Thoughts on the Passing of Another Year

end of schoolMy son just finished elementary school today.  After six years at the same school, fifth grade has ended and he is moving on.  So now I have a middle school-er.  Today was bittersweet as he said goodbye to his beloved teachers through the years.  I realized that as he was doling out hugs, he was saying goodbye to not just the teachers but this safe haven of an elementary school where we knew the families, the kids, the teachers and staff in the school.  He is leaving a place of knowns – loving teachers, longtime friends, progression of learning – to travel into a world of unknowns – teachers and kids that he doesn’t know, uncertainty about classes, higher expectations, adolescent angst, and complex friendships.

And while I don’t want him to have to face these new difficulties and tribulations – he really is only 11 – I do want him to grow and mature, confident that while he reaches for the future, he is grounded in his faith and family.  I hope that he knows that even as his parents become less and less cool and his friends become more important that he will always find unconditional love, compassion and a listening ear at home.  On days when life is tough because he doesn’t understand what the teacher wants, he isn’t in the same classes with his best friends, or other kids are mean to him, I both dread and look forward to comforting him and commiserating with him.

My prayer for all of my children is to grow up to be young adults of faith – let’s just not get there too quickly.  In the meantime, I ask the Holy Spirit to guide all of us parents to hold on tight to our little ones even as we loosen our grip to let them go.

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