pre-school (finger quote) graduation (unFQ).
I wasn’t sad when The Child went to kindergarten.
We’d been Frick & Frack for plenty of years and were both ready to resume/launch separate lives.
It was time for her to have secrets and an existence outside of me. It was HIGHtime for me to regain some semblance of sweet sweet freedom.
(The freedom didn’t quite transpire as planned, but that’s an entirely different story.)
I wasn’t wracked with emotion as she graduated preschool.
I didn’t cry as she departed for her first day of kinder.
I didn’t savor bittersweet moments as she started each new year of elementary school.
Lest I tear rotator cuff patting myself on the back so vigorously, I know it helped she didn’t cry either.
She viewed each new year (and new school) as an adventure waiting to happen.
As I paused last weekend to reflect on the past six years (!), I marveled how everything has changed yet most of it (all of it?) remains stunningly the same.
She hasn’t changed.
Whether it’s the result of self-fulfilled prophecy or simply nature the person she is at 11 1/2 is virtually the same as she was at five.
She’s empathetic, kind and nurturing.
She’s precisely the same kid who announced in kindergarten: I’m going to be a teacher for special (needs) kids when I grow up.
It’s not so much I’d assumed she’d have shed her sweetness by double digits, I had absolutely no idea what to expect.
She still loves herself…and her body.
I wake each morning and am unbelievably grateful the world outside our door hasn’t conspired to change how she views herself.
She adores the person she is. She’s amazed by what her body can do and by how strong she is. She’s interested in what others are doing/goes along with the group yet still possesses the confidence to create her own path if it’s what makes her happier.
fear am curious if middle school will change this about her? I’d erroneously assumed peers and media would have already begun to break her spirit. I was wrong. I am thankful.
She’s separated from me.
Before she started school we spent a LOT of time together. Even after she went to kinder I was the main big-person in her life.
Around first grade her Dad started traveling a lot lot for work and the two of us spent even more time joined at the hip. Before school, after-school, weekends— all of it. Plop on top of all this the fact she’s adopted (Guatemamas you *know* what I’m referring to) and I became more-than-Mama. I became her safe person. A fact I simultaneously loved and which sparked me to worry she’d never entirely break away from me. She’s broken away and I could not be happier.
She prioritizes friends/others now over me.
Her love for me is born from choice not desperation. She enjoys the time we spend together, but it’s changed. She chooses to be with me and doesn’t fear she’d not be OK alone.
She’s learned self-care.
She’s listened. She’s taken all the small stuffs I’ve tried to teach her since she was tiny and created her own self-care practice of sorts.
She’s figured out how to lick her forearms. She may not refer to it as such, but she’s discovered her drishti in the world and taught herself to maintain focus on it. She’s fallen, she’s bounced back, she’s learned to accept these experiences as part of life and not define them as ‘failures.‘
She’s better prepared at 11 to handle the impending stresses of adulthood than I was at three times her age.
I still like her.
When she went to kindergarten I will readily admit I believed the fun part of parenting was over. Somewhere along the line I’d decided four was young, silly, and filled with dance parties. Five sounded very grown-up and I assumed, once she had her own peer group, we’d no longer have fun together. I envisioned motherhood metamorphosing into all work and no play.
Sure, we butt heads now, but we butted heads when she was little, too. Our spats (AKA fighting like cats) just looked a bit different. I’m aware big, big changes are on the horizon yet at the same time I’d thought they’d have arrived by now.
I’m proud of her.
I’m definitely one of “those parents.”
The sort who believes holding a graduation ceremony for anything other than high school and beyond is mildly idiotic.
We as a society celebrate everything a little too much and, as a result, create generations of kids hooked on recognition.
All of that said I am unbelievably proud of this child.
She’s moved a few of times. She’s attended three different elementary schools. She’s struggled to get promoted in a crazy ass state overly focused on standardized testing.
She was squeezed and what emerged was better than I ever could have hoped.
None of the progression of this thing called
life elementary school has been the linear experience I’d envisioned for her.
And yet, circuitous path and all, it’s over and she’s thrived.
Bea saysMay 31, 2017 at 4:45 am
Oh Carla. I love this so much.
