It is 2:45pm on a Friday. It is drizzling rain. I’m sitting here waiting on my 13 year old son to enter the truck, I’m his weekend salvation.
As I wait, I glance up at the little electronic gadget above the rear view mirror that displays the gas mileage, compass, temperature etc. 58 degrees. I am not ready for this kind of weather.
I watch clumps of pre-pubescents exit the building and realize how different things are, compared to when I was in middle school.
Most of the pre-teens are sporting earbuds which travel from their ears to their backpacks or jacket pockets. Some of them are talking or texting on their iPhones.
Last Monday I learned that my son will be entering 9th grade next year with at least 3 high school credits, assuming he passes the finals in his advanced classes at the end of this school year (which he will, because he has a life plan).
The passenger door swings open and I snap back to reality. My 13 year old son hands me a brochure and says that he wants to go to Costa Rica. What?!?!
As I drive home, the (barely) teenager tells me all about his Science teacher distributing these brochures to take home to the parents of the (children?) (barely… young ladies and gentleman?) youth in his class.
My son and some of his classmates will be going on an educational tour of Costa Rica for 9 days in March. There is a meeting in a week about this for the parents of the students who will participate in the trip.
At 13 my son will have his very first passport. Take his very first flight. Have his very first experience of a different culture, a different country.
As much as this scares the hell out of me, I must not be the parent who denies their child an amazing opportunity because of fear.
I know that he is fortunate to have this opportunity. I know it will be one of the many life-changing events that will shape his future. I know this is necessary for him to arrive at his adult destination. So I know I will do whatever it takes for him to embrace this opportunity. After all, my sole purpose as his mother is to prepare him for his future.
Middle school for me was the awkward stage in my life where my peers and I were figuring out crushes, makeup, puberty. We nervously anticipated the biggest event of the year… the dance.
Our concentration was spent on what we would wear. Our worries consisted of which boy would ask us and what would we do if a pimple the size of a volcano appeared the night before.
My son is anticipating the view of an ACTUAL volcano and a zip-line excursion through the jungle.
I’m not sure if this progression of opportunity in the life of an American Middleschooler is terrific or terrifying.
What I do know is that I am envious of my son right now. I am 33 and have never even seen a passport up close and personal, let alone have one of my very own.