This is part of the Slice of Life Challenge hosted by the Two Writing Teachers
My daughter Ellie is about twelve weeks from officially being a high school student. I say 'officially' because she already takes a class at the high school as an 8th grader, so she is kind of there already. One would think this gradual easing into the life of high school might have helped me out a little. It hasn't.
About nine years ago when trying to make the decision about whether to send her to kindergarten or keep her in preschool another year I made a pros/cons list that filled up an entire sheet of notebook paper. The pros won out, but I was wrought with anxiety about my baby going to kindergarten.
Fast forward a few years later and Ellie was in 4th grade, just a few doors down from me. I had serious issues with my baby being the same age as the kids I taught. For years, my class held heroes for her. "They are sooo cool Daddy" or "I can't wait until I am in 4th grade Daddy." That year went vanished quickly because the next thing I knew we were helping her memorize a locker combination for middle school. In hindsight I should have been a more involved parent when she was in 5th grade, but I think I was in denial.
Her three years in middle school have rushed by like Ussain Bolt on crystal meth. I think she did fine. Ellie never got in serious trouble. She gets good grades. Unless you count a few awkward moments with friends (when I say awkward, I mean middle school girls shunning other middle school girls just for the heck of it) she had had a good run. For the most part I think she will look back and remember middle school as being pretty cool.
A few weeks ago Ellie, my wife and I had the big scheduling pow-wow. In our district 8th graders really need to study the options they have for 9th grade classess. If you don't get on the right "track" quickly, you will be screwed. This was so much different than when I scheduled classes. I don't even know if I scheduled any classes until I was a junior. I am pretty sure I showed up and was handed a piece of paper that said stuff like English 9, Geometry, Biology, Study Hall ...
Ellie had to figure out what elective art class she needed to take in the first semester of 9th grade that would let put her on the path to take what I believe was an Advanced Placement Art Portfolio class when she was a senior. Since, at this particular moment in time, Ellie dreams of going to art school it WAS VERY IMPORTANT TO GET INTO THAT CLASS. Whew. Who knew how difficult scheduling was going to be. Thank goodness Ellie doesn't want to double major in Applied Physics and Non-Western Religion in college. We might not have gotten any sleep that night.
The quickly slipping time of my daughter's youth combined with the strange intensity of high school is making me wonder if I am even close to being emotionally ready for my baby to be a freshman. About the only thing that is keeping me close to reality is that she doesn't have a boyfriend yet. When that happens then ... whoa ... seriously not ready.