By: Deirdre Littlefield
I’ve read so much and even written about how difficult middle school is for our children. Their world seems to have turned upside down as friends find new groups and they explore their own personal boundaries. Academics become less important as peer pressure revs up. It’s a confusing time but they will get through it.
I’m realizing now though how our relationships as mothers change as well. I’ve been through this with my older son but seem to have forgotten that part, probably on purpose. It’s a new territory that I need to accept, I suppose.
It seems we have so much history, although our kids are only twelve. Somehow we have packed a lifetime full of memories into the few years they’ve been in school together. We’ve had endless playground days, agreed on how much the tooth fairy would bring and cried together as our last babies got on the bus. We’ve spent our summers on the beautiful white sand in town and every school vacation together since they were five. We have found comfort in knowing who to call, when to call, and that there was always fun on tap for our kids and ourselves as well. Friday night pizzas and fancy Saturday afternoon coffees were our favorite while we shared our simple worries effortlessly and solved the world’s problems right here at the kitchen table.
We don’t get to spend as much time together as a group anymore. Our kids are going in different directions because they have different interests. It’s an incredible time as we watch them spread their wings but our periodic phone conversations feel different. There’s hesitance where there was once freedom, and we just know the simplicity is gone. Our tweens are their own people now making their own decisions, regardless of how well we have tried to teach them. We feel unsure if it’s safe to share their difficulties in case of judgement, but we need to trust each other. Raising teenagers is like walking a minefield, you really don’t know what’s coming and who it will hit but rest assured we will all be affected.
I need my closest group of mama friends beside me, to laugh me through the tears and keep me off the ledge. I need to know that you’ll listen and still love my kids like you always have. I need you there to remind me that my children are good when I forget, and in return I will root for you and your family like I always have. I will not compete with you because I believe all of our kids are winners. That’s why I hunted you down way back in Kindergarten.