Friday, August 9, 2013

My (Gulp) Sixth Grader...

“I’m just worried that it’ll change him! Harden him!” I admitted hysterically to my husband as we Skyped.

“Amber, he’s going to 6th grade, not prison,” he reminded me calmly. He was not worried at all. He was not concerned that his first born was headed into MIDDLE SCHOOL.

“Boys get facial hair in middle school,” I hissed. “Facial. Hair.”

Tom blinked. “It happens.”

I chewed on my lower lip. “I’m not ready. He’s not ready. He’s my baby.”

“He needs to grow up,” Tom cut in, unmoved.

Well, what did he know?

I took Tommy to his 6th grade orientation on Wednesday. Before we walked into the building I stopped and tugged on my son’s hand. “This is it,” I said. “This is a new beginning.”

Tommy cocked his head to the side, baffled. “Huh?”

Okay, maybe I was the only one concerned, although I knew Tommy was a little nervous. This would be the first year where he’d have multiple classes. A locker.

We had to wait in line to show proof of residence. As we waited, a part of me wanted to gather Tommy in my arms. He seemed too young for this. Wasn’t he just born yesterday? Why was everyone suddenly looking so…grown up? But I could not hug him. Not in public, anyway.

I filled out some paperwork and then Tommy was given his schedule.


Gone are the days when he’d sit in one classroom. In 4th and 5th grade he just went into one other across the hall. This was different. These classrooms were all over. I know he tends to panic if he’s running late. Suppose he melted down as he rushed to his next class?

All the teachers were in the school so we were able to meet them. I also let Tommy lead the way to his classrooms. Lucky for him, all his rooms are in one area the first quarter. It could be different for future quarters though.

I’m beginning to panic just thinking about it. MY BOY!

Tommy was polite. He stuck out his hand and said, “Nice to meet you,” to each of his new teachers.

“Will you take care of my boy?” I wanted to ask each one of them. But I swallowed it back.

“Tommy, your new school is big and weird,” Natalie observed as we went to Tommy’s third period class. THIRD PERIOD. He has SIX classes.

Tommy’s new third period (!) teacher beamed and went, “Is this your sister?” after Tommy shook his hand.

“Yes. Sometimes she bothers me. At least she’ll be in a different school now.”

I didn’t even fully think about that. But yes, it’s true. I’ll have kids in different schools. Sometimes when I’d go into the elementary school I’d think, “Maybe I’ll get a glimpse of both my children.” Now it’ll only be one or the other, depending on what school I go to.

I wanted to burst into tears. But I couldn’t. I wanted my husband. I could have leaned on him for support. He would have held me close and been like, “Calm down, Amber. You still have Minnie Mae.” I mean. Natalie. Sorry. The scene from Anne of Avonlea had popped in my head—I thought of Diana’s mom crying because Diana was getting married—and the great aunt said boldly, “Calm down, you still have Minnie Mae.”

I still had six-year-old Natalie who still resembled a little girl and who still spoke in her adorable chipmunk voice that would eventually fade as Tommy’s had done. I miss his chipmunk voice, guys.

It felt surreal as we went on the middle school tour. I was in disbelief that this time had come. Where had my little boy gone? Suddenly I was thrust in a world of multiple classes and kids who were obsessed with cell phones. Some girls already had BREASTS.

I didn’t feel ready. It felt too soon.

But it’s happening. My boy is growing up. There will be struggles as he manages the multiple classes. There might even be tears as he struggles with his locker. He has never been strong with fine motor skills. But I have faith that he’ll succeed. We’ll get through this.

Good luck with middle school, Tommy.


  1. It's not prison, hahahaha!!! He'll be fine, mama, but I TOTALLY understand the nervousness. Hugs!

  2. Calm down mama, all kids grow up.

  3. I remember crying that my son was going to get married one day.....while I was PREGNANT with him. He's only 4 & I'm tearing up just thinking about this!! I'd be a mess! You deserve a medal for keeping it all together. Good job!!

    And can you let me know when, exactly, he lost his chipmunk voice? I'm going to need a cocktail (or 5) to get through that one.

  4. You're too cute. I bawled my eyes out dropping my daughter off at her first day of daycare! I can't even think about middle school right now!

  5. Usually the middle school eases the kids into changing classes by having the classes all in one corridor. At least they did around our area. This is just preparing the kids for high school (SOB!!) when the classes are all over the place!

