updates and school supplies and saying goodbye to summer

summer2

It’s the fourth day of school and I guess I’m just glad Ramona doesn’t hate it.

I feel bad for her. She’s met a couple of friendly kids, but it’s still so new. It’s not like they’re super close best friends. She eats lunch alone because she doesn’t know anyone well enough yet. You want to break a mama’s heart? Tell her that her kid eats lunch alone. And then top it off with listening to this kid tell the story of how nervous she is as she walks into each class wondering if she’s always in the wrong class. (So far, she’s been in the right class.) (Thankfully.)

My brain knows that it’s going to be fine. She’s going to make friends. She’s going to have wonderful experiences. Switching classes won’t always be so nerve-wracking.  She is going to be great. I know this. But my heart hurts because she’s lonely and she’s scared and it’s so far outside her comfort zone.

And, hey…since my heart is already living outside of my body, when is it going to get easier to say that Beezus is going to be a junior in high school when she goes back on Thursday? JUNIOR. Because, each time I say it, I almost don’t believe my own words. It just sounds…weird. And not possible. And weird. (This may also be compounded by the fact that her sixteenth birthday is this week. Probably.)

This school year is already killing me a little. And one of my kids isn’t even back to school yet.

I need to stop trying to hold on to summer so hard. I need to jump into this school year with a better attitude and not be so resistant to change. But I really don’t want to. I don’t. I’m not ready for the rigid schedules and practice times…and holy crap I hate homework. I just really, really do.

But I know that my kids need me to be all in. Because even if I don’t verbalize to them how much I hate this, I know they can feel it. I KNOW it. And that’s not fair. Because even if I wish I could just hold on to them and hold on to summer just a little bit longer, they have to be ready for all that the new school year throws at them. And my moping about it isn’t going to do any of us a bit of good.

I may have to resort to buying my own school supplies. I love a new notebook to fill and the perfect pen to go with it. And it just might be the thing to pull me out of summer and into this current space of being a mom to a sixth grader and a (sigh) junior in high school. It’s time for me to be excited for what’s in store for both of them. And for me. For all of us.

If I’m too busy holding on to summer, I’m going to miss everything that’s happening right now.

We still have a few more days until Beezus heads back to school and we’re also getting ready as we celebrate her sixteenth birthday. There are a couple of Campfire Wednesdays to look forward to and a few other family gatherings to enjoy. So I’ve kinda given myself this week to phase out of my summer mindset. But I’ve also reminded myself that Ramona needs more structure and more focus to make sure that the start of the school year isn’t any harder than it already is.

A little balance? Yeah…I guess that’s what we’re looking for. Or really, a slightly more balanced wibble-wobble.

If there even is such a thing.

what motherhood does to your commute

I cried for more than half my commute today.

This is one of those things that you really (probably) shouldn’t admit to the internet, but there you have it. I did a lot of crying on the way to work today after I dropped Ramona off at her first day of middle school. And, by some crazy luck, I didn’t destroy all of my makeup that I had already applied. Apparently, I’m an excellent car crier. However, if you saw me crying on the freeway, please don’t tell me what that looked like. I for reals don’t want to know.

Every now and again, as it is well documented here, I have trouble with my kids getting older. I’m a big ‘ol baby about all of it and I cry just talking about it. In my defense, I spent many years being completely immune to the milestones, so I’m making up for lost time. Or I’m really just in a panic now that it’s close to sending one of my kids off to college. Or maybe I’m just the b00biest of b00bs and I cry a lot.

(I also keep typing “cry” as “cray” and I find that this blog post is trying to tell me something.)

(Also…duh.)

I had a feeling that today would be hard for me. I’m not ready to let go of summer and I’m certainly not ready for my “baby” to be this old sixth grader person in middle school. And I also had so many worries about this kid starting a brand new school in our brand new area where she doesn’t know anyone her age. She was so nervous. I, of course, don’t blame her one bit. And my heart broke about a 2,264 times when I thought about her and all her worries and fears and weird school dreams.

I’m glad that we did all that we could last night to make this morning run smoothly. She knew what she was going to wear. We went over the map of her classes and where she would need to go. We made lunches. We got the backpack all set up. We told her over and over how awesome she was. And reminded her again and again how much we love her.

firstdayofsixthgrade
Hurry up and take the picture, mom.

And honestly? She did great this morning. She was nervous and couldn’t eat her breakfast, but she had a great attitude and a smile on her face. We parked about a block away so that we could all walk her up, and she kept grabbing my hand over and over until we got closer to the school buildings. I worried that she would feel embarrassed holding my hand, but she didn’t. And when we got closer to the school, I just let my hand rest on her back so that she didn’t have to worry about pulling her hand away or making me feel bad. She walked into her “homeroom” class and the three of us walked away.

