I cannot believe this precious child who hid behind a chair on the first day of Kindergarten is now headed to Jr. High.
So here are a few lessons I learned from parenting my first born through elementary school (with a little pictorial trip down memory lane):
#1. Sending your child to private school to protect him from the real world is an expensive way to learn that it can't be done. Our role as parents is to prepare them for the real world instead of sheltering them from it.
#2. Room moms are amazing. I deeply appreciate all they do. I originally thought they existed to help the teacher but have learned that they are really there to keep the parents in line and make sure we are where we need to be and with what we need to bring. I often think that the room mom deserves just as big of an end of the year gift as the teacher does.
#3. Teachers and school friends have an almost magical capacity to lift the spirits of a child who just underwent surgery. Their cards and visits can do twice as much good as any pep talk from mom or dad. It is also in those moments that you realize your child has established their own community apart from you, and that is okay.
#4 When your child takes an interest in something, embrace it. Go the extra mile to make it your own. You never know, it might bring you snow on Christmas.
#5 Take all of the pictures you can of your child as an animal in the 2nd grade musical because by the time 4th grade musical comes around, they might have decided they don't want to be on stage and hide behind the curtain instead. In that moment it will occur to you that you have likely seen your child dressed up in a costume for the last time.
#6 With your first born you feel at a disadvantage because you don't know any of the teachers coming up. God has a way of working it out though and giving your child just who he needs to take him to the next level. The right teacher will then motivate him to do things you didn't know were possible.
#7 All of those things you wanted to be when you were in school are completely different from what you want for your kid. For example, my desire for him to be a nice person is much greater than my desire for him to popular.
#8 You have to capture in your head and cherish the moments that seem to fly by like first play dates, first field trip, first crush on a teacher, first time they rode their bike to school...
Oh and don't miss them for something that seems more important at the moment. Whatever it is will wait. Those moments will not.
#9 The best conversations happen at the most unexpected times. Be ready for them and be ready to drop what your doing when they come up because you might not get another chance to hear what they want to tell you in that moment.
#10 Don't wait to become friends with the other parents in the school. They are a great resource and being known is not as scary as you might have thought. Okay so I know this doesn't apply to everyone but if it applies to you (like it did me) then you will understand.
#11 The PTA is a great organization if you can avoid the mama drama. If you cannot, it is best to pay your money and serve in other ways.
#12 Being able to walk your children to school with your neighbors is a gift and makes this big city feel like a small town for just a moment.
#13 Push your child to sign up for and get involved in those things that are outside of their comfort zone. I did not do this enough, and I regret it.
#14 Beware of the arrival of hormones. Somewhere around 5th grade it all changes. They change. Their friends change. Their emotions will hit crazy extremes. When you think it has all fallen apart, they will show you a glimpse of the kid you know just long enough to get you to the next unexpected outburst.
#15 Don't Blink.