I’m feeling all kinds of emotions at the moment. My son, my only boy, is starting High School tomorrow.
I am nervous, apprehensive and a little bit hopeful. This year he will be thirteen, a teenager, and while I can see that he is growing up, he will always be my little boy.
My initial years at High School were stressful. I had just arrived in Australia from Scotland and going to an all girls Catholic school in the southern suburbs of Sydney was a culture shock to say the least. For about two years I found it really hard to fit in. I battled homesickness, getting used to the heat, getting used to the Aussie accent, and puberty all at once.
Many people I know have memories of their time at High School imprinted in their minds, much more so than any elementary or primary school memories. And not all of them are good. Who hasn’t gone through a bit of misery at the hands of the mean, popular clique? Or been rejected by a boy they really liked? Or just felt like an outsider each and every day?
But there are positive memories associated with High School too. Beginning to know who you really are. Finding others like you whom you can really relate to. Sharing interests and passions and beliefs. Wanting to be an instrument of change in the world.
Time. It passes so quickly. I sounded like my Grandmother when I said that. Uttered low in the throat, so that there is a catch there, which could be regret or maybe just joy at being alive in the first place.
I used to be a girl, but now I am dying. Those were the last words my Grandmother said to me. At 89 years old. Drink each day in, she said. Each one is a gift. Don’t wait to enjoy life.
My Grandmother was right.
Don’t wait – because Mistress Time, she waits for no one.
This is Nick on his first day of school all the way back in Kindergarten.
I hope he is able to tackle High School with as much enthusiasm!
aging sucks.. and if every day was a cool drink of water,, id spend the rest of my time pissing my pants!!!! so i will creep thru some days and roar thru others,, each one being what it is not what it was or what i want it to be… sorry…just had to rant a moment..
your son is moving into the best part of life,, at least as i see it.. if there is anything you can help to make sure he remembers it as such,, i am thinking that is your job for the moment.. he’ll be fine.. it’s you we need to hug me thinks…
Oh Snap. I am DREADING that day. My fingers toes and eyes are crossed that he does well these next coming years. High school can be ever so TRAGIC.
Great picture of your son. Time is relative and accelerates as we get older. Therefore, our children’s childhoods seem much shorter than our own. Therefore, high school will go faster than elementary school. Space, too, will expand. His growth will spurt. You are an experienced astronaut. You know what to do.
What a joyous photo!!! I love it! His going to HS…it’s a loss for you…as it will be for me.
I WISH I could enjoy each and every day, hour, moment, but right now, it’s tough. I’m afraid about taking care of my son, myself…keeping the house. I have no safety net (as do many people).
But it helps to remember that we’re going to die one day….and it keeps me grounded.
As for HS, you will teach him to navigate the choppy waters, how to look for the horizon and interpret the stars. Let’s face it, high school is LIFE. I feel like I run into the same kinds of people I met in HS all the time! You will teach him; he will be GREAT.
High school was the worst time for me. I’m so glad it’s older. If he has a horrible time, like I did, give him this song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdQJ0xEGjzE . It wasn’t that I wasn’t popular or anything. I just thought it a waste of time, and I prefer to be alone.
You know, there are many lesson on the blogosphere for me today. I don’t tend to think of high school as a joyous time. It seemed I spent a lot of time on the fringes but I had three very close friends that got me through. (I’ve lost touch with them all… we all had a bit of a falling out in Grade 12.)
Had thought about them in years… thanks for this.
It didn’t even occur to me until I was an adult that some people actually enjoy their adolescence. Let’s hope our kids will be in that category. Your son is being guided well, which makes all the difference in the world.
I couldn’t agree more with your grandmother. Her’s is excellent advice.
I am sure that your son will do great in High School. He has a very wise mom!
Don’t wait to enjoy life is such brilliant advice…
There is something special and unique about each phase of our lives. I do not dread aging and actually feel better now in many ways, than I did in my 20-30’s. Having good health is key though, don’t you agree?
I wish your dear son a great time in high school. It was the happiest time of my life I think, non-stop laughing and friends I will never forget. We were loyal to each other through thick and thin, This is what I wish for your dear little guy!
Wait. Not to be off topic here…
…but you guys start school at the end of January??
THAT is a fabulous picture!!!!!
I think I’d frame it and put it on my wall. They say that what you have on your walls impresses upon children’s minds more so than words spoken. A woman had three sons who went into the navy – when asked why all pursued the sea, she couldn’t answer, because the sea was never in their family, and no one had preached to them of the sea. Yet all three were powerfully drawn to it like flies to honey. When the men were questioned though, they found that they all were powerfully effected by the picture of a boat sailing into the sunset that rested in their parent’s family room.
I don’t know if it’s true or not, but hey – it can’t hurt to be conscious about what hangs on the wall – even purposeful.
On another note:
Too often people wait for joy to come to them rather than find the joy in the moment of existence. I know that sounds like a fortune cookie, but it’s true.
Maybe I have finally found my true calling – fortune cookie writer. Wonder what I could make with that career?
Why was I called ‘Onion’ at school?
Well, when I went up to secondary school, there were three others in my primary class went up at the same time … amd they were all called Ian. They decided we should all stick together, so they appointed me an ‘honorary Ian’ … which, in time, got shortened to ‘Hon. Ian’ thence ‘Onion’
Good Luck Nick!
and why did no one ever issue a warning that it would be just as hard for us?
