The transition from elementary to middle school is big. I was excited when my stepdaughter’s teacher sent an email asking parents or other special people in the students’ lives to write a letter to the student. The teacher would share it on the last day of school with each student.
Here’s the prompt: “In 1,000 words or less, what are some things you would like to tell your soon-to-be Middle Schooler?”
At first the subject seemed daunting. There was so much I could share about how your body changes as you continue to grow. Or sharing about how tough middle school can be for kids. The awkward stages you go through when you think something is cool but in reality it’s not.
I gave myself 10 minutes to sit down and write what I was thinking and feeling in that exact moment. It wasn’t anything eloquent but instead just ramblings. It was heartfelt and words I wished someone had told me as I entered middle school. Honesty and vulnerability are challenging when middle school is involved. Honesty between a stepmom and stepdaughter adds a unique layer to the pie.
How much honesty is enough while still being authentic to the situation that is happening. I’m not her mom nor do I tell her that she needs to tell me anything that she isn’t comfortable with. She always can use my phone to communicate with her mom and share what is happening. I’m a sounding board when needed or a shoulder to cry on when life seems to just be crashing around you.
Starting Middle School
Here is an excerpt from the letter I wrote:
“As you look toward middle school, know I am here to support you and guide you on the path. Middle school will be much different from elementary school and that is a positive. It means you are growing and learning to be more independent. You are taking the step forward to chart your own path. You get to make your own choices for what makes you happy and what passions you want to pursue.
I hope you find a friend group that embraces you with all your unique ideas and quirks. Those ideas and quirks are what I love about you most! Never change to fit into the norm. But instead strive to stand out for being you. Because that is much more important in the real world of life. Your compassion, empathy and joy are qualities that will serve you well in middle school.”
Parenting Between Households
I had two parents and a stable home life but that’s not the case for the girls. They have two stable homes with lots of back and forth between houses and activities. Things get left at one house but are needed for the other house. Now we add in middle school stress and additional activities. It will compound situations we have already experienced. I have realized I need to give a supreme amount of grace and understanding as we begin this journey of middle school in August.
Do you have new experiences coming up this summer or fall? I am always looking for other moms to share experiences with. As it’s easier to learn from experience than to walk blindly.