On the Edge of a Cliff

Halcyon Days.

That’s what I call the early elementary education years.

Halcyon Days.

Grades K-3.

I could predict my child’s needs so much better. Things were rocketing along. Easy almost. The physical part was much reduced. There were no more diapers, no more giving my children baths, no more dressing them, feeding them or running after them. I wasn’t so exhausted that I needed a nap in the afternoon.

I had more time. Time while they were in school the entire day. Time to cook, pick up part-time work, go to the gym, start a hobby.

For the child, it was a time of increased responsibility. Homework. Learning. Respecting the teacher’s authority. Seeing them develop friendships.

Now, we’re on the edge of a cliff.

The cliff of adolescence.

It’s coming. Maybe it’s supposed to start in fifth grade, but for my family, it is starting now in fourth grade. The talking back, the sassing. Suddenly, I’m not cool. I’m stupid, an embarassment and sometimes even hated.

I see it in the physical realm as well. Hair under the armpits. Pimples on the once so-soft skin. Even hair is getting oily.

It’s coming.

Am I ready?

I don’t know. My job has changed from being physical (the one who clothes, feeds and bathes the baby) to providing emotional support (the one who soothes when the best friend hurts her feelings).

I’m still the taxi driver, but there is no longer any appreciation. I sometimes feel like I have to walk on eggshells. Some days are fine, but others I feel like a grenade goes off every time I open my mouth. What works one day, doesn’t work the next day.

After a day of being told I’m old and passe, the same child wants me to tuck her in at night and talk to her about school. When she reveals the junk that goes on in class regarding her peers, I turn into Mama Bear. No wonder my child acts this way. She’s under so much stress. I then try to rescue her. Not cool. She has to figure it out on her own. It’s a letting go. It’s an emotional letting go.

Someone once said that the goal of parenting is to work yourself out of a job by the time they go to college. I measured it the other day. I have about 3,000 days. That’s it.

Change is a coming.