Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Surviving the Tweener Years

Jack celebrating his 12th birthday this summer.
Hmmm.  Maybe instead of "The Year of Allison" I should call this period of my life "Surviving the Tweener Years."  I'm heading into uncharted territory with Jack.  At 12, he is growing up.  He's lost his last baby tooth and is no longer ordering off the children's menus. He's old enough that he doesn't want a babysitter, but too young to make good decisions on a consistent basis.  (Just last week he asked for matches so he and his buddies could build a fire in the front yard.  They were genuinely shocked to find out that, in my opinion, this was not a brilliant plan.)  Although he shows signs of maturity, he's still far from adulthood. 

Today was the first day of middle school orientation.  Jack prepared for his first impression of 7th grade with, it seems to me, an entire can of Axe Deodorant Body Spray.  While Jack seems ready, I'm the one who is nervous.  What do I do when he comes out for breakfast surrounded by a cloud of cologne?  Gasp for air?  Tell him to only use half the can next time?

What about the band aid covering the scab on the bridge of his nose?  Will other 7th graders think that is cool or dorky?  And is it really better to have a messy locker like the other boys or should I shell out the $25 for the middle school fundraiser and purchase a locker organizer?

If Jack isn't apprehensive about any of this, I certainly don't want to impose my awkward middle school memories on him.  I just want to be prepared.  New school, new schedules, new changes to a growing body--there's bound to be some angst on my horizon.  One minute he's my sweet child who still wants to snuggle and read next to me.  The next minute he's pushing the limits of independence by refusing to practice his guitar.  

I know there's no parent handbook for surviving the teenage years.  I pray I can be patient more often than not.  I hope I can maintain a sense of perspective.  I want to keep my sense of humor.  And when all else fails, I know there's wine in the pantry!

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