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Cake and Cards
Mommy Musings
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I must have missed the memo. This week’s column might best serve the five-ish moms like me who feel the same.

What am I rambling about you wonder? In a nutshell….graduation. Eighth grade graduation to be more specific and as I start to listen to others and view social media I’m recognizing a trend. Eighth grade is a big deal?

Before progressing further and without over-simplifying, I feel it important to note the mindset our family approached the Junior High experience with, as my oldest stepped onto campus in 2016. These years don’t count-scholastically speaking.

For those who have forgotten, the teen years can and usually are, a bit brutal. As my son entered into this chapter of life two short years ago, I shared my junior high philosophy with him.

Hard work in our family is expected always, this however would be the opportunity for him to explore and learn what study habits work and don’t. Learning to navigate classroom changes, balance school load with life off campus and friendships those in and of themselves are big lessons.

“Colleges aren’t going to care what grade you earned in seventh grade English,” I shared. This, of course, was followed up by the fact that subpar grades were still not acceptable, but this was indeed his time to figure a few things out, academically speaking.

I also refused to babysit his grades via the Aeries portal. Oh, how I can hear the helicopter moms gasp as they read that.

This is probably where I should share, I’m an old-school mom. If being completely honest, I have mixed emotions on the Aeries portal and the dependency parents have on it to manage their student’s education. Reality-there won’t be on Aeries when they get to college or the trade school of their choosing. At some point your child will have to manage their academia on their own. Tough to think of, yet true fact.

To summarize he and I learned a lot through his junior high experience. I had to become one with Aeries a bit more than I would have liked. It is after all my job to guide and I believe we found a balance, which will work for him in the coming years.

My hope of course is that the lessons help shape him into a better high school student (these grades count). The transcript years now lie ahead of him. His future will be as bright or as dismal as the effort he puts forth, just as mine was and continues to be. That’s real life stuff.

As the year comes to a close however I’m puzzled by the need for graduation announcements and big parties. It’s eighth grade, they’re far from finished folks. I mean, they can’t even drive.

Perhaps for some it’s just another reason to show their pride in their child- I get that. Maybe for others it’s a great excuse to gather with family and have a little party, I get that too.

This piece, however, is for the ones like me. I’ve lost no sleep over which theme or party decorations to purchase from a Pinterest inspiration. We won’t be spending hours waiting for a table at a hip place for a graduation dinner. No, my fourteen-year-old will be celebrated as he prepares for high school just as I was-with a cake, a little ice cream and a few cards (likely holding money) from his family.

For those (including myself) who have a student becoming a Mustang in the fall season I offer you this-work with your student not for or against them. Utilize the communication tools available to work with the staff. Remember your child is a hormonal teen, this is perhaps the furthest we can get from being a perfect human. Love them, breathe, breathe some more and then be at peace with the fact that C+ in seventh grade science will not cost them a shot at Harvard.

Cheers to new beginnings and congrats class of 2019.