9 Jan
Posted in: parenting
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Junior High Shopping

Our oldest will be in junior high next year. That thought is pervasive. It pops into my head relentlessly. Next year. Junior high. What? How?

Our school district has a school of choice enrollment process. Each January, students enroll in their top three schools. The district then attempts to put everyone in their first choice, which doesn’t always happen. Once you’re in a school, your enrollment rolls over for that school each following year. The lottery only affects students entering kindergarten, junior high, high school or those wanting to change schools.

I was emotional six years ago when we had to choose an elementary school. There was a lot of research done. We’ve never looked back or second-guessed our selection. We were blessed to be given our first choice. Choosing a junior high feels different. While I’m concerned with finding a solid fit for our son, I really just don’t want to do it. I don’t want to send him to junior high. I don’t want to open that door. I don’t want to enter this next stage. I don’t want time to move forward. I’m hung-up on the idea of junior high and not a specific school. I just want him to stay little, even though he hasn’t been little in a few years. My view of B is always one of the reliable, smart, witty young man in front of me with the ghost of the wobbly toddler he used to be.

Thumbs up

Last night was our first junior high open house. My son and I went together. I cried that afternoon while I read (again) information regarding the school. I was dreading the open house. As we drove the five miles to the school, my stomach was full of butterflies. I was full of nervous apprehension sitting next to a boy who was bubbling over with excitement. He could not wait to walk into school and see what junior high was about. I plastered a smile on my face and faked excitement. I’m sure I didn’t fool that sweet boy of mine.

We opened the front doors to the school to find people everywhere — balloons, tables with stacks of papers, cookies, cupcakes and lemonade. I went from feeling dread to being completely, utterly overwhelmed. We were greeted by smiling 8th graders who were acting as tour guides and also present were the usual suspects of principal, vice principal, registrar, counselor, etc. We made our way down the gauntlet of paperwork, picking one sheet from each stack as we went, while I listened to B animatedly point out the lockers, tall ceilings, fitness room, etc. It was the Disneyland of schools for that boy.

We found ourselves a tour guide and headed off. Our son is such a patient little bugger. He waited while I asked just shy of 10,000 questions. Sometimes I asked the same question to several different people. At one point, B asked if I was trying to catch someone in a lie. No, just looking for consistency.

B couldn’t believe he’ll be entrusted with a locker. I know he can handle having a locker, but I can’t believe he’s going to be entrusted with a locker. He’ll have to know a schedule and be able to get from room to room in just a few minutes with everything he needs. There’s a gym locker for clothes and an actual band room. He can take wood shop or learn how to cook. These thoughts make my blood pressure rise, my heart rate increase, and there’s the need to vomit again. Plus there are tears threatening . Those same thoughts make B leap with excitement and start counting down the days until this next marvelous challenge arrives when he becomes a junior high student.

His joy and readiness to take this next step are what will get me through. When I feel on the verge (again) of another emotional breakdown, I think about his sweet face last night, how this is an accomplishment for him, how he longs for the added responsibility and choices. I’m not ready, won’t be in August either, for this journey out of elementary school. He is ready though, and that’s the important part. My son is well prepared to take this leap. Now if only we could choose our three schools and manage to get into our first choice.

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1 Comment

  • Dean Morgan is the best!!!!! I love the teachers and the office people are so amazing!!!!! Best of luck. Hope makes the big move in two years.