Goodbye summer, hello adulthood

Paula Brown

As this summer creeps by, I am feeling something very new and strange for me…I’m dreading it coming to an end. Usually by this time I’m counting the days for the kids to be back in school, to gain some sense of normalcy, a routine, some peace and quiet in a house where I’m not hearing two boys fight all day long, and “I’m hungry” every other minute. Seriously? Where does all the food go? Are they storing up for winter? Someday am I going to find a stash of fruit snacks and peanut butter crackers buried in the yard?

But this summer is different. I feel like it’s the inevitable end of some innocence I’m not yet ready to let go of. My boys are getting older. With every day that goes by I observe some new evidence of them turning into older, wiser, scarier (and sometimes incredibly annoying) children that know things I’m not ready for them to know!

My oldest is going into sixth grade this year, and I won’t lie, this terrifies me. You see, I remember sixth grade very clearly. Things happen in sixth grade. Maybe it was because I lived in Florida at the time, and everyone knows Florida is insane, but I distinctly remember hearing about things like kissing, sex, drugs, pregnancy of a peer, and other things no eleven/twelve-year-old has any business knowing. Especially not my eleven-year-old. He still loves to play with Legos and wear superhero costumes for crying out loud.

With the exception of waving around a feminine hygiene product asking what it was and being satisfied with a non-answer-answer because it wasn’t age appropriate and because I was completely caught off guard (mostly the latter), he’s never once asked me any birds and bees questions. He’s never shown any interest in girls other than the fact they are people. He’s blissfully unaware of the things that await him and I feel like I’m just waiting for my bubble to burst at any moment.

The thing is, when it comes to other people’s children, I’m totally on-board with the theory of them knowing as much as possible and being ready for this cruel, adult world. I don’t believe in over-sheltering kids from things they need to know. Knowledge is power, right? Except when it comes to my sweet, innocent little baby.

I know I’m on thin ice here, people. I’m not so much in denial, per se, more like “cautiously optimistic” that there’s still a very small chance he will want to wear a Batman costume to prom and be home by ten because he’s sleepy and has soccer the next morning.

The good news is, I have a kid that likes to talk and has no problem asking me questions that may be embarrassing for one or both of us. He really knows no boundaries when it comes to asking questions. This can be downright mortifying at times, but in the end I’m going to have to call it a win. I’m just going to have to keep reminding him to come talk to one of us, as horribly awkward it’s going to be, when he hears about things that he doesn’t understand. Lord knows I’d rather be the one to have to explain whatever it is he’s hearing about than the kid at the lunch table with two older brothers and a fast girlfriend (probably from Florida). If it means I have to go to the bathroom afterwards to hyperventilate and/or laugh and cry hysterically, then so be it.

But in the meantime, may the Lord hear my prayers that sixth grade in Tennessee is nothing like sixth grade in Florida, land of the perpetually horrifying.

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