“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” This saying hangs in our kitchen, a reminder to pause long enough amid the chaos to notice those moments. I had two biggies this week. My baby firefighter turned 5, FIVE!, and my oldest got registered for Jr. High. I can’t help but sit back and feel that I can almost SEE time buzzing by right before my eyes. I distinctly remember being pregnant with my first child, and everyone around me telling me to savor every moment, because it would go so fast. All I could think about was sleepless nights and stretch marks, but those people were right.
I thought it was cute that my little athlete who is normally in sweats, changed his clothes three times before we left for his orientation. And he remembered to use his Old Spice deodorant. He found his best buddy and we sat down. I was overwhelmed with emotions as the Principal stepped up and welcomed all those squirmy, awkward kids to Evergreen Junior High. He told them they were entering the Wonder Years. All I could think about was how much I hated being 12. And 13. And 14. Such tough years. But through my almost visible tears, I watched my son giggling with his buddy, watched the cute girl in front of us turn around and give him “that look”, and watched him blush. Somehow with those clues, I began to feel that he was going to be fine.
In the Principal’s final remarks he said two things that solidified my confidence in the future with a Jr. High kid. One, he talked emphatically about how much he loved working with kids this age. And how he made great efforts to hire teachers who shared that love. I realized that was one of my biggest fears…that my son would turn into a number in a world where no one recognized how great this little dude is. And then Mr. Principal said something that really made me happy. He said that Evergreen Junior High had a Zero Tolerance for…cussing!!! I’m worrying about gangs and drugs and fights, and their biggest battle is…cussing? I think we’re gonna be OK.