There are times in a parent’s life when you think you will never escape the small things. We have all seen the meme “The days are long but the years are short.” (Which I have a love/hate relationship with, but that’s another post for another day.) For this moment in time, we’ll agree that it’s true. It’s a long game in the parenting world, which I think is one of the hardest parts of it. You don’t know how good or bad you did for some time. Along the way, transitions happen. From always in your arms, to running away from you. From going to the movies with you, to having to be dropped off three miles away.
We had a big transition here this year. TealKid has moved to middle school. A new big building that’s further away from home. New kids who don’t know him, or what he’s managing. Those who don’t know what his MedicAlert® bracelet is for. Teachers who have a lot more kids to manage, with less time to spend with each of them.
We have already been seeing the shift in responsibility over the last few years. It’s been a process for sure. In third grade, if he forgot his spelling list, I would text a Mom friend who I knew was in the same spelling group as him and have her text it over. I gave him a warning that I wouldn’t do that in fourth grade, and I let him fall. Yes, I know it wasn’t a huge fall, but it was a fall. He came up with a new system from then on which worked for him to help him remember to bring it home.
In fifth grade, there were more steps to help transition into more independence. Baby steps here and there. Ones that were manageable
for both of us as well as age-appropriate. This isn’t going to look the same for each kid. Some need more time or more of a nudge and sometimes it’s we, the parents, who need the nudge.
The growth I have seen so far this year has me completely blown away. I see my “baby boy” growing into this young man. He’s having discussions with those he needs to. He’s asking questions of teachers and staff to be sure they know what needs to happen to keep him safe and included. While this is something all kids need to do, adding allergies means a few more conversations than a typical kid.
Failure is tough for both us and for kids. Failure is also the greatest springboard to growth. Every time we fail, we have to rethink, reimagine, and reengineer the solution. Not only are these key life lessons they are learning, but the problem-solving that they do, and the work they do to overcome these issues, is what gives these kids the grit they need to push them forward and propel them to great things.