In light of recent developments in the lives of Team WestEnders (which I reeeallly should have seen coming, if it weren't for that whole "denial" thing going on...or whatever...) I feel it would be in everyone's best interests if I just go ahead and warn you right now: there’s a whole lotta freaking out on the horizon for this mother. You see, my baby…um “little guy?”…er…5-foot-9 , 13-year old…will soon be a High School Freshman. And yes, of course I knew about this, and it’s not actually a surprise, blah blah blah…but it’s still somehow astonishing—and disconcerting--to me that this kid got so darn grown up.
But wait—as if that weren’t bad enough, at the same time Riley begins his first year of High School, Derek will be kicking off his last. That’s right: we'll also be dealing with a Senior next year. Man, don’t even get me started on how THAT’S sure to shake me up for about 10 months. I predict that once Riley settles in and the term gets rolling, that portion of the mini-emotional-crisis will abate. But the “finishing up High School and graduating” thing? Yeeeaaah, that one’s gonna be a rollercoaster ride for the duration.
So anyway, I coined the term “pre-freak-out mode” to describe my current mental state when chatting with a friend about all this last week. ( You know what I'm talking about: when you're on the brink of spazzing out, but still relatively holding it together? Feel free to go ahead and use it, when applicable. I don’t mind at all…) And the first triggering event happened last night: Rising 9th Grade Night, hosted by Riley’s Middle School, for..."concerned parents" such as yours truly.
So there I was, patting myself on the back for being on top of things, doing my job, getting some expert advice on how to help my son navigate the next 4 years of his life, when I told Riley about the meeting. His reaction was…startling: “MOM!” he huffed in a completely exasperated tone, with a fierce frown to match. “You don’t need to go to this thing. I’m the SECOND kid! You already know all this stuff!”
Hahahahahahaha! Whew, that’s priceless, honey. If only. The thing is, we missed all this the first time around, since we were still in Maryland. I mean, I’m sure they covered these topics in their previous schools—we just tuned them out, knowing we wouldn’t be around for it to matter to us. Then when we arrived in North Carolina, with no prior information, and had to figure out the process for getting the boys started in their new district. Granted, Middle School is pretty straightforward, as your classes are basically dictated to you, leaving you with little decision-making to do. But High School? Hmm, we definitely muddled our way through registering Derek for his schedule.
Yes, it all ended up fine, and we did learn a lot along the way…but what if something’s changed since the first time around? We could screw it up completely, and wreck the whole thing! You see why I feel compelled to go, right? (Okay, breathing…I’m better now. But…I think we all are aware that it doesn’t matter if I have a pair of children…or a dozen…I’m still attending these Parent Education Opportunities. Every. Single. One. To avoid panic attacks like this we've just witnessed…)
Of course, the Guidance Department is busy counseling the students themselves on what to expect and how to select courses. Riley came home with a sheet that showed a “Sample 5-Year Plan” (Yikes! I swear, I don’t even have one of those…I feel like such a slacker now…) for how one could progress through High School while successfully meeting all the requirements for a diploma. Then there was the “Registration Worksheet”, on which one could write down their tentative choices for next year’s courseload.
One major load off my mind: I needn’t worry about Riley taking this seriously. (Right, as if that were EVER a problem…) Not only has he already filled out some of his preliminary paperwork, he’s also stated that he wants to have a Family Chat before he completes his official form. He and I have already talked it over a bit; in addition, he wants to seek his older brother’s opinions, and ask him questions about his experiences in High School.
Ay yi yi. There you have it: a relatively brief explanation as to why in the coming months I might seem at times a little…crazed? Sad? Overwhelmed? Nostalgic? Right: the answer is E! All of the above! And while I’m at it, let me offer an early apology for all that (waves hands broadly to indicate...the world in general). Meanwhile, let's all keep our fingers crossed that everyone weathers the thrill ride, and comes out grinning on the other side. (Hey, at these times that inevitably come up on the road of life, when things can get tough, and challenges are thrown your way...I hear chocolate helps! My personal mantra...)