But then I’d miss you singing your concert’s big surprise.
But then I’d miss you knowing, I can go…you stay there.
But then I’d miss you learning from your own mistakes.
But then I’d miss you swinging from your treetop height.
But then I’d miss you choosing dots on top and stripes below.
But then I’d miss you finding, “Hey! I like ketchup with my grapes!”
But then I’d miss you reading the words you’ve learned by sight.
But then I’d miss you feeling your speed from here to there!
But then I’d miss you finding friends you like who like you, too!
But then I’d miss you creating stories from your heart.
But then I’d miss you feeling the wind behind summer’s boat.
But then I’d miss you sharing adventures from camp away.
But then I’d miss you seeing sky and clouds from your seat.
But then I’d miss you growing into who you’re meant to be!
A while back my daughter’s middle school had a family field trip. It sounding like a fun event, so I signed the whole family up to go. When we arrived, there were 100+ middle school students and about 10 families (and most of these included just one parent and no siblings). Who knew? We were obviously the chaperones, unbeknownst to us! But, the event was still fun and I was glad we all went together.
However, when we got home, here’s what we heard, “I would have had more fun if I had just gone with my friends and you all didn’t come!” Ouch! Dagger to the heart, right? This was the first time I had heard a statement like this directed at me, the first time in my life. It was painful to hear. It was hurtful. It made me pause. It actually took my breath away. But, given the age of my child, it was not at all surprising.
Middle school, the age when we first start to really see and feel that pull between family and friends. No wonder this time is so hard for so many of us, parents and students, alike!
Author Kelly Corrigan writes beautifully about this topic. There’s a section at the beginning of her new book Tell Me More where she writes about this pull between being a parent and growing and changing as a person as your life grows and changes, and your kids growing and changing and maturing as well. She writes about as her girls get older there are times when “I’m reminded of the days when being at home with each other was enough.” Do you remember those days with your own children, those days when just being together was enough? Simply that.
People talk all the time about middle school and how hard this time was for them and how hard this time is for their kids today, but why is this the case?
One way to view the school years is on a continuum with parents on one end and friends on the other:
- Elementary school– friends are important, but it’s still all about family
- Middle school– the start of the push and pull between wanting to spend time with family and wanting to spend time with friends
- High school and beyond– Family will always be an important part of their lives, but as our kids get closer to age 18/adulthood, their friendships become stronger and these friends often start to feel like a second family to them