With middle school upon us, I've been reflecting on this stage of parenting. A book I read once called this stage the Travel Agent season. Indeed, I am constantly re-routing flights, canceling reservations, and toting to and fro. So different from the baby and toddler stage. The elementary school years have been far more social, for me and my children. Part of that is due to me going back to work (although, when I take time to examine my life, I realize that I didn't work at all for only a year. Gracious). Part of that is having extroverted (kind of? well, they are shy extroverts) children. Part of it is going to a school where there are lots of activities at night and during and after school for parents. Part of it is being so active at school and in the community.
I have hated a lot of this phase.
Indeed, the social part has been the hardest. And I am a non-shy extrovert. Like in high school, I fit into a thousand different niches, as opposed to one or two. In high school (as all of my newfound old friends on Facebook will tell you) I was: a band geek, in a perky sorority, had one BF who was the most popular girl in school and a better one who was the artsy actor in the dashiki and bell bottoms, in all honors classes, in a math SAT tutoring class, in school plays, on student council, dating the football team kicker, then dating the Valedictorian, then dating a much younger band geek, sometimes all at once.
Now, I have as many roles and circles as then. My most important role is to make the children find the niches they like as well as ones in which they are competent. And for now, that involves the aforementioned Travel Agent hat. As in every stage, the children themselves make it all worth it. They still adore me, they still are naive and innocent, they still play. I'll miss that as we enter the (as stated by that book) Volcano Dweller season.
But if I've learned anything, it is that you really cannot predict how you yourself will feel about parenthood. I used to be completely ambivalent about infants....I squoze one out and BAM! I became a nursing, kangaroo-caregiving, googly-eyed mommy. I feared the terrible twos....why??? That was possibly the cutest stage EVER, and dammed if I didn't start teaching little critters. I worried about elementary school....well, ok, that was warranted. But I would not have missed any of the plays, musical performances, classroom center sessions, teacher conferences, soccer games, basketball games, t-ball games, family movie nights, weekend getaways, long boring summer days, or Harry Potter reading marathons for anything.
So I'll move into this next season - and I think it is coming around the bend - with an open mind and heart.
Sorry so gushy - full moon/menstrual cycle...or maybe just the stimulus package passing...who knows.