Tomorrow is the first day of school around here. (All of you who's kids have been in school since August 15, pipe down...I don't want to hear it.) MM is going into 1st grade, which I'm okay with, even though she's the baby. Hoover is in third, and while I can't believe it (he's considered a "big kid" now and will have a younger "buddy" to watch during weekly chapel services...which quite honestly makes the color drain from my face), I'm okay with that too. LP is now a sixth-grader, and herein lies the problem.
I'm certainly not old enough to have a middle schooler.
We switched to private school last year, and they go up through sixth grade, even though the local public middle school starts in sixth grade. We had a choice in what to do, and we thought that one more year delaying the muddied waters of adolescence could only work to LP's favor.
But damn it if it isn't happening anyway. He's joined the middle school band, which had band camp at 8 am for two weeks in August. He recently got contacts. He's showering more and brushing his hair without being asked. He does his chores, and pretty much anything else I ask of him, without complaining. The other night, he cooked dinner. (It was Hamburger Helper, and if memory serves, that was my first dinner made, too.) This year, he will walk home from school two days a week and stay at home for 90 minutes by himself.
He's certainly growing up, and I while I know this has always been the final outcome in the grand plan of his life, I wasn't aware that so much of it happens at once.
I'm not ready for this.
Now, don't get me wrong, he's still a little boy in many respects, and some sides of budding adolescence truly suck...like the mouthiness, the drama, and the fact that he already knows it all and I couldn't possibly be right about anything. He fights with MM like it's his job, and when I tell him I expect him to be five years more mature than his little sister, he just doesn't get it. There are still days where I look back at that 23 year-old new mother and want to warn her. But those days aren't as numerous as they used to be.
I recently had a conversation with my stepsister about kids growing up. Her kids are almost exactly the same amount of years apart as mine, only 9 years older. My little niece, who is the youngest in her family and was the flower girl at my wedding, recently finished her driver's training and is now just waiting to turn 16 so she can get her license. And I gasp. I look to the future when it's MM getting her license, and that's when Disgruntled Husband has to get the smelling salts out for me.
I'm not ready, and doubt I ever will be. Which, ironically enough, is what I thought when I had that first positive pregnancy test.
LP is my first baby, the practice kid, the child of two very young and stupid (at the time) newlyweds. The last time he grew up and learned so much in a short amount of time was that first year, and that went so fast. I've been so ready for the maturity train to get to the station, I may have overlooked having a plan once it happened. And that train is pulling into the station, even as we speak.
Middle school happens.