I remember bawling when Jordan walked out the door on her first day of middle school. I have never not walked her to the bus stop on the first. I looked out my bedroom window so I could catch a glimpse of her. She was standing quietly surrounded by some large high schoolers, and I sobbed. It felt like kindergarten all over again.
I knew she was as prepared as humanly possible. She organized her two binders for hours, made a color coordinated excel spreadsheet of her schedule, and made sure she had many copies. She perfected her first-day outfit, and learned to wax and tweeze her eyebrows, because apparently they were “too hairy”. I don’t think I realized I had eyebrows in sixth grade. Basically, her prep for middle school took weeks of effort and planning.
As adults, we are well aware that no matter how organized and prepared a person is, there’s no guarantee life will go as expected. On Jordan’s second day, she couldn’t find her Spanish homework (it was in her binder the whole time), had to get a hall pass, couldn’t find her locker, walked into the wrong room, (filled with eighth graders), and started to sweat.
My initial reaction to her detailed, daily account was to brace myself for the blow; be prepared for anything. I promised myself that this time I wouldn’t get upset, angry or emotional. Middle school is scary, and any reaction would be acceptable and “normal”. Cringe. I was brutally aware of the possible repercussions, when Jordan felt out of control and overwhelmed.
Okay, so maybe it’s not surprising that today I take Zoloft for anxiety, because I seem to be pretty effective at making something out of nothing, and of worrying about things that are out of my control. What is the point of that?? If you know you have absolutely no control over something (for instance, EVERYTHING about your child) then to sit around all day guessing and worrying... it’s futile.
I must have kept my mouth shut, because Jordan retreated to her room for a while, and by evening she was laughing about her day. Laughing... Jordan… Afterwards she showed me her first short assignment. It asked: What are you good at?, and her answer was: “Being me.”
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