For almost a decade my husband and I had a plan to pull our trio off the track they were on in 7th grade and homeschool them for the year. We truly love our school, so we were not leaving because of problems or issues. The thought process was that we would have more time for travel on our own schedule and that we could have an intensive year of pouring into Kate, Ryland & Parker before they crossed the threshold into the rapid independence of adolescence.
Last Spring, as time came closer to pull the trigger, multiple factors made it clear they should stay put. I was disappointed and relieved. Glad to remain part of a strong team of caring educators and anxious to see what the year would hold. As I type this afternoon, only 2.5 days remain until 7th grade is in our rearview mirror. This led me to consider why God had us stay.
Middle school is legendary for all the awkwardness and mean things that happen. The most cringe-worthy moments of my life happened between 1986 and 1988 as I traversed my own middle school chapter. My two "best" friends stole my journal and read it aloud to the boys I had secret crushes on, my training bra was accidentally exposed to my whole class during a PE exercise and I became known as "blue bow," and I had an unfortunate moment of flatulence combined with a sneeze in an otherwise silent math class that became known as "Achoo Boom."
Thankfully, my offspring seem to have avoided such juvenile fiction and motion picture worthy embarrassments, but this season has still been full of its own memorable lessons.
Dealing with middle school simultaneously experienced by three distinct individuals has been mostly OK, but I have earned some parenting stripes. To protect the stories that are not fully mine to tell, I will speak in broad terms:
An adolescent with ADHD, Anxiety & Sensory Processing plus hormone surges is its own kind of roller coaster, but my kid has made tremendous strides and knows there is a TEAM of caring adults backing him/her.
There have been successes marked by certificates and public fanfare as well as private feelings of failure from not making a cut.
We've experienced unreciprocated first crushes both as the crusher and the crushee and been involved in a love triangle where child A's best friend had a crush on child B's best friend, who had a crush on child C. Whew.
There have been multiple long conversations about truthtelling, sneakiness, temptation and living in the light.
Great experiences have been gained in performing before an audience, receiving feedback and sharing credit.
We've learned lessons about gossip, friendship, bullying, and forgiveness.
They have grown a combined 13 inches in height and a multitude in maturity and responsibility.
What felt like giving up on adventure, was actually just an entry point into the adventure of real life in the weeds of middle school. :-)
And I am truly happy to be a Mom right smack in the thick of it. Because THIS STUFF, this really is it. Parenting them in the world with all its heartache, frustrations, temptations, beauty, and discovery--this is the training ground, the rich fertile soil in which God grows men and women.
I am so grateful for a chapter that reminds me that even (especially?) when it doesn't look like we planned, the process is what God is using to sanctify us all!