Sitting in the junior high auditorium at parent information night, listening to school officials outline the expectations for my soon-to-be eighth-grader, was a piece of cake. I was calm and relaxed, and, unlike at last year’s parent information night for incoming seventh-graders, I never once hyperventilated.
Unfortunately, my peaceful state was short-lived as the focus shifted from eighth-grade course descriptions to a frightening presentation regarding ninth grade.
“When choosing classes with your future ninth-grader, be sure to read each course description carefully,” I heard the advisers caution, “as failure to select the correct courses will undoubtedly ruin all hope your child has of living up to his or her fullest potential.”
At this, I looked up from the eighth-grade course catalogue.
“Depending on which course you choose, you could either set your child on a track that will guarantee a post-doctorate research grant midway through his or her junior year of high school, OR you could set your child on a track that will guarantee he or she will live at home with you for the rest of your life …”
My pulse quickened.
“… so choose carefully or you will end up spending your golden years doing LAUNDRY for a nest full of 30-somethings...”
My breathing grew shallow.
“… because high school, college and the REST OF YOUR LIFE are right around the corner.”
I began to sweat. I had no idea how much pressure was involved with pursuing a junior high education.
While one parent asked a question about the Fulbright Scholarship, my mind wandered back home to my firstborn, content in seventh grade and far away from frat boys and finals. My dear daughter, who, thanks to unlimited texting, can type 40 wpm using just her thumbs but is nowhere near ready for a dissertation. My little girl, who looks forward to using her new algebra skills someday (in fashion school) but, at that moment, was most likely in her room humming a song by a band I have never heard of before.
All this talk about college as it related to my daughter seemed a bit premature, given the fact that she still hasn’t grown in all of her permanent teeth yet.
Then I remembered how quickly the time passed from seventh grade to the day my parents moved me into the dorm at KU. I went from navigating my way through puberty to navigating my way through campus in the blink of an eye. And through it all my parents never knew the names of my favorite bands either. In fact, they still don’t get that Bono sings with The Edge and not Cher.
On the other hand, they do NOT still do my laundry.
Which gives me hope. I may not know who sings “Fireflies,” but I’m sure when ninth-grade enrollment comes along next year, my daughter will be ready. Even if I am not.