"Mom, when will I be in 6th grade?," I hear the child ask from the backseat on our way to school this morning. This question of course follows a lengthy conversation about a friend of his who actually is in the 6th grade and must be letting Marty in on the coolness of that world. "Well, let's see you're in 2nd grade now so plus 4 years and that's 6th grade...well more like 31/2." "Yeah 31/2!" He's excited that the half a year he has already put into this school year counts towards his time served. He's that much closer to being a middle schooler. Cool.
I on the other hand am thinking "ahhhhh!!!" I know what he will be exposed to not just in middle school but over the next 31/2 years of elementary and I'm frightened. Public school we all know has gone way way way south; check out this site to see how bad it is http://www.waitingforsuperman.com/! But even beyond the education he receives I remember his first day of kindergarten and thinking "this is it!" I could no longer protect him from social psychological damage. I'd allowed him to grow up whyyyyy??? And he continues to grow. Whether I like it or not.
Isn't this the way it always is with kids? Moms want to keep their babies as, well, babies; and kids, they can't wait to grow up! I've come to recognize that a part of that has to do with the fact that I fully identify myself as Marty's mom. I've been spending the last couple years trying to figure out how I can be Heather too and finding a balance between the two. It's not always easy and I don't always make the best choice, but I'm trying. As a co-parent you not only feel as though you need this you are forced into it when your child is with the other parent. And if you don't learn the balance you can end up feeling quite frankly like crap; when your whole world is your child what else is there when they're gone? There's me. That's a good thing.
But I'm not forced to give it all up. At Marty's 7th birthday a friend of his came to me and said "Marty's mom...." and as I laughed I felt a sense of pride too. No one else get's that title. No one can ever take that from me, I am Marty's mom. And I am Heather. None of this changes ever, even when he's in 6th grade!