Allie saysMay 31, 2017 at 4:47 am
I should not be crying this early in the morning but you got me good on this one. I just love the relationship you have and I’m getting chills thinking of the one I had with my mom. I love the way you write about your beautiful daughter so effortlessly and say so much while writing so little. My heart is just so full after this. Thank you and I can’t wait to see what she (and you) do next!
Crabby McSlacker saysMay 31, 2017 at 5:46 am
Awww… she really is SUCH an amazing human, no wonder you’re proud!
Coco saysMay 31, 2017 at 6:05 am
so much love here!
Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home saysMay 31, 2017 at 7:09 am
The one thing missing here is what a fantastic job you’ve done parenting this wonderful little girl! After all, that’s not an easy job these days. Land mines everywhere.
Good job, mama!
Susab saysMay 31, 2017 at 8:13 am
Loved reading this.
So proud of her!
Jill saysMay 31, 2017 at 9:27 am
Sandra D Laflamme saysMay 31, 2017 at 11:52 am
This makes my heart swell. Parenting is such a push pull of emotions and you’ve captured much of that here.
Emmie saysMay 31, 2017 at 12:17 pm
Love to you both!!!
Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table saysMay 31, 2017 at 12:17 pm
You have by far the coolest child I “know” (I mean… I feel like I know you guys). You have to be the proudest mamma. I can’t wait to see how she continues to grow, kick ass, and take names. xoxo
Priscilla saysMay 31, 2017 at 12:20 pm
Loved this from Allie above “love the way you write about your beautiful daughter so effortlessly and say so much while writing so little.”
And love you both xoxo
AdjustedReality saysMay 31, 2017 at 12:54 pm
??? is all I have to say!
AdjustedReality saysMay 31, 2017 at 12:55 pm
Oh man that is supposed to be a bunch of hearts. ??? definitely puts it in the wrong context!!! Love this. That is all.
Jody - Fit at 59 saysMay 31, 2017 at 2:06 pm
Amy saysMay 31, 2017 at 3:25 pm
As I prep my little to start Kindergarten this fall, this post was just what I needed. I’m ready for him to be in school, but I worry about where he’ll be in six years. He’s such a sweet, loving, open child now and I don’t want this world to break him. <3
Christine @ Love, Life, Surf saysMay 31, 2017 at 6:43 pm
I beyond love this tribute to your beautiful daughter. It’s also a testament to you and the space that you’ve created to support her as she flourishes. It also gives me hope with my two boys! 🙂 xoxo
Cheryl saysMay 31, 2017 at 7:49 pm
Daughters are wonderful. I liked my kid too at 11 1/2- 12. Not so much later on. Now a lot again at age 30.
P.S. My kid chose to work with the “difficult” kiddos- just like I did for 41 years.
We need teachers. Hope she continues to want to . It’s a hard gig.
messymimi saysMay 31, 2017 at 7:58 pm
Congratulations to her on moving up to Middle School (or whatever the term is where you are)!
And to you, too. You work hard at this parenthood gig and it shows.
ADAM H saysJune 2, 2017 at 3:02 pm
Thanks for sharing great blog it is very interesting i like it.
Marcia saysJune 3, 2017 at 6:24 am
So much love to you and her as you navigate the waters of middle school! My Thing 2 has her last day of 5th grade on Tuesday. The adventure continues!
Joey saysJune 3, 2017 at 6:39 am
Congratulations on this milestone!
My daughter (only child) just finished sixth grade. Her first year in middle school was awesome! I still like her a whole lot so I don’t think all of the tween/teen years are necessarily so bad. I’ll take what I can get!
I hope the two of you have a wonderful summer. Sounds like you have a solid foundation to tackle the challenges that Middle School will bring. Great work, mom!
Michelle @ Running with Attitude saysJune 4, 2017 at 8:57 am
Carla, I loved reading this!
Haralee saysJune 5, 2017 at 9:05 am
What a lovely post. This is one for your daughter to remember her Mother’s love for her forever!
emmaclaire saysJune 5, 2017 at 12:41 pm
What an awesome tribute to a milestone in both your lives, Carla. I predict a healthy transition to the middle school experience for you and your daughter. If she’s anything like The Princess, there will be challenges, but that inner “her-ness” has well-nurtured roots AND wings, and you will recognize her in all the new facets that develop. Enjoy, enjoy!
Chad saysJune 5, 2017 at 8:50 pm
You’ve raised an amazing kid … keep up the good work!