Little No More


School started last month and we had a change in our house. My oldest went to Junior High. I have been dreading this for a long time because I feel the Junior High years are hard for kids as they are stuck somewhere between being a kid and an adult. However, I did not expect to cry more than when he went to kindergarten.

When he started kindergarten, it was celebrating a milestone, but you may have cried because they were going to be separated from you for so long during the day (every day). But when they start Junior High, you are used to sending them off to for the day, but this time I felt like there was more of a loss.

As I reflected, this is what I felt like I was loosing:

  • As they enter Junior High, they are entering the teen years where it is normal for them to start not only separate from you physically, but mentally as well. They are starting to become their own person, with their own opinions and thoughts. This can be fulfilling to watch as they start to think for themselves because it is kind of a performance evaluation of your parenting. However, there is a reason why they do still live at home with you. They are not adults, and they are not perfect with every thought and action. You realize that you have graduated from raising a child to raising a soon-to-be adult.
  • There have been changes family traditions. I have lost one of my favorites. The first day of school picture, where both of my kids are together. Even when the younger child was not in school yet, he was still in the picture and he was still was at the bus stop. If your kids were lucky enough to all attend the same school together, there was some comfort in knowing they were all at the same place. Now I have two different routines for two different kids.
  • When you have older kids, it can result in busy schedules. As a dietitian, I have always thought family meals are important, but as my kids have aged, the family dinner seems to be extinct. One of the things I started doing a few years ago was I made sure to sit down and eat breakfast with the boys. This was a way for the 3 of us to connect at least 1 time per day to make up for the fact that dinner did not always happen together. Now, that is lost and I am still working on a solution.
  • You realize over ½ of the time you have with them is gone. Typically, children live under your roof for at least 18 years. Junior High has become a sudden realization that the last 6 or 7 years of school have flown by and the next 6 will likely seem to go by more quickly. At the end of those years, your child will not be moving to another building, getting a new teacher, or taking a different bus route, but they will likely be moving on to college. You suddenly realize that you only have 6 more years to love them, nurture them, give them the confidence to seek their dreams, and make sure they are going to be able to be an adult without you there. You have 6 years to teach them how to manage their money, make their favorite meals, sew on a button, do their laundry, and prepare them to be someone who is kind, caring, and considerate.

I did not realize that I would feel so sad about the loss of time but feel the extreme pressure of all that needs to be taught. So now, I will forge ahead and spend the time letting them know how loved they are and working with them so they feel prepared to enter adulthood in 6 years. I hope 6 years from now I feel like I used my time wisely.


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