The Real New Year

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The obligatory first day of school pic, with attitude. I believe the quote was, “If you’re going to put me through this routine again, I’m at least going to have fun with it.”

As a parent, the first day of school is ‘the new year’ to me.  January 1st seems almost trivial in comparison.  It’s August that holds the promise and excitement of starting over as you help them assemble school supplies, notebooks, sharpened pencils.  I think they feel it, too.  As much as she grumbled about the end of summer, it was an excited, animated kid I dropped off this morning.

First day of school – Eighth Grade.  Eighth!  I’m barely going to have time for that to sink in before we have to start attending high school open houses in order to make decisions for next year.  Her childhood is flying by, and it seems to be gaining speed.

The Divine Miss M has officially been a teenager for barely more than half a year but the changes in her are striking, pronounced. It’s not just the physical changes, though those are drastic as she has surpassed me in height and definitely shoe size.  It’s more intangible than that, though.  I know every child matures in differing stages, but seventh grade felt like a turning point for her.  The precipice on which she stands now between the little girl she’s been and the young lady she’s becoming is much more real than it has been in the past.  As it takes shape, I try to see it more as a starting line, rather than the cliff it sometimes feels like as she edges closer to it.

A few months from now, when I’m slogging through the daily grind and handing off the big projects to Jodi, I’ll chuckle at the sentimental nature of today’s post. When April and May arrive and M is stressed at the 500 things suddenly due and I’m becoming skeptical that summer will ever arrive ….

But for now, it’s the new year for all of us, parents and children alike.  For some, the new year is the first day of pre-school and the very beginning of mornings where they force themselves to let go of a little hand.  For others, it’s the last year of elementary school or the first day of middle school.  Still others, it’s the first time their kiddo didn’t want mom or dad to walk them all the way to the door.  For each of those times, it’s equal parts gut-wrenching and exciting. Goodness knows, I don’t want M to grow up so fast but I do love her independent nature.

I think the one thing to hold onto during every one of these moments when we have to let go a little bit more is how amazing life can be for them when we do.  As Miss M told me this morning about this new year, “The possibilities are limitless.”  When we can leave them with that mind set, we’ve done our job as parents … even if we cry a little as we’re letting go.

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