It happened. On Monday of this past week I was walking our daughters into the back gate of the school when our oldest starting darting ahead of us. We took some purposeful long strides and caught up with her. We passed the gate and then the wall ball wall. But just as we were about to approach the music room that long-legged, soon-to-be-promoted 6th grader placed her hand in the air, and signaled a firm, “Halt, Mom.”
Yup. It happened. The absolutely developmentally appropriate, and perfectly timed “hand halt”.
As it stands, junior high is only a few months away. And everyone in their right mind knows moms, nor any parental-like figure, walks their junior high kid into school. This would only further exacerbate the already elaborate eye rolls this age group has mastered.
I get it. Divine timing sent the hand halt. It’s just like at eight months along, when that baby in your belly is just the right size and you are feeling that you could comfortably stay pregnant forever. And then, when you are a week post-date, and your roundness value has hit an all new superior state, and people in public look at you like you shouldn’t be in public, and you jog the wet sand in the rain just to motivate that little one to exit?! Divine timing indeed.
Sometimes, our kids give us signs that they are ready to move on. Other times, we post multiple signs and hope and pray they can decode them. A lot of parenting is simply analyzing which of the above cards should be played.
So our oldest is graduating to a new school with bigger boundaries, larger classes and more independent choices to make.
I guess her parents are matriculating too. We inherently grow thicker skin. This rhino-like change happens right alongside the hand halt. Thank God. Divine timing.
We also stretch to see how our child is beginning to impact others around her in bolder ways. We have always seen a multitude of gifts in our children, but this new stage means we get to watch from the side-lines a little more often and see as new gifts appear, treasured talents take flight and novel, larger connections are made.
The business of raising kids is so complex. We work daily to evoke within our kids their fire so they can find their place in the world. And each time they get closer to finding this; it is truly our place as parents to back up. It’s just all part of the divinity of a parental cycle.
So this week, we say goodbye to shoe-box dioramas, poster-making, invites to class parties, read-alouds on Dr. Seuss day, chaperoning field trips, art shows in the cafeteria, leprechaun traps, hugs at drop off and so, so much more with our first-born. We, in turn, welcome (this word seems a little forced, I won’t lie)–we STRIVE to welcome all that comes with this new stage of life for her.
My heart hurts. Not because she is entering a new era of her life, but because I see this young woman, the one who made us parents in the first place, taking a new place in this world and I am in awe at how fortunate we are to stand by her. And that makes my entire heart grow and ache all at the same time.
It goes without saying that we are eternally proud of our daughter. This week, however, we are so in love with the confidence and strength she embodies to propel her into what awaits.
We will stand back, behind the bus, out of sight, with huge glowing hearts throwing signs of, “We love you sweet girl!!!” And if we see her place those five, flat fingers back in the air, well, we will know she is more than ready for where that bus is headed.
It is divine timing. Go get ’em beautiful girl.