School Days: Helping My Kids Adjust

On August 23rd, my daughters and I went school shopping. When we returned home from our shopping trip I noticed that I had a missed call from their school. I learned that the school had finally sent me the email that my girls and I had been waiting for…the email that would tell us who their teachers would be this school year. When I read it, I knew that at least one of my daughters would be disappointed since they had already expressed to me which teacher they each were hoping to have.

So, after I read it, I called my girls downstairs, from their rooms, to tell them the good (and not so good) news. Once I told them which teacher they each had gotten, it was time to deal with the “aftermath” – which surprisingly was not that bad. Both of my daughters took the news very well however, their next question was if their bff’s would be in class with them this year. Each of my girls have a bff, already, and they do almost everything with these little girls so this question was already, pretty much, expected.

Later that evening, as I was typing a text to the mother of my 8-year olds’ bff, I noticed that she had beat me to the punch and texted me asking which teacher my daughter had gotten for third grade. (I ended up finding out that her daughter had asked her the same question that mine had asked me.) When I responded back I told her that our daughters are both obviously very anxious to be together for another school year and I informed her of the teacher that my daughter had been placed with for the 2014/15 school year. She texted me back and said “Darn it! I can’t believe they didn’t put our kids together this year.” At first I thought she was kidding around but when I texted back she informed me that she was not and that her daughter did indeed have the other third grade teacher. During our text convo, we promised that we would make sure to arrange play dates and sleepovers and other things for the girls to be able to still see each other. I guess it was our way of helping to nurture a friendship that we both felt was mutually beneficial for our girls.

Now, it was on to daughter number 2. She actually asked me if she could call and speak to her bff so I let her use the phone to call her. When she got off of the phone she had the biggest smile on her face so I knew the news she had received was good. I asked anyway, just to let her tell me and have her moment of excitement. Isn’t it always worth it…to see our children happy about something? 🙂 My daughter exclaimed, “Mom! Mom! My bff and I are in the same class again this year! I cannot wait to start school now! I hope we get to sit next to each other!!!”

It’s so crazy to me because, on the one hand, I was so happy for my 10-year old daughter but, on the other hand, my heart kinda broke a bit as I listened to her because I knew what I had to tell my 8-year old and I knew that she would probably be very hurt after seeing how excited her sister was and she would not get a chance to feel that excitement this time. So, I decided to wait but that decision was quickly thwarted when my 8-year old came up to me and asked if I had heard back from her bff’s mom. I couldn’t lie to her and I couldn’t postpone telling her, as much as I wanted to.

The conversation went something like this:

Me– “Yes, honey, she actually texted me before I got a chance to text her.”

8 year old- “And???” *her eyes bright and full of childlike excitement*

Me- “Well, her mother said that she got the other teacher this year.”

8 year old- “Oh.” *silence*

Me- *walking over to hold my precious girl* “You know, sweetheart…this does not mean that you two can’t be friends and her mother and I are both going to make sure that you both get together as often as possible so that your friendship can continue.”

10 yr old- “Well, the 3rd graders all go to recess together so they will still be able to see each other at school too.”

Me- “Is that true?”

8 year old- “Yeah.”

Me- “Awesome! So see there, you all will still be able to play together on the playground and spend some time together during the school day.”

8 year old- “Yes, actually, we will. I didn’t think about that.”

*…we hug each other tightly and I try to take it all in because I know this is a moment that I will not forever but also one that I will never forget.*

10 year old- “And both of the 3rd grade classrooms are right next door to each other and I think they might even go on field trips together too!”

8 year old- “I didn’t think about that either. Thanks! I needed that, sis.”

*…the girls smile and hug each other too.*

I’m aware that it will not work out this way for everyone and that there will be other situations in the lives of our children that will be a lot harder/tougher to handle – and will require a deeper/different answer/response – but I would bet that all children just want someone who will listen and care about the things that they care about.

Now, I said ALL of that to say this… So many times we, as parents, put off and devalue the things in our children’s lives; that we feel is not that big of a deal and that they should just “get over”. Many times, it may be, the things that hurt or concern them seems trivial to us but if we put ourselves in their shoes – or simply think about the things that probably mattered to us when we were their ages – then it is pretty easy to respond in a loving and caring way to their worries. Sometimes, all our kids want is to know that we care about what they care about.

While we may sometimes have to “fake it”, isn’t it better in the end to have a happy child, that wants you in their life because they know they can talk to you and you will listen, than to have an unhappy child, that wants nothing to do with you or your advice about their situations?

I know that it’s definitely not always going to be this simple (or this easy) to speak into the girls lives, in this way, or to help them to resolve problems that they may encounter in their lives but I want to have happy, well-adjusted children who will be ready for the world and who will include me in their lives, always.

I didn’t have the greatest relationship with my mother so my mission has been to change that with my own children, especially with my daughters. I highly value the mother/daughter relationship (and just the relationship between a mother and her children period, whether they are male or female) and believe that it is one of the most important relationships to nurture in this world. When we get old and gray, it is not going to matter what career we had, how many degrees we earned or even how much money we made – all that will matter will be whose lives we touched and who touched our lives – and my children’s lives are some of the lives that I have a hand in helping to mold and am able to touch everyday. How I raise them will determine who they will become and how they will treat others. So, in essence, you and I are going to touch hundreds, thousands, even millions of people through the lives of our children and grandchildren. Something to think about, right?

I know that some people feel like you cannot be your child’s parent and their friend – that you HAVE to choose one or the other – but I tend to believe differently. I want to be their friend and be able to laugh and joke around with them but I also know that I am their parent and I must set the rules for them to follow. I know that I am capable of drawing the line when I have to, so I am not too worried about the naysayers.

We all have to do the things that will work for us because no family (or situation) is exactly the same. Sometimes that means making the hard decisions while other times it’s as simple as a hug or being a listening ear. In the end, and in all things, I just want to ensure that my children know that they can come to me for anything and that I will always love them, no matter what!

Until next time…stay blessed!

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