Thursday, May 09, 2013

Middle School Woes

So, I’ve been obsessing thinking a lot lately about my eldest son’s all-too-near-future foray into middle school. I’m worried about him. For those of you who have not had the pleasure of meeting Lucas, let me take a moment to describe my dear son.

Lucas is, well…he’s very much a product of his environment. Take one high-strung, work-her-ass-off, the-sky-is-always-falling lesbian, add a terminally laid-back, slacker, isn’t-that-falling-sky-a-gorgeous-shade-of-blue lesbian, throw in a couple of dysfunctional extended family members with addictive personalities, add a chubby blonde baby to the mix, and you get…Lucas!

Lucas is awesome. Really, he is an amazing kid and I adore him. But he is an enigma, of sorts. He is a math whiz, but struggles with reading and writing. He can remember the (every language BUT English) words to his entire choir repertoire, but can’t seem to remember to flush the toilet. Or change his underwear. Or bring home his homework. He gets nervous. Often. But not over the things you and I might get nervous about.

He is a sociable kid. He can stand up in front of a crowd of hundreds and sing beautifully without so much as hint of nervousness. But he freaks out if the bathroom sink drips. He struggles with anxiety. He doesn’t handle the unknown very well. He has to know what he should be doing at all times. He has to know how things will turn out. He has to know how every story ends. He has attention issues at times. He’s never been diagnosed with attention problems, but he tends to escape to his own thoughts a lot. He’s a thinker. He’s what used to be called a daydreamer. He’s not worldly like other boys his age. He’s a true innocent. Obnoxious, but innocent.

Come September, he will be thrown into a completely different world and I am worried. He has a good group of friends, so I am not so much worried about him being lonely. Or bullied. Or called names. That may happen, of course, but he has a core group of four good boys that he hangs out with. He’s not a loner.

No, I don’t harbor the “normal” parent middle school worries. My worries are irrational. Ridiculous, even.

• I worry that he will be unable to remember his locker combination and will start crying in the hallway—a turn of events that would mortify him.

• I worry that he won’t remember how to get from one classroom to the next without a kindergarten-style walk-with-your-finger-on-the-wall line of classmates.

• I am afraid that the clothes I pick out for him (because he does not care in the least about clothes and will put on whatever I hand him) will be a little too lesbian chic for 5th grade.

• I am afraid he will start speaking in lingo I don’t know and that I won’t be able to find an appropriate translator.

• I am afraid he will begin cursing and, being a less than stellar parent, I will laugh rather than react appropriately, thereby reinforcing a sailor’s mouth in my innocent little boy. And we all know that “shit” and “damn” are gateway words. Before long, my baby boy will be casually spouting the BIG ONES, and it’ll all be my fault because I reacted poorly in middle school.

• I am afraid he will not fit into any of the typical middle school cliques. He’s not truly a “geek/nerd” because he is a pretty dang social kid. He’s not really a “brainiac” because, while he is amazing at math, he can’t write a coherent sentence to save his life. He is in no way whatsoever a “jock.” He has neither the interest nor the ability to be athletic. He’s not really “preppy,” as he does not own a single piece of clothing manufactured by Hollister or Abercrombie (we are Target and Old Navy people up in here). He’s never been your typical rough-and-tumble boy. He’s just a regular kid. A good kid. I am hoping there is a group for that.

• His friends will find out that 1.) He cannot tie his shoes (seriously…he wears slip-on shoes all the time and has refused to learn to tie his shoes—though his six-year-old sister can tie hers), 2.) He still cannot ride a bike (and has no desire to learn, in part due to his anxiety), and 3.) He still sleeps with the stuffed “doggie” he’s had since birth.

• I worry that his homework is going to be beyond me. Fourth grade math is already pretty damn advanced for my tastes.

• I worry that he will stop climbing in bed with his mommas on the weekends. I love that time with him.

• I worry that girls will like him. He’s a handsome boy with gorgeous blue eyes and big dimples. He’s smart. Sociable. Kind. Gentle. He’s everything an eleven-year-old girl wants in a steady “boyfriend,” right? I am SO not ready for unworthy little hair-flipping, giggling, make-up-wearing wenches hanging on my son. See…there you go. I am not going to be good at this.

• I’m afraid he’ll get lost in the shuffle. An average kid amongst average kids. How will anyone know what an extraordinary child he is?

In the end, isn’t that what we all worry about as parents? Will the world be able to recognize the amazing potential that exists behind those radiant blue eyes? Will the world understand what a beautifully crafted, brilliantly original child we created? Will the world treat him as such?

I hope and pray.


Madgew said...

I was Lucas and I was afraid of all your mentioned. I was afraid I would be late to all my classes. I went to a camp before the switch to middle school where you had to switch classes so I could get used to it. I took medicine everyday when I started middle school until I said I didn't need it anymore and found that my mom had just been putting water in the old bottle. After I got my footing, I was good to go. I found my group of friends and the anxiety started to wane. It still rises up but I have tools now to lower my anxiety which I learned early on from my Mom. We played a game, What was the worse that could happen and when I could work that out in my mind I could conquer anything. The worse has never happened. The best thing Lucas has is you and Ruanita and your anxiety Shannon will help him learn about his own and coping mechanisms. Love you and your parenting.

Anonymous said...

Are you sure they will be switching classes in 5th grade? Sometimes even though they are on the middle school campus, they don't necessarily switch classes until 6th or 7th grade. Does your school offer an orientation day? Ours does. Its student lead for the incoming 6th graders (our middle school starts in 6th, not 5th), and then again for the incoming freshman. Connor was a student "guide" for the middle school and will do it again in the fall for the incoming freshman. They have a "fun day" before school starts and they get their schedules so that their guides can show them around. Even if your school doesn't offer such a program, I'm sure Lucas will do great. I've lived through it twice now, and it's truly harder on us as parents than it is for them. Stay strong.


Kelly Goree said...

Oh Shan! I want to give you a huge hug and tell you it'll all be fine. My VERY jock-ish, pain in the butt but great kid, who is social but a follower, can read well but hates it so tests poorly son (lol) still sleeps with his Winnie-the-Pooh stuffie he's had since birth and he's 13.5. What I'm saying is, they are ALL normal and all will be fine and do well. And you will be amazed at the kid the comes OUT of middle school as mine just did today :) (even though he's still a pain in the butt)

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