We all say it and it may sound silly but really where has time gone? Tomorrow morning my son will enter 7th grade and it seems like just yesteday he was my sweet first born coming home from the hospital in spitting snow.
Seventh grade just sounds crazy and yet I know his heart and his head are in the right place to get rolling. He will be a big middle schooler and as I look back I can clearly recall that 7th grade was the best of new freedoms, friendships and challenges all in one fresh package. Seventh grade brought life long friends who I remained close with through high school and many through college. Seventh grade brought lockers with combinations, the changing of all classes and teachers every hour, much more self conciousness and of course loads more work. It was and still is a big step.
I tentatively entered the science lab and scaned the room for anyone I knew.No such luck. The bell was ringing and it was time to take our seats so I quietly whispered, “Is this seat taken? ” to a girl with pom poms on her socks. I took careful mental note of her socks because like it or not what he or she was wearing was all starting to matter. Noboady in 7th grade wants to look out of place. I sat down next to Sue and our laughter began almost from minute one. We were fast friends and to this day I cherish her. She I am became BFF’s and went on to conquer high school and eventually college together as close buddies.
Seventh grade choir was undeniably the best and it was the place where we all became friends rather quickly as Obe Vandertol made our hour count. We sat in rows in a large poster plastered room and when he entered the room you could not help but wonder about Obe’s wide bell bottoms and long scruffy hair. Within minutes he sat down at his blue upright and began to rock out the old tumes. Rhiannian seems to ring a bell… He knew them all and made you want to chim in as his enthusiasm oozed across the room. Bob Strobel and I had 7th grade choir together . It’s where we met and I immediately became fond of his contagious smile. Everyone liked Bobby Strobel and I soon realized so did I. He was such a cool kid. always nice. polite, crisply dressed and smiley.
Now he would tell you that it was love at first sight and he loves to tease me to this very day that I loved him clear back in 7th grade. Not the case, sorry honey, but what I do love most is the friendship that was started in the old halls of Iroquois middle. As we moved into high school, we became very close friends but still never dated until after attending different colleges. It was a match made not only in heaven but also in 7th grade. We’ve now been married 17 years.
So of course it feels like a very big year for my boy as I remember so vividly just how influential 7th grade was in my life. I know that tomorrow will bring many butterflies and as much as I wish I could take that all away I know that this year will bring old friends and new friends , some of whom he is likely to remain connected to for many years to come. I am so eager for his first day and like all of you sending what used to be your precious baby ( or babies…) off to school, I will pack him up and wave him off without much pomp and circumstance so as not to turn his cheeks a deep crimson. I will close the door and I will pray for his day. May he find comfort in who he is and whose he is as a child of God. May he surrender to the negative energy that some students bring and be the light to others as he makes new friends and returns to the old. May he find excitment in the new subjects and the hard work in the year ahead and most of all may he cherish the memories of this beautiful summer we were all blessed to share together. What a summer it was filled with new experinces, new family members, new challenges and many fun days. I am proud of you Hayden in ways I find hard to express. You never cease to amaze me with your willing heart and sweet soul. May your kindness and desire to learn be contagious in the hallways and classrooms of your new school. I am so proud to be your Mom and I will be praying for your 7th grade year.