Browsing Category "parenting"
5 Oct
2015
Posted in: parenting
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Taking a Chance with School Involvement

Siblings showing their school backpacks

We’ve had children at the same elementary school for eight years. I’m comfortable with the staff. I have a good understanding of how things work, how I can be involved as a parent, and the best avenue to take when issues arise.

We’re in year two of middle school. I was more nervous for that first day of middle school last year than our son. I was clueless on what to expect from parking to volunteering to knowing teachers. I wanted to be involved, but didn’t know how to make that happen. Our school holds monthly parent lunches in the library. The administration and staff showcase students and their work along with giving more in-depth looks at classes in the three grade levels. These lunches helped me to feel like I was part of the process, and I appreciate them.

Fast forward to back-to-school night at middle school this year. The principal invited parents who were interested to help with reading conferences with students. I checked with our son for permission, because he’s a teen and that place is HIS place, and said I was interested in helping.

Here’s the thing: I love the act of learning. I never missed class in college. I read a lot and on a wide range of subjects. I like to learn new things. I also love children. I like seeing in their eyes when something clicks and begins to make sense. I like the process of watching them grow and add to their knowledge little by little.

Middle school students are not children. The idea of having a teenager living in my house calling me mom scared me as we moved closer to that magical 13th birthday. I said yes to volunteering in a middle school classroom filled with tweens and teens. That choice was a huge leap out of my comfort zone.

Three weeks ago when I went in for my first time to volunteer, I had to give myself a pep talk. I stood in the office waiting to sign in and thought I was going to vomit. I can’t remember when the last time I was that ridiculously nervous. The thought that saved me: my son would potentially die of embarrassment if his mother vomited in the office. There is no way that would stay secret in the gossip mill of middle school. I had to keep my hot-mess self under control for his sake.

Guess what? It was FINE…completely fine. It was super enjoyable. I had fun in a room where I was most definitely out-numbered by tweens/teens. They weren’t even a little bit scary. They were respectful, and for the most part, eager to talk with an adult about what they were reading. The last two weeks I’ve scheduled middle school volunteering on my calendar because I don’t want to miss being involved.

I haven’t been in my son’s class, that dying-of-embarrassment notion has kept me away, but I think he may eventually invite me to come to his class. It takes a little over an hour of my time once a week to help during two class periods, and I can do more if I would like. The bonus for me, aside from doing away with my silly trepidation toward teens, is seeing a brief glimpse into my son’s day.

I had no clue what modern middle school classes were like. I envisioned my experience decades ago. That’s not what I’ve found. The teachers I’ve been exposed to in middle school have a great respect for what these teens can accomplish. I wanted to hug the teacher after my first day in her class and tell her how good she is at what she does. More dying of embarrassment: your mom hugging teachers will also make it’s way back to you and you shouldn’t have to deal with her emotional nonsense unleashed outside the safety of your house.

If you’re interested in being involved, take that first step to inquire at school. You may find you’re grateful to be outside your box.

 


 
When the Injured Player is Mine
By     |    Oct 1, 2015
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When the Injured Player is Mine

I scan the football field at the end of every play checking to make sure my kid is on his feet. Nothing prepared me for the moment I realized my child was still laying on the field injured. My heart sunk. Our 13-year-old wasn’t laying for long before cautiously sitting up. A coach was out there quickly, and B walked off the field unassisted. But pain was plastered on his face. Every inch of my momness wanted to walk onto... [Read More]

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Relieved about Mothering a Teenager
By     |    Sep 20, 2015
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Relieved about Mothering a Teenager

I woke up this morning the mother of a teenager, and I feel relieved. Yes, time goes too fast. Yes, I cannot believe our oldest is 13 years old. BUT, despite all the times I’ve felt like I failed our son, he’s thrived for 13 years, and I can see the all those lessons we’ve taught him taking hold. Today I’m patting myself on the back and high-fiving Craig. We’ve been parents for 13 years with no instruction manual or... [Read More]

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Our Girl Turns 6
By     |    Sep 15, 2015
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Our Girl Turns 6

