To My Son as He Starts Middle School

To My Son,

You may only be ten years old, but in a few short weeks you will begin middle school. You are so excited and for that I am grateful. I feel like maybe I should be more scared, but instead I am just overcome with pride at what an amazing boy you have become.

I realize that you will not leave middle school as the same person you were when you entered. There will be new challenges to face, and since you are the oldest, this means you will have to continue to endure my parenting growing pains. Just know that I am always on your side.

Time with your friends is becoming increasingly important to you. This used to mean walking to school hand-in-Handshand, but that has been traded in for discussions held behind closed doors and e-mails filled with as many emojis as punctuation marks. You will continue to seek their approval and look to them for guidance. Family will always continue to be of utmost importance, but I know I will have to slowly adjust my place to make room for the people you add to your circle. There will be times you invite me into the center and times you will need me to be on the edge. Just know I will always be there.

While it brings me some sorrow, the fact is you will hear and see things about the world I wish you would never need to know. Your world is not sugar- coated, but you still have the rosy outlook of someone who has not had to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. You will learn about matters in school and hear things from your friends that will make you tilt your views of humanity. I will continue to talk with you and answer any questions you may have, but there are tragedies I myself struggle to process. You are still tender so I will hold those moments for you and hope if need be we can process them together. Just remember the world is still full of beauty and love.

I remember a walk you and I took the summer before you started first grade. I asked if you were excited and you told me you were nervous and afraid you would not know what to do. I simply listened and squeezed your hand. When we came to the end of our walk there was a stack of rocks. You looked up at me and asked, “Mom, if I climb up will you help me back down?” Always my son, always.

Jessica is a DONA International trained postpartum doula and owner of Fourth Trimester Madison, She has been married for over 10 years to someone who makes her laugh every day and reminds her not to take herself too seriously. Together they have three children- Logan (2006), Liam (2008) and Kate (2011). She grew up in northern Wisconsin but has called the Madison area home since college. She can be found reading cookbooks but not cooking, saying yes to more volunteer work than she has time for (and loving it), on a Netflix binge, or with her nose in a book.


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