Tuesday, August 28, 2012

High School Beginnings

He may as well have been three years old, standing and waiting for a bus in the rain, my heart would not have been any less wrenched right out of me today. The beginning of the week was fine; there was so much to think about and do; schedules to examine, lunch to consider, in short, there was no time to think. Now that there was a solid five minutes of staring out the window (behind the curtain, invisible, of course), at my 14-year-old Aragorn waiting for the yellow bus that would take him off to high school for the next 8 hours, I was a wreck.

"It's about time. Seriously, get a grip."
That was the modern "voice of reason," trying to combat my motherly instinct NOT to let go. EVER. Each of them had a point. He is, after all, fourteen, practically a man. Then again, he is just barely into the thinking or rhetorical phase of life. Which means he usually remembers to wear matching socks and has figured out how to argue his way out of just about any situation.

I have had fourteen years with this incredible child at home, learning and living side by side. I think that is what almost clinched the weeping spell. What have we to show for it? Was any of this good for him at all? Was I ever the parent/teacher he needed at the right time? What have I done????

Wrong questions at the wrong time, what counts is the person he has become and the experiences he is living right now. He is having a ball and figuring out many new things for himself. This self-confidence to forge ahead with your own ideas, while thoughtfully considering the world around you and keeping compassion and kindness at the center of everything you do, this is what I see and all I could desire for my children. That and honesty, honor, integrity, tolerance, curiosity and love.

On the other hand, there are a number of things about high school that resemble jail scenes from my favorite detective or police novels...a little Kafkaesque really. The first day of school, my little boy, uh, strapping, teenage son, was surprised to see armed guards blocking the way out of the cafeteria until the bell rang,  and handle the daily riots in the food line or at the tables. Guns? In school? What is this saying to the students about how the adults view them?

I believe in expectations for guiding behavior. If we as a society show that what we expect is criminal behavior in school, what sort of structure are we setting up for them?

On the other hand, Aragorn loves his honors English class, which brings great joy to a mother's heart. Especially one who is as enamored of 19th century British novels as the professor seems to be. He says there are great kids in the class. I am glad he may find peers with whom he may have good discussions over the years. Then again, who knows what other trouble they may get into together?

He is having fun in computer aps, maybe too much fun. His first independent assignment for a poster was a creation for a tattoo parlor, with his typical, irreverent humor, he thinks he may be in trouble. 

Sigh. I am letting go, somewhat, but I hope he knows I will be here should he call.

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