I love you just the way you are....

Today was Meg's 4th grade orientation at her Middle School. (4th-8th grades).

As we walked into the cafeteria, lots of girls came running up to us to say hello. I could tell they were really happy to see Meg. I wish she could have shown some enthusiasm when they greeted her, but she was really serious. I could see she was feeling anxious. It was really chaotic and loud in the room, and she HATES chaos.

Teacher assignments were handed out and I got to see which girls are in her class. Of course there is a "mean girl" in the mix. The same girl who hit Meg in the head with a jacket last year. I'll be keeping my eye on her this year. Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to avoid dealing with nasty kids. There's at least one in every class. Thankfully the teacher does not tolerate nonsense and is pretty in tune with any bullying that goes on in her classroom.

There are three girls in her class that she loves and that she's very close with. Despite the fact that they wanted to hang out with her she clung by my side like glue during the entire orientation. I tried my best to get her over with the gang, but to no avail.

That's the hard part of being a mom. She is going to deal with things in her own way. I can guide her, but I can't FORCE her to handle things the way I would like her to. I hoped she would play team sports, like soccer or softball, it was a no go. I'd like her to be a little more outgoing in a crowd, but I can't MAKE IT HAPPEN. She is who she is, which is a funny, smart, creative little girl, who does things at her own pace. I always give her the opportunity to try things, and then she decides what she wants to do.

She always surprises me, like last year when she was chosen out of the entire third grade to sing the solo at the Christmas Concert. I was impressed that she even auditioned, and floored when she had the nerve to get up in front of 500 people and sing her little heart out. Or when after years of encouragement she announced that she would be joining the swim team and the cheerleading squad.

As she enters Middle School I can offer her support and words of advice, but she will have to handle things in her own way. Thus far it's served her well. She usually makes very good choices. Choices that are right for her. I know I'm in for a bumpy ride. Middle school is a tough place. I want to help make it as positive for her as humanly possible.

Tomorrow, Catherine has her kindergarten orientation. I'm not worried about her being shy. Quite the opposite. I do wonder how she's going to handle school five days a week from 8:40 until 3:05. But that's a whole 'nother post.

So here I am, with two kids starting new schools in less than a week, I'm sure I'll be reaching out to you all for input and advice. We're all heading into a whole new world. Wish us luck.