So…yeah. I cried while I drove to work. And then I scolded myself because driving while crying is not the safest way to travel. I thought about how blessed I am and how grateful I am for these amazing kids that I have. And I tried to focus on all the gratitude as I turned on the radio to try to distract myself. I was flipping through the different channels when I heard a Steve Miller Band song that I used to sing (the chorus) to her because it’s one of the nicknames I call her. It’s not a song that gets played very often, so I kinda chuckled to myself. The song after that is one she really liked when it came out. So I smiled.

But then in an unexplainable coincidence (or maybe and probably not) on the same radio station, Joan Jett started playing. Blame Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, but I will never (EVER) forget how much my kid loved “I Hate Myself for Loving You” and how she would sing it at the top of her lungs. And as the song played while I was driving on the freeway, I pictured six-year-old Ramona singing her guts out as she battled it out on Guitar Hero. So it will surprise no one that the crying resumed at that time. In a very ugly fashion, I’m sure.

Everyone is quick to tell you how hard it is to be a mom and how fast time flies by. But it’s amazing how none of us really listen. We always roll our eyes and say “yeah, yeah…I know” as we clean up after the kid that just dumped cereal on her head. We ignore the warning as we drive all over God’s green earth taking each kid to their various sports practices. And then all of a sudden, you drop your kid off at her first day of sixth grade and a Joan Jett song has completely ruined you AND your makeup.

It is both wonderful and awful all at the same time. And, my goodness, is it hard.

You are not going to believe me, but I swear to you that the universe, God, and the radio station wanted to make this story a good one. Or they just wanted to see me cry a lot this morning. It’s probably the crying, but as I finally start to laugh at myself, and turn onto the street where my office is, Green Day’s “Time of Your Life” started to play. I shit you not.

I laughed just as much as I cried.

And then vowed to start listening to a new radio station starting tomorrow.

at some point, I’m going to have to learn to let go

I don’t remember being tormented by my children “graduating” preschool or starting kindergarten. I remember being sad that they were nervous and scared, but I don’t remember having a “my baby’s growing up!” moment back then. Even when Beezus started middle school, I was all business. I don’t think it occurred to me to be sentimental or sad. It was just the next step! Part of life!

I’m not saying my heart was made of stone. I just think I was working so hard to just keep us all afloat and alive that recognizing milestones wasn’t something I could focus on.

Until I couldn’t focus on anything else.

The night before Beezus started high school, I realized there were a bunch of milestones sitting on my chest and weighing on my mind. They weren’t going to let me get away with ignoring them anymore. It wasn’t so much that she was starting high school-I was excited for that-but that all of a sudden I was on a deadline. Without realizing it, college became this ticking time-bomb and the countdown on the clock was staring me in the face. It was like I could actually see the glaring red numbers showing me exactly how much time had already passed. How much time I had missed when I was so busy just surviving.

Her starting high school meant I had four years left on the clock. Four years left of her being mine.

I’m not dumb. I know that she’ll always be my daughter…but it will all change when she leaves for college. I won’t be able to squeeze her any time I want. She won’t be around for me to cook her favorite meals. (Shut up, it happens sometimes.) She won’t come home to me and us and our house each night. I won’t be able to just walk into her room to see how she’s doing. She’ll be her own person. She’ll be grown.

b&me

This all hit me like a ton of bricks the night before her freshman year. It was wrecking me in ways that I had never experienced. I have no recollection of most things that night. But I remember climbing into bed. And then getting right back out and walking down the hall to her room.

I wordlessly climbed into her bed with her. She was still awake.

“Hey.” I whispered.

And then there couldn’t be any other words from me. The hot tears ran down my face and soaked her pillow as I tried to take a deep breath.

“Are you crying??” she asked. If only to give her something to say.

She knew that I was, of course. We both laughed. And then we resumed crying. Because of course I made my child cry.

When I could finally speak, I told her that I was freaking out. I told her that I was so excited for her and all things high school, but that all of a sudden, I was losing my mind over the fact that I only had four years left before she left for college. I told her that it had snuck up on me. I told her how proud I was of her…how much I loved her. And that I knew I was being a little bit ridiculous. But that I just couldn’t help myself. We laughed that I couldn’t seem to stop crying. At all.

I knew she needed to sleep. I knew that I was supposed to let her.

But I also didn’t want to leave.

mom n beezus

We grew up together, her and I. When I was a (too) young mother just struggling to just survive, she kept me sane. When my heart was broken in a million pieces, she put me back together. At times when I didn’t think I was doing anything right, she made me believe that I was. She was my bright spot when everything was dark. If you wonder why the thought of sending her off to college leaves me wrecked, this is why. She is more than just a piece of me. She’s one of the very best pieces of me.

And I’m going to have a very hard time letting that piece of me go.