Friday, August 17 , 2018, 6:50 pm | Fair 74º


She Said, Z Said: Is The Junior High School Journey the Beginning of the End?

Parents confront the reality that they're becoming less and less a part of their child's life. Or maybe not, Puddins

Z: The boy started junior high school this week.

She: I was so overwhelmed with conflicting emotions that my face broke out.

Z: Thankfully, his didn’t.

She: Of course I’m excited about his adventure, but I dread all of the new social pressures that will be coming his way, not to mention all of the kids whose parents I don’t know.

Z: Mostly felons, I assume.

She: There are also the fears about petty adolescent behaviors — both his and the other kids’. Then there’s the melancholy that he’s growing older and the pride that he’s doing it with grace. And of course, my secret and not-so-secret wish that he’ll be the most exceptional kid who ever went to junior high school.

Z: I’m guessing he might have had a few of those thoughts, too.

She: Whatever.

Z: It’s not all about us, anymore. Junior high school feels like a pretty big step toward independence.

She: In a very real way. After all of those years of coddling, he’s now waking up by himself, making his own breakfast and lunch and, drumroll please ... We finally live close enough that he’s walking to school by himself.

Z: Except on the first day, when we got to walk him to school.

She: He had no choice. The two of us have been taking him to his first day of school since kindergarten, and we’re going to keep doing it until his first day as a professor.

Z: I’m still disappointed that he didn’t let me wear my bathrobe and a jester’s hat.

She: As much as you live to embarrass him, I think that probably saved us a few bucks on the therapy couch.

Z: And I was this close to screaming out, “I love you, Puddins! I luvs you!” as we walked away.

She: Again, saved enough money on therapy that now we can buy another car.

Z: But I’m guessing it would have pushed that independence thing into overdrive.

She: I think he’s going at about the right pace. I already miss the daily updates when I drove him home from school.

Z: It is an odd thing that we’re slowly becoming less and less a part of his daily life.

She: When he was little, we saw and experienced almost everything he did. Then in elementary school, we saw many things, and heard about the rest. Now I’m not sure that we’re even going to hear about very much.

Z: It’s not nearly as bad as what our friend, Dorrie, told me about at lunch today.

She: Does she have a kid who’s already in high school?

Z: Her daughter graduated from high school, and spent this summer in the desert of India working on a sustainable, organic farm. Her job was rat catcher, which she enjoyed other than the time she was stung by a scorpion.

She: That sounds exactly like junior high school P.E. class to me.

Z: Uh ...

She: I’m just saying. Baby steps. I don’t need to think about him being any more independent than he already is.

Z: But it’s all good. It’s what kids are supposed to do.

She: I guess. On the plus side, I can’t even tell you what a relief it was when he came home from his first day, and said, “I love junior high. It’s really fun.”

Z: See? He’s still communicating with you. And he’s gaining some independence in the process.

She: Independence is overrated. He’s a nice boy right now, so I think we should buy a bubble and keep him in it forever.

Z: I feel that way sometimes. On other days, I plan for the time when we walk him to his first day in India. I’m definitely wearing my robe and screaming, “I love you, Puddins! I luvs you!”

She: Yes, dear.

— Tell She and Z what you think at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Click here for previous She Said, Z Said columns. Follow Leslie Dinaberg on Twitter.

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