Parenting, Thing 1


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.

16 thoughts on “7th.”

  1. H-Mac starts middle school (6th grade)… In a new school in a new city and state next week, starting all over finding new friends again, for the 3rd time..

    I am feeling the same mommy anxiety… I am a complete mess.. At least know that I am riding the same emotional roller coaster with you sister… I think we are taking it worse than they are by the way, girls are much more freaked out than boys are…

    (Wasn’t preschool much easier?? I say we go back to Flotown and put them back in… ) Love you guys…

  2. I think you’re an awesome mom. The proof is your awesome son, and the fact that he enjoys your company so much.

    Any tips on letting go you could give my mom, however, would be greatly appreciated.

  3. Aw…you are doing a good job. He seems like a very happy kid. guy. boy. young man?

    Go see Hairspray if it is touring near you or in your city. It is so awesome. I saw it in it’s final preview in Seattle, WA with the original Broadway cast. It was just so much fun…and they were all so SWEET! the movie was almost as good. 😉

  4. My son started sixth grade this morning, and for the first time I didn’t walk into school with him on the first day. I am a nervous wreck today hoping that he adjusting well to middle school. Sixth grade wasn’t bad for me, but it was still part of elementary school. Seventh grade was the first year of junior high and it was awful. Since sixth grade is the first year of middle school here I don’t know what to expect. I’m hoping he takes to it well. This “independence” thing is going to be a huge adjustment for me, I can tell. I remember you writing about that with LilZ last year and I’m freaking out about the idea that my son has hit that point already.

    We went to the orientation Monday night and a girl came up and was flirting with my son. Flirting! With my little boy!! I am not ready for this!

    And this morning I kept making the poor kid repeat his locker number and combination, and homeroom teacher, and room number, and I even offered to walk him in to help him find everything. He’s taking all this WAY better than I am!

  5. Ack, this is the stage I’m dreading, too, even though it is pretty far away at this point. We’re just starting the playdates with friends without me tagging along. So strange! This letting go gig is tough stuff.

    You’re doing a great job, Zoot.

  6. man, why does he start school so early?

    7th grade was my worst year, too. I can’t even begin to explain how shitty it was. but with you and me and our experiences at the helm, I think our kids will be better prepared to handle the crap that comes along.

    good luck LilZ!

  7. Your kids are adoreable and you sound like a great parent. You are right middle school is awful, but I think he will be fine.

  8. Seventh grade was also my worst year ever, so I totally feel you on your concern for LilZ. But during the time I’ve read your blog, LilZ has definitely impressed me. And you are right, he’s a cute kid and that DOES go a long way at 12 years old.

    But yea, if I had a 12-year-old kid, I’d be worried sick.

  9. Have you seen the original movie yet? It has a totally different feeling. And Divine as Tracy Turnblad mother was far less creepy than John Travolta in drag with his terrible faux Baltimore accent.

  10. I can’t even think about sending River off to 7th grade. It makes me sad just thinking about.

    I’m sure LilZ will do just fine.

  11. I really like your perspective on this and I think you are taking a wise parenting-route. My little one is only 16 months, but i am always thinking about how I will be when she hits junior high. I know I like to control everything and that can be dangerous with a teen.

  12. Delurking because your post really spoke to me. I’m the mother of a 12 year old girl and 13 year old boy.
    I think 7th grade was the worst year for me, too. I had an awful feathery short hair cut. I was tall, skinny and had absolutely no boobs. To top it off my 2 best friends just decided, literally out of the blue, that hey no longer liked me. I remember being so lonely that year and feeling like I would always be alone.
    Oh, and I think partially because of that, I really, really freak out if my kids seem to be having a hard time. And it’s really hard for me to let them make mistakes.

  13. Wow…7th grade. I can’t even imagine what this stage of parenting is like. Sounds like it’s tough….but you’re doing a great job!

    Good luck to all of you as you start this new year!

  14. i can’t believe his school is starting already! that makes me very sad, thinking that the summer is almost over.
    also, i think you’re doing a great job. you can tell for two reasons: 1) maybe you won’t always be happy with your decisions, but the fact that you think about them this way means you are a good mom anyway, and 2) a lot of twelve year olds have already stopped giving adorable smiles like that to their mothers.

    i don’t have any kids, but i am old enough now to feel like complete crap over what i did to my mother when i was that age…i know that there will be rough days, but i think you’re totally out of the danger zone of having to deal with a kid as bad as i was.

    (yes, i will knock on some wood now that i’ve said that…but i totally don’t think you need it)

  15. Yeah, it was fun. I had a hard time finding all the classes and stuff like that. I met a lot of new people, like I had zero classes with them last year and now I have 5. 5th period was tough ’cause the only people that were my friends were girls and the teacher divided up the tables so I had to sit in the last boys seat, the one closest to the girls table. Oh, and in PE we didn’t do anything but sit there, and this tall, skinny girl was like walking around looking for a place to sit and chilax, and I felt so bad for her. I wanted to walk up and like talk to her but, like lunch, we were separated by gender. It’s been a weird year ’cause I have like 3 boy teachers, one of them needs to be told the say-it-don’t-spray-it rule.
    In homeroom today we had desks that had writing all over them, and one of them had I thought was a bird on it but it was really a male private part. I was so scared I was gonna get that desk. Oh, and the next one was the “I go by Cavity” in math today. Weird stuff.
    Anyway, other that those two funnies today, school was boring, as it was made for. I wish I had read all these encouraging comment before I left. Thank you all for being so nice. I’ll update on the 7th grade chronicles later, but I have to get magazines for Home Ec. OH WAIT! Did I mention that we made chocolate pie today in Home Ec!? We are eating it ALL tomarrow!!!)
    Thanks again!

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