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Fayette-Mom: Full steam toward middle school

Posted August 25, 2014

Jennifer Joyner

— As I sit and watch several friends send their “babies” off to college, I know I’m lucky.

I don’t have to go days without laying eyes on my child, wondering if they’re eating, sleeping and studying enough. I have years before anything like that enters my realm of reality, and for that, I am thankful.

But I can’t help but realize that it all happens so very fast.

My daughter is starting her last year of elementary school this year, and I wish I could tell you I’m taking it well. I am not. I feel as though I am on a high-speed locomotive barreling toward a destination I never asked to visit.

Sure, I knew when I had kids that one day they would grow up and no longer need me, but knowing that and feeling that are so very different. Heartbreaking doesn’t seem an adequate enough word.

How about suffocating? Is that too dramatic? Perhaps, but honestly, when I think of starting middle school next year, I have trouble breathing. I mean, isn’t that where it all really starts to fade? Them wanting us to walk them to their classrooms? Falling into our arms at the end of a bad day? Begging for one more hug and kiss before they surrender to sleep?

When we have toddlers demanding every second of our conscious thought, we fantasize about the days when they won’t need us quite so much. When that time actually arrives, however, we realize how foolish we were to think it could ever get any better.

I did this when preschool was over. In fact, that whole last year, I marked every occasion with one sad declaration after another. “This is the last “All Saints parade,” I sniffed. “No more “Mommy & Me” teas!” I wailed.

By May, all the other moms were giving me the “enough already” eyeroll, and I couldn’t blame them. It’s hard to enjoy the ride when all you can think of is the exit.

And so I’ll try to do that this year as we make our way through fifth grade. I’ll keep my mouth shut about the last Fall Festival, the final Field Day, even the end-of-the-year clap-out. I’ll refrain from taking too many photos, from keeping every little art project, from asking too many questions at the end of each day. I vow to enjoy each event as it happens, and I won’t mourn the end until it actually arrives.

Middle school will start before we know it. But it doesn’t start today.

Jennifer is a mom of two and WRAL-TV assignment editor in Fayetteville. Her food obsession memoir, "Designated Fat Girl," came out in 2010. Read more about Jennifer and her book on her website. She writes about motherhood and family-friendly events in Fayetteville here on Go Ask Mom.



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  • btneast Aug 27, 2014

    Yeah, your kids never get to the point they don't seek you out for something. You will go through a period starting in the mid teenage years where you will become dumb and out of touch, but your intelligence will return when they hit their mid 20's.....

  • Amomoftwo Aug 26, 2014

    I just wanted to correct one statement...."....that one day my kids would grow up and no longer need me"...My children are 20 and 25...I get calls from them all the time asking me for advice...."do I just call AAA for my flat tire" "how long can ground beef stay in the fridge" "how much of my salary should I put in my new 401K" your children will never no longer need you...they will need you for different things....which is a good thing! Enjoy the time when they are little but know the entire journey of parenting is sweet...

  • RGMTRocks Aug 26, 2014

    Jennifer, you are a wise and wonderful mom. Enjoy it and never forget that it does go by oh so fast. It's ok to mourn the passing of 'little' life as those times are so precious. I miss them but now I struggle with having my baby as a Sr. in high school; all the while and enjoying the person she is now and watching in awe as she continues to blossom into a smart, confident beautiful young lady . I may have a breakdown when she goes off to college next fall but I'm trying not to dwell on that for this Sr. year even though it's in my face in the mailbox and everywhere else every day. :)