High School: It’s Her Turn

Emma, our eldest, is in high school. This year, the Class of 2018 are Freshmen. What happened? Seriously, isn’t it still 1987? Aren’t I still in high school?

I didn’t ever imagine I’d have a problem with getting older. As the youngest in my class, I knew my friends would always hit milestones before me. Turning 30 wasn’t a big deal because they had already done so. 40 may have been a tad tougher to accept, but after a year I began to embrace the freedom found in my fifth decade. 

Who knew sending my child to 9th grade would throw me into a tailspin? 

High School is emotional chaos and not a lot of people are anxious to re-live adolescence. I’m not looking through rose-colored glasses. Those four years carried great times for me, but also a ton of heartache.

My recent anxiety isn’t so much that I want to go back to high school in so much as in my soul, I’m still there.

I remember so many details:

  • My first day, afraid 5 minutes would never be enough time between classes.
  • New friendships developing as new interests were discovered.
  • Reading “Of Mice and Men”, “Lord of the Flies”, and “Catcher in the Rye” for the first time.
  • My first kiss, from a boy who didn’t even like me “like that.”
  • My second kiss, from a boy who did.
  • Betting my friend couldn’t light a match with her fingernail in class. She could. Without getting caught. Barely.
  • My crush throughout high school.
  • My Junior Prom – so innocent
  • My Senior Prom – not as innocent
  • Driving to Pizza Hut listening to A-ha and Howard Jones.
  • Rushing to whomever’s house was closest to catch Miami Vice or Saturday Night Live. 
  • Oingo Boingo concerts
  • Parades and football half-time shows.
  • Listening to Madonna’s first album (Yes. A vinyl album.) over and over at a friends sleepover.
  • Beach parties and bonfires

And so much, much more. All fresh in my mind as if it happened last week.

But it wasn’t last week. It was over 25 years ago. And my brain simply can’t wrap around this fact.

Today Emma begins the memories which will stay with her for a lifetime. As I watched her enter the school building, I remembered I did not cry when she left for kindergarten. This morning, I’m a basket case.

I’m excited for her. 
I’m scared for her. 
I want to protect her. 
I want her to be independent. 
I don’t want to let her go.
I don’t want her to stay.

I’m a mess of contradiction.

I wonder if having a child in high school will finally cause me to realize I am, in fact, experiencing mid-life. I think until this registers, I’ll continue listening to 1st Wave on SiriusXM and dancing to 80’s music at a local bar with my friends. 

We’ll always be 17.

After all, denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.

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