And then the famous Pomp and Circumstance music started rolling and my lips started quivering.
All the 5th graders marched into the MPR, all dressed up with their homemade-Pinterest-worthy mortarboard graduation hats on heads, purple leis around their necks. Shining bright.
And I kept smiling on the outside with my bright lipstick smile but I was losing it inside.
This is it. This was it.
The end of the Elementary School Years. Forever. My 3rd-born-love, Katie-Kate, finished Cornerstone. After being there for 12 years, I can now retire my green apron. No more service hours, General Parent Meetings, In-services, and Teaching Parent Shifts. Done. Done. Done.
Kate was just born two weeks before Luke started TK there. He was 4, Ryan was 2, and Kate was 0, and in the stroller. (Well, so was Ryan.)
I just birthed her out of my tummy (barely had to push, 3rd child and all…) and now she is ready for middle school. Just like that. Blink.
She is entering the “I-don’t-need you-but-I-need-you” stage. Push. Pull. Push. Pull. Ouch.
Kate has never wanted to go to bed. Since she was a baby. Confession: I am a little mortified at this, but I actually gave her a bottle in bed. In her crib. And I EVEN gave her one when she was too little to hold the bottle with her chubby little hands. I would prop it up with blankets and put her in her infant seat in her crib. I was desperate for rest. Don’t lynch me.
She has always been a night-owl. Along with my husband Chris, and Luke. They all surpass me at night. I tuck myself in and Kate now comes in to say goodnight to me. This is new.
The other night I sat on her bedside wanting to reflect on promotion, wax all nostalgic and poetic-like. She said, “You can go Mom.” PUSH. PUSH. PUSH.
ME: It wasn’t that long ago that you NEEDED me, and WANTED me, to sit bedside, and rub your arm and scratch your head, pray with you, speak a blessing over you.
ME: You forgot already???? It was only a month ago we still did this.
KATE: Oh…You can go now, Mom. I’m ok.
PUSH. May I not take these moments personally. When she takes on the typical adolescent attitudes and posturing, and arguing, and criticizing, may I not take it personally. May I remember that this stage of development is awkward and difficult for some or all. May I be filled with patience, wisdom, and compassion. May I be a really good LISTENER. Listen to her, listen to her heart amidst the tangle of words and emotions.
I do know she needs me. She knows it deep down, too. She watches me all the time, she sees my feminine/girly ways, my interest in books, fashion and writing. (And she is a writer, too!!!) She is so excited to start middle school, make new friends, and take new classes. LORD, please protect her from all the middle school crap and drama.
And God, keep me sane, as I say hello to Teenage Kate and say goodbye to The Innocent Years, The Green Apron Years, The Easy Years.
I think I need some kleenex…