As I walked down the hallway I heard the pastor say, “Hey, kiddo that was the most amazing pumpkin bread ever!” Tears welled up in my eyes as I walked out of the church and got in the car. They couldn’t have known that earlier in the day she had led her parents through her parent-teacher conferences for the first time as mom and dad struggled to not to interject (with nominal success). Growing up is tough and sixth grade is definitely hard on kids, but WOW, what a transition for parents! We had realized the day before that while we could help her check homework, that our days of helping her get everything together and her teachers at school helping her get everything in had passed. The reality had changed and we had to grow as parents while she grew into a young adult.
As that first fall long ago passed with her heading off to pre-school and I wanted to go every moment to see my baby girl. Once I finally got used to the process of Tadpoles Childcare, then our son was born and again I had to get used to sending our precious bundle off. However, they were well cared for by folks I am still friends with today. Then came kindergarten and again my nerves were a wreck as we dropped her and then him off at kinder. Now we hit sixth grade and all of the sudden like a ton of bricks I realize that while my knowledge can still help her in many areas, I can’t understand all she has to get done. In reality, would I want to? Sixth grade and junior high is really tough. I remember my time in junior high and I constantly felt behind the eight ball and out of sync. You know though, in remembering those days I now wonder if the ‘weirdness’ of junior high isn’t necessary for us to find success later on. We have to learn how to work with multiple teachers, get to class, write down our assignments, do our homework, advocate for ourselves and ultimately to take responsibility for the outcomes. That is all new and happening at junior high. That is where it belongs, helicopter parents beware!
To find future success, we have to let them fly and invariably when they fly they will have some struggles. Today my daughter chose to step up, take control of her studies and be an adult for the first time. I am so very proud of her for her tenacity. Tonight, though the reality of her kindness, which is a life skill that isn’t contained in a book, shone through as she was thanked, loved and praised for her awesome pumpkin bread and the kindness she showed in baking it and sharing with others. For all the lessons for her this week, I am most proud of this one. For the lessons mom and dad learned this week, its okay to let them fall, invariably they are tenacious and they fix their eyes on the hope of a better tomorrow and work hard to make it a reality.