When we found out I was pregnant with our fourth child, I knew it was a boy. I thought I was destined to be a mother of men and liked the idea of a house full of boys.  At my 20-week ultrasound appointment, my doctor told us our baby had a hamburger, not a hot dog. We were adding a girl to the family. I left in disbelief. Not because I didn’t want a daughter, I thought we only made... [Read More]

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Avoiding a School-Induced Panic Attack
By     |    Sep 2, 2015
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Avoiding a School-Induced Panic Attack

Today marked the start of my 8th year with kids in the public school system. More importantly, it was the first time I left school at drop-off with no children. I’d like to say it was no big deal, but it was infinitely worse than I imagined. None of this has to do with the children. The children were fine, excited even. Today was selfishly about me. The kids, even our freshly-minted kindergartner, are pros at this school thing. They... [Read More]

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Not Celebrating the Start of School
By     |    Aug 27, 2015
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Not Celebrating the Start of School

I don’t share the same sentiments as some of my mama friends as the new school year begins. I won’t be celebrating my children heading back to school. I’ll be wondering where the last three months have gone and cursing the quick passage of time. Our youngest heads to kindergarten this year. Next week marks the first time in nearly 13 years that I’ve been without an extra shadow. There are no more little hands to hold as I run... [Read More]

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Home from Summer Camp
By     |    Jul 18, 2015
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Home from Summer Camp

I answered the phone this afternoon and was greeted with, “Hi Mom. I missed you.” It was the first time in six days we had any communication from our oldest who was at Boy Scout summer camp, and he had missed me. He missed all of us, but let’s focus on the part where he missed ME. I had to keep myself from crying tears of joy and relief. I’m such an emotional sap. He was full of stories from... [Read More]

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Summer Camp Blues (Again)
By     |    Jul 15, 2015
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Summer Camp Blues (Again)

I remember that last month of my first pregnancy 13 years ago. I checked and double-checked the lists of tasks to complete and items to buy. I told everyone who asked that I was ready to welcome that baby boy. I was a fool. I’ve thought about how unprepared I was for motherhood many times over the years. It’s apparent after this week, that my biggest hurdle to overcome is my inability to let go. Letting go is one of... [Read More]

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Preschool Time is Over
By     |    May 21, 2015
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Preschool Time is Over

I believe Father Time is mocking me. I can hear a voice taunting me to keep up to the pace that’s been set. My breath hitches quite often theses days when these children of mine hit a milestone or some new physical change becomes abundantly obvious, even if I live in denial of anything changing. I mistakenly believed I was sad about the quick passing of time. While I do think sadness lurks in there somewhere, I’m more in awe... [Read More]

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Mother’s Day: I Had No Idea
By     |    May 10, 2015
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Mother’s Day: I Had No Idea

I knew I was potentially in over my head almost 13 years ago when I was preparing to bring my first baby home and the hospital staff only cared if I had a car seat. I remember sitting in the backseat staring at this little boy and thinking I had no idea what I was supposed to do when we arrived home. We spent a great deal of the coming weeks just holding and staring at that little guy. I... [Read More]

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Confidence Built Through Music
By     |    May 6, 2015
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Confidence Built Through Music

Sometimes my feelings seem too much to handle. Life hits me hard, the good along with the bad. Yesterday was intense, in a fantastic way. I was weepy on-and-off and spent parts of the day with a big grin on my face. I watched our middle son stand in front of several groups and play a solo on his flute. His band, from a local performing arts center, was touring schools talking about instruments and music opportunities for the summer... [Read More]

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There’s a What Today?
By     |    May 3, 2015
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There’s a What Today?

I know better than to be cocky about this parenting thing. Yesterday I rocked motherhood. Today I managed to avoid a motherhood disaster. Our oldest had a track meet 90 minutes from home yesterday. Friday night he and I engaged in a passive/aggressive argument about whether or not the family should make the trek to the meet for the morning and come back to town for other obligations that afternoon.  I knew he wanted us to come. I also knew... [Read More]

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