Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Tween Years are Here...

Keith went into 6th grade exactly three days ago. None of our lives will ever be the same.

He has morphed from laid-back, carefree fifth grader into ultra-cool, plugged-in sixth grader in front of my eyes. He's even become more tolerant (publicly) of his sisters. He's just too "cool" to let them get under his skin now.

His vocabulary became much more adult-like, and he continuously makes comments regarding his observations about his onset of "puberty." I see minuscule (at best) changes; he believes he has grown three feet, razor stubble and body hair overnight.

School is new. He changes classes. He thinks that is the most grown-up thing ever... Well, except for his LOCKER! Apparently the locker is the ultimate proof of growing up. It even requires a combination lock, which took several trips to the store to make the exact right decision.

The very latest news to turn my world upside down is that there is a Middle School dance this Friday night. Yes, it is boy/girl. Yes, it is chaperoned. No, I am so not ready for this. Especially when I get the accompanying snippets of conversation when he's on the phone with friends:

"Who are you taking to the dance?... Really?... No, I don't think I want to take her..."

Take who? Where? Surely the parents aren't participating in 6th grade "dating" by driving the girlfriend/boyfriend to and from the dance. Right????

I was a little amused that Keith asked my permission to go- like it was ever a question of whether he could go or not. Of course he can go! The first boy/girl dance is a right of passage. There is nothing in the world like standing in a dimly lit gym with music pumping through a bad speaker system and having all the boys on one side of the room and all the girls on the other.

Then the tension becomes almost unbearable when the DJ has the gall to put on a slow song. The boys shuffle their feet nervously. The girls look at the boys from under their eye lashes. By the end of the night at least one or two girls are in the bathroom crying, and at least one or two boys are wrestling on the front lawn.

Keith asked me if they got to wear whatever they wanted to or if they had to wear "church clothes." It hadn't even occurred to me that he didn't have any experience with boy/girl dances. As soon as he had said the words, "middle school dance," I was thrown back into reverie, and the boy/girl dances I both loved and hated. Of course, we NEVER wore church clothes! We tried to look as "stylish" as you can look in middle school. But since Keith wears a uniform to school, I suppose it was a very reasonable question.

I so want to be a fly on the wall and see Keith's face when that inevitable slow song comes on. I can imagine it now: a mix of fear, shock, panic all trying to mask the underlying excitement of the possibility of being chosen by that special girl... Those are the moments that are the best "mommy moments" ever!

I don't know that you can ever be "ready" as a parent for your child growing up. But I am very grateful for these measurable milestones. It's so easy to have them grow up before your eyes. One blink, and they really have grown overnight. But these rights of passage are not just for the kids, they are for us, too. They give us pause to stop and consider their changes, to remember from where they came, and to dream about where they are going.

1 comment:

ThePrincessMommy said...

Oh, I wanna go. I wanna go!!! I want to see some photos!!!