Monday, September 1, 2008

Transitions

Did you ever notice that no one ever says "I can't believe how fast the winter went!" If winter lasts forever, how can summer go so fast? Is it possible time actually moves quicker in the summer than it does in the winter?

Tomorrow my kids head back to school. I am always sad to see them go. After a summer full of happy laughter, ringing phones, slamming doors, and running feet, (in addition, of course, to the sounds of bickering when I leave them in a room together, and moans of "do I have to?" when I ask them to do a chore), the house becomes too quiet when September rolls around. I will enjoy the peace and quiet, eventually, but it's always a transition for me to be home alone with all the silence.

This year my back-to-school melancholy has an anxious edge because my son is starting middle school. I had a miserable time in middle school. It's such an awkward age, full of physical, social, and emotional transitions. I hate to see all that start for my boy. Now more than ever I need to make sure our home is a safe, loving haven for my children, a place where they know they will find comfort and reassurance.

I have been filling out my son's paperwork for school, including order forms for the yearbook and the school sweatshirt. I have only ever seen the middle school kids walking around in hooded sweatshirts, so I was really surprised to see a crew neck option on the order form. I wondered if that was something new this year. My son's preference is to stick with the crowd and get the hooded version, so that's what I checked off on the form. Good thing, because today our 8th grade neighbor phoned us and said "I thought you should know that you don't want to get the crew neck sweatshirt, because only dorks wear the crew necks." How funny is that, and how sad, too? I was glad she thought to warn us, but it doesn't help my anxiety at all to know that you really are judged for superficial things in middle school. And just how did it come about that the hooded sweatshirts are cool and everything else is not?

I have spent all day today laboring in the kitchen, getting ready for hurried breakfasts and sack lunches. I made some old favorites (banana chocolate chip mini muffins are our traditional back-to-school lunchbox treat), and I tried some new recipes, too. If the new things turned out well, I'll share in a later post.