I must admit, Al and I shed a tear yesterday.
Thankyou for your phone call, you are the person I know with the most social graces. Top of the heap.
I’m sure he’ll have a great time. Although I remember not enjoying it as much as I did my college years. I just wasn’t the adventurous type who tried anything and everything. And that’s what they usually do at an all-boys Catholic school.
I didn’t know you start a new school year in January in Australia! I hope his High School experience will be better than mine. I like my university years better, there being smart you were not looked upon as a nerd! It payed to be a “brain” because you got the better grades and a higher GPA and real respect from the professors. But I know Nick will have a really good experience especially with a mother like you, who will help him through the awkward moments oh high school…
GOOD LUCK NICK!!!!!!!!!!!!
After the positive day Nick had today, I think you might be right about him moving into the best part of his life. He made five friends today and is raving about the teachers. I am thrilled.
It can be tricky, for sure. There are so many different things to contend with. I am keeping everything crossed!!!
Totally with you on that one. I do like to think of myself as a bit of an astronaut, to tell you the truth. Very nice analogy!
So astute of you – High School is life, so it’s important to try and make the most of it. I am sorry you don’t have a safety net, hon. Sadly, I am in the same boat at the moment, but I am determined to get out of it.
Sorry it wasn’t all you hoped for, hon. I know many people who prefer to be on their own. Cool clip, by the way.
It is hard on the fringes. There were two things that helped me with moving out of that – the first was becoming a prefect, the responsibility made me step up to the plate; and acting in the school plays. The cool kids realised I wasn’t as much of a loser as they thought. I am glad you had those friends to get you through. It’s so important to have that back up and support!
It is such a confusing time, isn’t it? No wonder so many people struggle with it. I hope, like you, that all of our kids cope well with it!
How kind of you to say so. I really appreciate you dropping by!!
I think it’s good advice too. Don’t leave things too late, I say!
Absolutely. Good health is the key as we get older. My parents are in very good health at 70 but some of their friends are quite ill so the quality of their life is diminished. It makes me realise how important it is to look after yourself in your 30s and 40s.
Nick had a really good day. Thanks for your kind wishes!!
Our school year starts at the end of January and runs in four terms to the middle of December. There are two week holidays after each term, with a 6-week break in Dec/Jan. I often wish we had that extended summer break like you do because February is usually the hottest month in Sydney and the kids are just exhausted struggling away at school.
I love that story so much I think you should write a short story about it. There is something so inspirational about it. My sister, Shelly, plays the harp. No one in the family that we know of has ever played it and she knew no one who played it either. But when we were kids Mum had a painting in the dining room of a lady playing the harp. Now I am wondering if that was what influenced my sister to take up the harp. I am captivated by the idea of this!! You would be a great fortune cookie writer. Your cookies would sell out because they would make everyone feel good about themselves.
You have the best stories. ‘Onion.’ I love that!!
Not necessary to thank me. I love your boy. He is like the second son I never had. I do think it’s harder on us than it is on the kids. It’s like childbirth, no one tells you the truth… Hope Moofus had a good day. XXX
I know all about those Catholic schools. Talk about Adventure Central. I’m glad you survived!!
Yeah, we start at the end of January. Isn’t it funny how often being a ‘brain’ is a disadvantage at school, but pays off at University. I have a good feeling that Nick is going to be OK at High School. There is a positive vibe in the air!!
To see that picture of Nick is to love him. What joy!
Our kid are resilient Selma, don’t worry. Last year this time I was dropping my first born, my daughter, at boarding school and cried the whole way home. On Monday I take my last born, my son, to the same school. I have a feeling I won’t cry, I’m used to it all now. It’s a new phase a new life for everyone- let’s rejoice in it ala Nick those many years ago.
Oh Selma, I went through the same thing last year only at least it wasn’t a new school. They go to a R-Yr10 school but will go to a different campus for Years 11 & 12.
Nevertheless it was a huge wrench because it felt like they were no longer my little girls. I’ve read your responses and am thrilled to read that Nick went really well and made some new friends. You must be so relieved.
Oh, boarding school must be so hard. I would have been bawling my eyes out. You’re right though – kids are extremely resilient. This week has turned out to be such a good one for Nick. I am delighted!
That’s what it is, isn’t it? We suddenly become aware that they are growing up, don’t we? It hits us all at once. I’m glad your girls settled in well too!
Getting used to puberty and the Aussie accent might be too much for most normal folk. But obviously not for you 😉 And being rejected by a boy he really likes does not seem in store for your kid! Lol, kidding!
Seriously that is a great pic of your son. However, it looks like he is yelling “FREEDOM” so I would have thought that the pic is on the last day of school before the holidays start!!
I love that picture of him. I think it would look great framed side by side with a similar picture from his high school graduation as he’s clutching his diploma and jumping in the air!
oh what a great post! such an important reminder from grandma -so, so true – and high school – such a mixed bag for me, likely the case for most everyone – as you say such a tough time in our lives no matter what
Hahaha, good one. He does look like he’s yelling ‘Freedom.’ Maybe he’d just seen ‘Braveheart.’ ‘They can take my life but they can’t take my Freeeeeeeddddddoooommmmm!!!’
That is a really good idea. I am going to do it. That will be a great memory to have. Cheers!
I think high school definitely is a mixed bag for all, but I guess we do have to make the best of it; much like enduring the rigors of the present economy. Never a dull moment in this life!