Friday. We made it.

Dear Friends,

I would like to congratulate you on arriving to Friday in one piece. May your children arrive to school safely via the bus, or carpool, or their own God given legs, and may you just have a hot cup of coffee and breathe deeply because it’s FRIDAY, and we made it.

While surviving the week is generally enough, we have survived the first month of school. I don’t even know what to say about it. I am just over here like, middle school, and sick days, and exhaustion, and homework, and order forms, and meetings, one month and I am ready to tap out.

I wanted to check in, see how you are holding up, and just share a few ways we I managed to get here today, mostly in one piece. Picture it, week two, seventh day of school, a fever spiked. I can’t decide if day seven is better than month seven, or if this is just setting the groove back even further. You just embrace it, roll with it, and read more Harry Potter. But, after three missed days, and make up work, and weekend, the Monday morning blues hit with a vengeance, and it’s a teary start to the day. It’s the worst kind of tears because my heart was breaking, as much as his was.

The red heart found a permanent home here. This bear hands in our living room.

When the boys were younger and this happened, I would pin a felt heart onto their shirt, and I would tell them, “Touch the heart, and know I am thinking of you.”  And when they got a bit older, and still needed that daily encouragement, I taped a heart onto their snack container, so only they could see it, and know I was thinking of them. I wouldn’t mind going back to the heart days.

LT is transitioning to middle school. Middle. School. One month in and I still can’t wrap my brain around it. I am more mentally exhausted now than I was the day we brought L2 home and LT decided he didn’t need to nap anymore. I thought I would never sleep again. This is different. This is the real work of parenting. The walking on eggshells, pushing when they need it, retracting when they don’t, letting them fail, even when you could help them succeed, it’s long, encouraging teary-eyed talks at bedtime, and forcefully, sharp-toned tongue in the afternoons. It’s so desperately wanting to hold them forever, protect them forever, and knowing the real work is in teaching them, so you can let them go. And, really, it’s just the beginning. He and I are so new at this, his school hasn’t even implemented the missed homework policy. We get two more weeks, but he doesn’t even know because he’s treating it like it’s already there. He is tired. His brain is stretching and working harder than it ever has. He’s already set mental goals, like how many times he can achieve 100% on his math tests, and putting a team together for the Battle of the Books. He’s a different student already. He admits when he feels overwhelmed, as he manages a schedule that changes daily, two hands full of teachers and expectations, and learns the life-long lessons of time management. He is more enthused about topics he is interested in and cares about. The reading bug bit him so badly, that I see so much of myself in him at that age. Now I am the parent saying at ten o’clock at night, “you have to turn off your light, close the book and sleep.” He carries a binder now, so early in the week, I snuck in a little note of encouragement. I know right now, inside, it’s a three-ring circus of change, and I know, right now, he needs to know he is loved, he is doing this thing, and I couldn’t be more proud.

This is the tip of the iceberg for us. We are on the precipice of physical, emotional, and metal change. The road ahead already looks scary and challenging for me, and I have never wanted more than anything for LT and L2 to know they are loved, and they are doing this thing. And you know what that means, I am doing this thing too.

I am excited hearing and watching the animation in L2 as he tells about the turtle tracker, “Mom, they are swimming in Belize,” and the silliness of the third grade playground, and life in the world of Captain Underpants. And while, I listen, and nod, and smile, I am just slowly putting on my parenting armor for the adolescent and teen years to come.

Today is Friday. We made it.

Love to all,

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