    Tommy is growing up to be quite a nice young man. You should be very proud! Things moms tend to worry about don't seem to phase the kids. He will be fine.

  6. Oh, girl, I get you!! My baby is going into 8th grade this year. He has underarm hair and is taller than me by several inches. His feet have been bigger than mine for a few years. Oh, and he started shaving his mustache area (only once a week or so) last spring.
    It's so weird and wondrous! Deep will be okay...and it happens so gradually it sneaks up on you. --Lisa

  7. It's a hard transition! This is my daughter's last year in elementary school because they start middle school in 5th grade here! This will be me next year!

  8. I don't know why but this sentence: "He has never been strong with fine motor skills." is adorable! You're such a mom and I love it! I'm kind of freaking out about Bud going into second grade so I can't imagine how you feel about 6th! But hang in there! At least he's not going to (gulp) college!!!!!!

  9. Awww Tommy is going to do great! He may have a few bumps along the way but he'll figure it out. :-)

  10. Damnit!!! Stop!!! You have me panicking along with you because Princess too starts...gulp...6th grade!! Hold me?!

  11. Haha, you made me laugh making middle school sound like prison. Don't worry - I'm betting all of our mom's around the world felt this way when we were all young and making a big change in our lives. My baby boy is starting Kindergarten. So far with pre-school and his little Kindergarten camp, he's not crying "mommy I want to stay with you" where Shelby did and so did I when I was their age. And of course I want to cry and be the one to tell him, no - stay here with me.

    Oh, and I am so glad I was not the only one who watched Anne of Avonlea - I loved that show!

  12. I totally understand your concern; middle school presents all kinds of challenges. Fortunately, not all at once. You and Tommy have a history of working things out and that will continue. You might even get to hug him in private. (I don't know how that works; maybe he thinks he's too old already.) It's great that schools have orientations now to ease the transitions, for kids AND parents.

  13. Sending you hugs - because I get it. I cried when I dropped mine off for the first day at daycare, pre-school, kindergarten, middle school, high school and college.

    The time goes by so freaking fast - and where's a cop when you need one to slow it down?

    In the end, he will be fine - and so will you.

  14. My Des is my Minnie Mae, I suppose! My daughter is just starting her second year or preschool this year. Nothing earth-shattering. Yet!

    I hope they take good care of your boy! They will.

  15. I am not looking forward to this. Kindergarten will be tough enough.

  16. "It's not prison." That comment is hilarious!
    I cannot even imagine all that you are feeling.
    I have two boys (2 and 4). I am already worked up bc 4 will be going three days to preschool instead of two. (I know, right?!) I'm sure I will be a hot mess once he starts kindergarten, let alone middle school!
    Well, that's what wine if for, right?!

  17. Oh, I so get it. I am so with you. Though not in middle school yet, my oldest boy is going to start 3rd grade in a couple of weeks and has just left to go on his first sleep-away camp. 8 years old -- where did the time go? In some circles, he's known as a pre-teen - when did I become a mother of one of those?

    The prison comment is hilarious! Good luck to your baby and to you!

  18. Aw, I was there last year and it is a tough transition but probably more for us than them. We seemed to get the rhythm down by early December around here. This year I have an obnoxious 7th grader who knows EVERYTHING already.

  19. I seriously want to jump through the screen and hug you. Im going through the same emotions with my two boys who start 6th grade on the 20th, and Im so worried about the whole thing. I can already see a small change in my boys over the past few months, and I have to admit Im a little worried about the months coming....

  20. I guess it's a good thing our kids don't freak out about themselves growing up the way we freak out about it. Best wishes for an easy transition. In a month or two you'll be wondering what you were ever worried about. But that doesn't take away the worry now. And the sadness that your little boy isn't little anymore. I hope it gets better quickly.

    Happy Sharefest. Have a great weekend.

  21. It is really hard seeing kids grow up. Some schools go back so early. My daughter goes back on the 28th, counting down the days. haha.

  22. Oh goodness! This is a tough one....I'll be the exact same way when my little one goes to school!

  23. he really is growing up. The problem with my nephew right now is all his guy classmates look like mini-men. Little men. They're already developing but Alec is not! He still looks like a fresh young boy, totally hairless and goofy and babyish. I would really like to keep Alec that way.

    Keep us posted on how Tommy does!


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