Today is LilZ’s first day of 7th grade. I’ve documented on this site how 7th grade was my worst year ever. In my whole life. And I’ve had some pretty bad years. But in terms of sadness, hopelessness, and depression – I’ve never felt worst than I did my 7th grade year. And now, LilZ embarks on his.
I also know that he is in a much better place and has a much better frame of mind than I did. He’s also much cuter, which goes a long way in 7th grade. As does a good fashion sense, which makes me thank god I wore uniforms because I’m fairly certain if I had to pick out my own clothes, the insults would have been much worse.
This last year has been tough for me as a parent. I’m struggling with the letting go process. Prime Example of my progress happened this week. LilZ’s friend called him one night and said she was having an ice-skating party the next day. Now, this time last year? I was freaking out if a kid called and simply invited LilZ to a party over the phone. Every time it happened I went through the same routine, “Where’s the invitation? Why didn’t the parents call me? Are there parents going to be there?” I was not comfortable realizing we had hit the age where there would be no more calls from parents or invitations in the mail. The kids are doing the planning now. The parents are simply the chauffeurs.
But this week? The only think I panicked about was getting a gift in time. I kicked him out the door at the skating rink and picked him up when he told me to. I never saw one parent and for all I know the kids spent the two hours smoking cigarettes and looking at dirty magazines.
It’s a rough transition. I’m having to just let LilZ make mistakes. His own mistakes. Ones that could have been prevented if I had either (A) taken control or (B) nagged him to death so the mistake wouldn’t happen. And inevitably, the mistake happens and I wish I had done A or B. But, I can’t. I’m hoping these mistakes will teach him lessons, but I’m already noticing sometimes they don’t. But you know what? It didn’t me either. Hell – even as an adult I’m still making some of the same mistakes over and over again. That’s just life. Or at least my life.
But I’m trying. I’m trying to let go and just let him be the 12-year-old he is. He’s amazing, and my nagging and babying won’t let the rest of the world see that. This is probably the toughest time for me as a parent, but I’m also the proudest.
Especially after we watched Hairspray the other day and we came home and immediately bought the soundtrack off iTunes. We both listened and danced and talked about our favorite parts in the movie and how now we really want to see the stage show.
I feel incredibly lucky that he’s grown up to be such a fantastically awesome son. I need to just let him shine. I’m still there to guide and help when I can. Like to politely remind him to take the damn recycling out already. But, you know, the rest of the stuff is up to him.