Life is change, especially if you have children. If you have children I’m sure you can relate. It begins when you bring them home as a baby. Every time you start to handle the weight of the carrier ... they grow. You finally learn to rest or get something accomplished during their nap ... their nap time shortens. You start to enjoy your time at home with them ... they start school. This is where I’m at, well, it’s where we have been for a while.
My fantastic, incredible, amazing son is the ripe old age of 11. For those of you with little ones, age 11 translates into 5th grade and the beginning a social ladder. This is not something I was ready for, and I am realizing that I had not prepared my son for either.
Not only had I not prepared my son for this, I changed his school in the middle of the year. Somewhere in my mind, I decided this would be better. He would be the new kid and EVERYONE would want to be his friend. I still think of him as the boy who I would sing lullabies to every night. Lullabies paint such beautiful pictures of the world. One of our favorites was from VeggieTales, called Junior’s Bedtime Songs. Read the lyrics of “Close to You," originally sung by The Carpenters. (Sample lyric: Why do stars fall down from the sky/Everytime you walk by/Just like me, they long to be/Close to You). This is how I will always think of him. It has not necessarily been his reality.
We do love our new home and his school. There are certainly many, many positives. It has simply been another change, not only the school, but learning to maneuver through the ever-changing world around us. Trying to fit in is difficult for all of us, grown-ups included. Trying to make friends and find common ground, creating and maintaining friendships. Attempting to do all of this while keeping up with our busy lives makes it even more challenging.
Much to my surprise, I was able to provide him with some advice that I was rather proud of. He’s been trying to fit in. During these tween years, that is the equivalent to trying to fitting a square peg into what is sometimes a round hole and sometimes a triangle and sometimes a diamond. They are a fickle age, mainly because they are still learning about themselves. This is what we want them to be doing.
My advice? I told him to try to focus on what he liked and like-minded friends will be there. I encouraged him to invite others when he could, but even if they didn’t he should always enjoy what he was doing; eventually he will find he is surrounded by people who he will have fun spending time with, and they will enjoy his company too.
Now, I am going to try to take some of my own advice. I am going to go along with him when I can and do things that 11-year-old boys enjoy that mommies don’t, because it won’t be long before mommy will be replaced best friends and dare I say it ... girlfriends.
People say it all the time because it is true -- childhood goes soooo fast. It really does seem like just yesterday that he was starting kindergarten, and in just a few short months he will be in sixth grade. Flashcards are now fractions, reading is now research ... Change is the only thing that is consistent. It’s probably best I learn to enjoy it.
Aimee Kuelling has transplanted herself and her son into DuPage County from Rockford, Ill. They are working and playing hard, learning all about the greatest parts of this area, via farmers markets, movies and theatre, forest preserves and all that is Boy Scouts. They occasionally share their experiences at www.tannertested.blogspot.com