Middle School

 

 

 

He can’t look me in the eye just yet.

 

I’m five foot seven, after all, and he’s still only 11.

 

But his feet are decidedly bigger than mine. His legs are as long as his dad’s. And I’ve caught him examining his abs at various angles in a hand mirror.

 

He’s growing up, this man-child of mine, and he’s headed to middle school this year.

 

 

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For the most part, I have no worries about this. Confident, clever, and self-assured, A. is the kind of kid who acclimates easily. He is unafraid to ask questions and has an excellent memory. I needn’t worry about him getting lost or overwhelmed.

 

Despite his awkward social start in life, he’s found his way there, too, and is well-liked by his peers. The boys respect his brain and speed and the girls mostly gush about “how tall!!!” he is. So I don’t really worry about that, either.

 

He’ll do fine. I know this. He knows this, too.

 

But, still.

 

He pushes his watermelon around his plate, picking up some of the cinnamon sugar that scattered from his toast. I cringe inwardly at the thought of how sweet that must be, but keep my expression mild.

 

“I don’t know if I’m excited about it or not, Mom. The whole going to middle school thing.”

 

I look up, inviting more, without saying anything.

 

“On the one hand, I can’t wait to join the cross country team and get home from school earlier. That’s cool. But, you know… we only get a really short recess in 6th grade. And… I don’t know… I just want to be a kid. The whole being a kid thing… I don’t want that to stop.”

 

I walk over to stand next to him. Kiss his cheek because I can’t stretch to kiss the top of his head anymore. Yank him against my side.

 

“You’re still a kid, buddy. I know that. You know that. And the middle school knows that, too. You’re gonna do awesome.”

 

He moseys off to find his sisters, his lanky, loping form crossing the room in a staggeringly small number of steps.

 

And I swallow hard.

 

He IS going to do awesome.

 

Let’s see how his mama does.

 

 

 

 

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