edge of his bed.  I want to tell him my stories of middle school, how I handled the bullies.  Really, Nick has already managed with bullies and he's done just fine.  I can shut up now, except that he doesn't seem old enough for this.  Yet he does. 

Sometimes I forget what my boy was like when he was eight months old.  He laughed a lot back then, when either of us whistled, when we called him 'Doodlebug,' when he could play with balloons, when he could jump in that jumping contraption we hung on the door between the kitchen and the utility room.  He cried a lot back then too, when his legs got sore from jumping, when he was hungry, when he didn't want to go to sleep but needed to so badly.

Sometimes I forget what my boy was like when he was four.  He grinned the whole time he was at soccer, running back and forth with the other toddlers, sometimes oblivious to the ball.  He was headstrong, once lying down in the middle of a busy street we were crossing.  That day, I had to put down my packages and tuck him under my arm like a football to make him understand that some things are just not negotiable.

Tomorrow, he starts middle school.  I know, some of you are experiencing what it's like to take your kids to college for the first time.  I'm not there yet.  I'm just not. 

See, for me college was the great escape.  I loved going to college.  It was an adjustment, I grant you, but they were exciting changes.  High school was a shift as well.  I went to a new school where I knew only half the students and I lost half of my friends to the other local high school.  But generally, I loved high school, even when I was a freshman.  I remember staring at a senior across the hall of my biology class, the song 'Blackwater' by the Doobie Brothers, doing my homework while I listened to Dr. Demento.  I had a good time in high school too. 

But middle school.....

Middle school was hell.  My two best friends from grade school turned on me, bullied me until I finally fought back.  Many times, I ate lunch alone.  Teachers loved me which is the death-knell for any kid on the scale of popularity.  Some kid called me pizza face when my face broke out.  Other kids teased me for being too smart.  And my heart ached for a boy who went for my new best friend.  That she knew I liked him and she kissed him anyway made her a lousy friend, but I was just learning those things too.  I stayed friends with her for far too long, throughout middle school.  Middle school was hell.

Nick said he's excited and nervous about tomorrow.  I have to remind myself that his experience won't be what I experienced at all.  I have to remind myself that he has a great network of friends that are all going en masse from the elementary school to the middle school.  Nick will manage.  I know he will.  We'll all adjust to the incredibly early hour for the start of the day.  School starts at 7:45 and his bus comes at 6:20.  Yes, it's that early.  My boy is not quick to get ready either.  He needs forty-five minutes when he's got his act together.  I'm sure to drive him to school most days.  That will give him more time in the morning.  Otherwise, he'll have to get in the habit of going to bed at 8:30 just to get nine hours of sleep!  That is just going to make this night-owl so very crabby.  I wonder how Nick will adjust to it.

He'll adjust.  He'll have to.  He's going to be okay.....

I hope.

Thank you for listening, jb


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