Middle School: Is It Over Yet?

I am DONE with middle school.  I am DONE with the drama.  I am DONE with the "assessments."  I am DONE with the teenage angst.  I am JUST DONE!

There are still 8 weeks left to the school year, but I am just OVER it all.  I am ready to move on to high school and the next phase of life.  Surely it's going to be a better four years?  (Don't laugh and whisper, "Who are you trying to kid Bfth?" to me!)

Just so you know (in case you didn't), I am NOT in middle school, but my son IS.  I LOVE my kid.  Maybe I should rephrase that:  I LOVE my teen/not quite young adult.  However, these past 4 years have been EXHAUSTING.  (And I am still of the mind that middle school should be grades 6-8 and NOT 5-8, but...)  Was middle school always so challenging?

I think back to my own experiences in middle school; the same school that my son attends.  (Although back then it WAS only grade 6-8.)   To be honest, there really aren't that many memories.  Yes, it was a LONG time ago (longer than I would care to admit), but when I try to drag out the memories of those years; there isn't much there.  I remember monthly projects in 6th grade "language arts."   I remember hating the band director and the music we played (and being told I just had to make it to high school where the music program was a whole different ball game and much more exciting.) I remember my enthusiastic Spanish teacher and how much fun she was. (Back in those days we didn't get foreign language until 7th grade!)  I remember participating in 2 musicals in 8th grade; Annie and an original production written by a much loved French teacher.  (No, I didn't take French, but EVERYONE knew her and EVERYONE loved her.)  Everything else?  

High school is a different matter.  I have plenty of memories of those times...both good and bad. (Though I freely admit I've tried to block out the uncomfortable memories...like not "fitting in" in some situations and ANYTHING having to do with ANY math class.)  I can tell you just about every book/story/poem/play that I had to read through my four years of English.  (Starting with "The Scarlet Ibis" in freshman year and concluding with "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" at the end of senior year.)  I can tell you what music we played in marching band and where we went each year on the annual band trip (24+ hours on a bus to Florida never leaves you.)  I can remember one student telling our history teacher there were 52 states.  I can remember all the plays and musicals I was a part of, as well as some that I wasn't.  There are A LOT of memories...wrapping up with beer cans flying over the fence at the community pool (where our after graduation party was held) and hanging out in the school parking lot waiting for breakfast to be served so that some of my friends and I could finally go home and SLEEP after graduation night.

These are the kind of memories that I want my son to have.  The memories that he can carry with him throughout his adult life and smile and laugh.  I want the good to outweigh the bad.  (I know there will be both.)

But for now, I just want middle school to be over.  I'm guessing my son feels the same.   It HASN'T been very good.  It HASN'T been memorable.  It HAS been challenging, but not in a good way.  It HAS been a struggle; for grades (which don't reflect his knowledge or ability), for identity, for finding "his place" in this world.

When he looks back as an adult will he have any memories of middle school?  Will it just be 4 years that were sandwiched between the fun of elementary school and high school?

Maybe that's why it IS called middle school.  You are in the middle of something.  You are wrapping up childhood and the life of elementary school and emerging into adulthood and the "real" life that high school is (hopefully) preparing you for.  

I've had enough of the middle.  I, perhaps even more than my son, am counting down these next eight weeks.  I'm ready to move ahead.  I've ready to see my son move ahead.  To have new experiences.  To have more of a voice in his life path.  To make choices and decisions.  To have opportunities.  To start fresh in a new place with a new voice.

It's time to move out of the middle.  Or as it has been said (sung):

"Trying to make some sense of it all,
But I can see that it makes no sense at all.
Is it cool to go to sleep on the floor,
'Cause I don't think that I can take anymore.
Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you."


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