Sniff, cry: my son is “graduating” from elementary school and is on his way to middle school, and I’m a big puddle of tears this week

My “baby” isn’t a baby any more.

He’s growing up. He’s grown. Well, almost.

He’s not that 5-pound, 11-ounce “peanut” who—I’m so eternally grateful—popped out relatively easily on the morning of his birth in March 1998.

Or that little boy who—he’d be so red-faced to hear this—eagerly latched himself onto a nipple fresh out of the womb, and hung out there for a stunning 75 minutes.

Yeah, my husband timed our little “Scooter” for his first go-around at a woman’s breast. He was a serious boob boy.

He’s in denial or simply unaware of this fact. He recently announced his perception that babies drink from bottles, and I wanted to tell him: “Dearest Son, have I got news for you about your younger breast-feeding habits. …”

But I resisted.

He may become a hard-core breast boy even–ugh–in the near future, once he realizes that members of the opposite gender aren’t icky. And, may, in fact, be sources of friendship, soul-bonding, and, yes, much more.

He’s a big kid now. A “pre-teen,” he announces with great emphasis. He’s about 5 feet tall–more than four feet longer than his birth length–and weighs about 90 pounds.

He’s leaving elementary school. Officially, his school calls this Friday’s ceremony a “promotion” cderemony, not a “graduation,” and it’s supposed to be pretty casual.

I don’t know how much I’ll be sobbing that morning. Maybe, I’d feel differently if I had younger kids coming up behind him. But I don’t. He’s my one and only.

He’s been at his Walnut Creek public school for six years, from kindergarten to fifth grade. Six years. That’s quite a long time to be at one place. The school is our neighborhood school.

In fact, it’s the school I went to when I was growing up in Walnut Creek. I never expected to send my son to my childhood school, but life worked out that way, and, for the most part, it has turned out to be a good place for him, for us.

It’s a true neighborhood school, with nice, involved parents and committed teachers. With regard to the parents, I never got too deeply into our school’s parent social circuit—and the neighborhood swim club—but the parents I got to know were engaged, compassionate, caring people.

Meanwhile, my son has made some good friends, and we liked most of his teachers, especially his fifth-grade teacher this year.

I’ve been on the verge of tears all weekend, and even this morning. Over the weekend, my near-teariness and general grief over life changing on its necessary but sometimes painful natural path kept me from doing much with this blog, or with anything else.

My husband told me I needed a good cry, and he jokingly said, “I can say things to get you sobbing.” Yeah, he’s wonderfully evil in that way. He provoked some good sobbing.

But there’s more to come. Hmm, I do see my therapist on Wednesday. Hope, he’s stocked with Kleenex.

Oh my! My son’s not my little boy anymore, that infant who’d fit in the crook up my arm, or I could easily carry around on my hip. Who once smelled so sweet and fresh–even in the midst of a poopy-diaper change. Now, as a “big boy,” he carries around that faint, musk-like odor of wet dog. … No, I don’t think I’ll show this post to him.

As I write this I remember nuzzling my face into his soft, sweet-smelling cheek or giving him belly blows, and him kicking in delighted resistance and giggling hysterically.

Maybe most of all, I remember falling asleep at night with him, when he was a baby or 2-years-old. I know there is all that raging debate in parenting circles and parenting magazines about co-sleeping with your kids, but I must say, there is nothing as purely, quietly, and naturally joyful as falling asleep with your child in your arms, and then waking up in the morning with their warmth by your side and smile in your eyes.

He’s a big boy now. A self-avowed “pre-teen.” An elementary school graduate and a soon-to-be middle school student. He’s not my little Peanut, my little Scooter anymore.

4 thoughts on “Sniff, cry: my son is “graduating” from elementary school and is on his way to middle school, and I’m a big puddle of tears this week

  1. I don't really like how my elementary school actually has a graduation ceremony for 5th grade. Why does everything have to be celebrated in such a big way?


  2. I am with you. My youngest child is “graduating” from elementary school. I have the same feelings and experience with our school. When I think about not being with the same teachers, or seeing his kindergarten teacher or third, or fourth grade teacher in the halls I want to ball my eyes out.

    Our school has a great sense of community that I love.

    Glad to know that I am not alone in how I feel.


  3. Keep the kleenex handy. My little pumpkin pie brings me to tears watching her grow up, and she's only 2 1/2. I know I'll be so sad as the years go by.

    Good post. Thanks for sharing.

    By the way, Ava is a co-sleeper. Sometimes she's in her twin alongside the King bed. Last night she was in the King closer to me all night long. I'm operating like a zombie during the day from lack of sleep, but its all worth it. She's my sweetie, my one and only. I know what you feel Soccer Mom.


  4. 8:45 I so agree. This is strictly a 'promotion' to the next grade level, whose classes are held at a different location. It's not a graduation. The uber moms (PALS?) will just have to drive a little farther to try and stifle their child's social development. Be happy your child is growing and progressing normally without you being seen in the halls to monitor his every move. If you want to cry about something, think about that traffic that you will have to contend with on your twice daily trips to WCI!


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