Explorations of mind, paths, and life

Riding with Kids

Posted on May 16, 2008 - Filed Under self reflect

There is a bit of nerve-wracking anxiety when looking over a list of names and not having a clue as to who and what each of those names evolve into on a field trip. Despite my history as a teacher (which I think adds to the anxiety because I know how hard it is to make a list and hope you have the right combinations of kids to keep a parent from frenzied hysteria) I still look wide-eyed at the faces of kids I don’t know and wonder what the day will be like. I know not to allow power struggles, offer choices (even if two of my own), and avoid gift shops and candy. I try hard to get names down, and count heads before and after each ride. I know to be laid back enough so they can have fun, and be firm enough to keep them from working themselves into an uproar (which hormonal 7th graders can easily live up to). I smile when they give me attitude, and laugh at the absurdities that are middle-schoolers. On the flip side, I completely respect their efforts to be responsible and respectful, which is something I love about this age!

Picture Album Here

Aside from losing a kid within the first 10 minutes (before we even got in the park!) things went smoothly. I am amazed, with group consensus, that we enjoyed as many rides as we did. We moved along in an orderly sort of way, and when one group wanted roller-coasters and the other did not, I bought a deck of cards and played BS and Go Fish with the other group while we waited.

What really got me though (an here comes the juicy part) was watching Justin interact with other kids, especially Jamie (kid with turquoise hat), an adorable and intelligent young lady with stunningly large eyes and fluttery lashes. I learned a lot about her; she lives on an equestrian farm, has 8 horses, rides in competition, has older siblings… Anyhow, they teased each other incessantly the entire afternoon, she bonking him or tossing little bits of stuff at him, and he returning the favor. Justin has never mentioned her, or any girls. Suddenly I realized that this is the beginning of the end. My son is not a cookie face any more but rather emerging into the world of relationships other than family. Justin agreed all day he wanted to go on Revenge of the Mummy and when Jamie didn’t go, he hung back saying he wasn’t interested. I didn’t put it all together until the bus ride home and I asked his Science teacher (the two are lab mates) and he laughed and said, “Uh Huh, BIG TIME!”

OMG- what is going on in this world? MY KID LIKES A GIRL??? [Although he objected when I asked, looked confused, and said, “But she is always kicking my legs in science! – Uh, yeah, we grown ups know exactly what THAT is about!] Then my frantic thoughts carried on… He is too young, his feet are too big, he’s not ready for this, his voice is cracking, WHAT WHAT WHAT???? I was silent the rest of the bus ride home as I contemplated the ways in which my role as mother would change.

At the end of the day, we picked up the Giz, went home, showered, and I took the kid to a restaurant in Mt. Dora for Sushi. It was “recommended” by one of his friends (Yeah, today’s kids discuss sushi instead of pizza) and as we sat together to decipher the sushi menu and select some choice pieces to enjoy I just sighed and appreciated the energy of sitting with my “little” Big man. Showing signs of adult-like thinking, contemplating the world of sushi, discussing what he liked and didn’t. We returned home, and were so wiped out that we both fell asleep on the couch watching TV.


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