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Ready Or Not, Here She Comes

20130504_101514-1I’m not sure how it happened, but Shannon is now moving up to middle school. I could not be more surprised if unicorns came flying out my butt. Ok, that might hurt a bit, but you get the idea. Seriously, this caught me off guard.

You see, Aidan is graduating next month. NEXT MONTH! Can you believe that? Craziness. It feels like just yesterday I was rocking that kid in the nursery while listening to Raffi on the cassette player. Never-mind that my kids have no idea what a cassette is. As it is, the idea that I would rock any of them to a song called Banana Phone has them doubling over in fits of giggles.

I personally thought Banana Phone was a jaunty little tune. And do you remember Baby Beluga? Another melodic masterpiece.

But I digress. Aidan is graduating from high school and Shannon is moving on to middle school. And you all wonder why my head is about to spin off my spinal column.

Really, this is all very good stuff. I’m so proud of my kids. They are growing, maturing, becoming more independent and these are all very positive things.

But at the same time I’m anxious over it all. More for Shannon than for Aidan. He will go on to college and be fine. But my daughter is about to enter some treacherous years and I really want to insulate her from some of the social crap she’s about to walk into.

I remember those years and let me tell you, they aren’t fond memories.

But that’s the thing about parenting, we can’t protect them from everything even though we want to.

So, I will have to pull back on my helicopter mom rotor blades and let her fly her own aircraft.

And this is a huge step for me. Stepping back is something I struggle with. But I recognize that it’s in her best interest that I do so.

Yesterday we had a walkthrough and meet-n-greet with the teachers at her new school. Watching Shannon walk the halls and classrooms was so surreal. It was like watching a video on fast forward.

But this isn’t a movie. It’s the real deal. My daughter is growing up whether I’m ready for it or not.

I’d much rather push out unicorns.


  1. Melanie, you know this is a subject close to me… so beautifully said. I was listening to Maya Angelou just last night and she was talking about how important it is for parents to not just let go, but LIBERATE… isn’t that nourishing to parents of middleschoolers?

    “… you see love liberates. it doesn’t bind, love says i love you. i love you if you’re in china, i love you if you’re across town, i love you if you’re in harlem, i love you. i would like to be near you, i would like to have your arms around me i would like to have your voice in my ear but thats not possible now, i love you so go. love liberates it doesn’t hold. thats ego. love liberates.”- Maya Angelou

    • Melanie says:

      Oh I like that Julie. Liberate. I just might write that down and stick that on my fridge. Yes, it’s very appropriate. Thank you for sharing that!

  2. I hear you. Jake is in 6th grade, and the transition to middle school was pretty easy. But Fiona’s in third and I worry about her much more. She’s almost in the Mean Girl years and I can empathize much more with what she’ll be going through. Sigh.

    • Melanie says:

      Oh do those mean girl years stink. I would love a get out of jail free to skip over all of that nonsense!

  3. Ugh. I do not envy this step of parenting. I also have many memories of these years and they were probably the very worst of my entire life. In retrospect I can clearly point to all the things I learned, how it all made me stronger and better, but at the time none of that mattered. I hope she does well. Good luck to both of you!

    • Melanie says:

      Yes, I learned a lot too in those years. Not much of it was good, lol. But I did learn a lot.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Good morning Melanie! Here we are again over that first cup of coffee. Sigh, I remember my first day of kindergarten being the worst. Fortunately all of the other transitions after that there was a large group of neighbors all making the jump together. The schools try to make it easier with these orientations, I don’t remember that as a child but my kids definitely liked the pre-visit to remove the mystique. It helped. I pray Shannon’s middle school transition goes smoothly and happily; and for Mom too!!

    • Melanie says:

      This is a three cup of coffee type of post. Maybe even a shot of tequila too. I’ve done my best to teach her what’s right and what’s wrong. And I will continue to do so. My prayer for her is that she makes good and thoughtful decisions and practices kindness. Let’s hope the other kids feel the same way.

  5. Oh I am weepy because of that beautiful quote that Julie posted. My daughter started middle school this year and went from big fish to microscopic, awkward, friendless little fish.

    it has been such a hard adjustment and if I could go back and give her some help I would tell her to be more assertive in the making friends department. As soon as she saw what was happening she backed off trying to make new friends and keeping the old ones. So now she is a bit of a loner and that breaks all out hearts.

    We spent most of the weekend in tears before my hubby had enough and sat her down and they made a game plan on how she was not going to sit back and let life pass her by and how we as parents will support but not interfere. (Please know that I didn’t sign anything so while I agreed to step back I didn’t make promises I know I can’t keep)

    I don’t offer much advice because I am still learning but have her get involved with any and all clubs she can. Go to dances and social things that the school offers. Even if she is a wallflower she is still being a part of it. Good luck to both of you.

    • Melanie says:

      Oh Traci, I see my daughter in your story already. I too am looking for extra-curricular activities to help give her a boost. She’s joining the band. Hopefully she will enjoy that. And those dances? Yeah, I’m TOTALLY not ready for that yet, lol.

      You and your hubby sound very proactive. She has good parents. 🙂

  6. Dottie says:

    Graduating from high school is extremely tough but letting a recruiter come into your home and take your 18 year old baby off to the Marine Corps was so hard. I cried for 3 days and its’ been just about a year and I still freak out when I hear his voice. You have the righ as their mother to slow down the growing up. I am here in the back ground feeling your pain.

    • Melanie says:

      Dottie, I can’t even imagine. But how wonderful that he is a Marine!! You must be so very proud. Please thank him for his service for me. It is so appreciated!

  7. Ha ha. Raffi. I’d forgotten all about him. This is going to make you jealous, I took my son to see him live if you can believe that :). Those were the days.

    • Melanie says:

      Oh you lucky girl. How cool that you saw him in concert. He has such a yummy voice. I even fell asleep while listening to him, lol.

  8. Linda T says:

    My youngest son just finished his Sophmore year in college studying abroad in Italy.I felt the same way- wondering how will he do not knowing anyone. I cried sending off on the plane for 4 months. But he survived and matured. It was the best thing he has ever done.

    • Melanie says:

      I bet! Italy is amazing. But I can totally understand your apprehension over sending your son over seas. Even though the experience would be exciting for him, it would still be frightening as a parent!

  9. Jen from Quincy says:

    My daughter will be starting middle school next year, too. Its definitely a bittersweet time.

  10. Cassie Sue says:

    My daughter was in middle school this year, and it was tough at first, but it ended up being a good thing for her. She’s branched out a bit and is learning that there is more to this world than her tiny microcosm of friend, and I’m happy about that. Next year she is going to a new school that goes all the way through high school, and I’m hoping she continues to branch out, though I’m secretly afraid that she will get picked on (she is diabetic and has been teased in the past) and it will ruin all the growth she’s had this year.

    Good luck! And maybe this time next year you will be saying how happy you were that she made this step, and you didn’t have to push out unicorns.

    • Melanie says:

      Then I will be sending good thoughts and prayers out for your daughter’s smooth transition. I wish her the very best of luck!

  11. carrie says:

    best wishes to all of you with the new changes. Love that cute dress in the picture, she looks so young and sweet!

  12. I hear you!! Girls have it tough. As long as she’s got a good social network and a listening ear in mom (check, and check!) she’ll be good. Ugh… here it goes though! No stopping ’em!

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