The Middle Grade Years Are Breaking My Heart
I know for so many moms out there, back to school is bringing up a lot of lasts. The last time they’ll get to kiss their child goodbye or hold their hand at the school drop-off. The last time they’ll drive their kid to school. The last meet-the-teacher.
At home, we are going through so many lasts, it’s making my head dizzy. My son, now in Grade 6, has already nixed reading to him in bed, a good night cuddle and even being seen with him at school.
Not only that, but the conversation has changed entirely. I’ll ask him about his day and instead of an answer, I’ll get quizzed on the latest YouTube stars. He’s spending more time at friends’ houses, and less time at home. He’s stepping out of reach, picking up things from other kids and adults, and coming home and telling me things he’s learned that are out of my control.
He thinks about the future, and I have to hold my tongue while he tells me about his dreams and goals. He hangs out alone in his room, browsing online, while his younger siblings play and watch TV together. And on Saturday mornings, he doesn’t come to our bed anymore.
Worse, speeding along in his footsteps, his brothers won’t be far behind, I know. It reminds me that before I know it, all the shouting at the dinner table will be replaced by awkward silences, Sunday phone calls and holiday get-togethers.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. It’s just that, when your kids are younger, the future is hard to imagine. You’re so caught up in surviving day today, it can be hard to see the finish line. The middle-grade years are, in my house anyway, the first hint of things to come.
Which is why, on the nights when my middle-grade son does want me to stick around if only to ask questions about the world lingering in his mind, I have to tamp down the sobs. Because he’s still mine, if only for a while longer.