Boo Hoo Coffee

I realize that last week's ranting about Field Day and the lack of WINNING might lead you to believe that I missed some of the wonder and joy surrounding the event. That would be incorrect.

While I did spend a good amount of time trying to convince 2nd graders that I gave up my career of training and riding unicorns professionally to be a stay at home momma, I also spent lots of time gawking at the 5th graders. I've known most of these kids since they were in pre-school, and now they are transitioning physically, emotionally, academically and spiritually. They are going to the next place; middle school.

Chubby cheeks, baby teeth and make believe have been replaced with braces, awkward, gangly bodies, and tween drama. My helicopter parenting and concerns over my sensitive little man have disappeared. Of course I realize he's not raised yet. I'm not sending him to the military or off to college but in my heart, I know that part of him has moved on from me. I'm not worried but I'm grieving.

I try to be present, mindful of the moment I am in with my children, but I realize that I've yet to reach that level of enlightenment where I've got my Zen on. Son of a BITCH! Where has the time gone?

This morning, I watched my golden haired boy drop his skateboard on the driveway and roll away towards the school. He didn't look back and wave. I felt a flutter in my gut as I closed the door. I watched the coffee drip slowly into the pot and realized that I was crying. ME! Crying?

Boo Hoo Coffee is the yearly event where moms and dads enjoy crappy coffee in the school cafeteria on the first day of school after dropping off their kindergartener. I've never participated in the Boo Hoo. I'm the parent hauling ass away from the school, giddy with joy.
I never felt Boo Hoo personally, but my heart has always ached for the moms and dads who struggled with the kindergarten milestone. Just because we react differently doesn't mean we love differently.

I silently promised on the very day I saw another child push my kid down for the first time, that I would follow his lead. I would NOT hover, panic, intervene, tattle or allow him to be a victim of the world. I watched him look at me, wondering how he should react. I smiled through my urge to annihilate a 4 year old with my mind powers. That wee menace put his grimy mitts on my kid! I smiled, nodded and choked out the words, "Go play, Buddy, time's a wastin'."

I know that the most important job I have as a parent is to encourage my children to be brave and independent. The only thing that I KNOW I can actually give them that will always matter and ALWAYS be precious to them is the knowledge that they are capable human beings. The only way to give them this gift is to constantly encourage them to be O.K. being away from me. I am mindful that I struggle to find that incredibly difficult balance between the hover and neglect.

So, instead of the kindergarten Boo Hoo coffee, I had the 5th grade Coffee Sob. My blubbering was abruptly interrupted by a text from the neighborhood moms. "Hey, get your ass over here. We're having mimosas and coffeecake to celebrate the last day of school."

Saved by Moms who drink and swear.

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  • Only one picture in this gallery?

    Not really enough swearing, is it?

  • I'm going through the same thing with my girl. Where did the time go??? Are the next 10 years going to go by in a breath? Wish I had more moms who drink and swear near me....I'm sort of a commodity here.

  • My daughter will also graduate elementary school this year and enter the hot Meds that is middle school for girls. :( Thank you for this blog, Nikki. You always make me laugh but it's nice to know I won't be crying alone over this one. P.S. our school does "tea and tissues" for the kindergarten parents, and when my son started last year I joked that I wanted to have "wine and whoopie cushions" instead. ;)

  • Wow, boo hoo coffee and tea and tissues...? where do you guys live??? The first day I dropped my daughter off at her preschool, they snatched her out of my hands and (basically) shut the door in my face. She was just three at the time. Apparently, it was their policy with the theory that it would make the transition less traumatic for the child by not prolonging the "goodbying" phase of the drop off. A heads up would have been nice. What about the trauma the parent feels??? I bawled my eyes out the whole drive home. And promptly bitched them out at pick-up. I'm actually a (fairly lol) well-spoken person. So, my "bitching out" = me making myself very clear, in a very appropriate and direct way that their lack of communication with me, the parent, was unacceptable. And that they were assholes. Thank God her actual kindergarten was wonderful -no tears and crumpets- but lovely just the same.

  • "Just because we react differently doesn't mean we love differently"---could every adult who works with children, whether they have their own or not, memorize and take this sentiment to heart? Thanks.

  • Yeah, I definitely understood the policy - just didn't expect it! I wasn't a jerk about it, I just let them know that communicating the policy with me would have been really helpful. So hopefully they did things differently the following year for the next round of incoming parents. Now, this was a lifetime ago. My child is almost twelve and is just about to finish her first year in middle school. It's tough and they really transition from babyfat to tween in a blink of an eye. But she did really well. Good luck to your son on his first year of middle school.

    (PS: I loved the idea of Boo Hoo Coffee and Tea and Tissues for the parents. I think that they are brilliant and sweet ideas for managing the emotions that go along with your "baby" growing up. No matter how old.)

  • Had my parents not let out the leash enough to let me become independent and brave, I never would have made it to be champion.

    Great post as always.

  • This time LAST year I was having my own sob coffee when my daughter completed 6th grade and was headed to middle school. Oh, the anxiety(for me). Yet, my head nearly snapped off with shock when I realized recently "This time next year we will be parents of a HIGH SCHOOLER". Time-is-a-flyin.

  • We've gone through great effort trying to raise our kids to be independent. It's interesting how different that process was with each child.

    My older daughter had tremendous anxiety with strangers and dealing with other kids. She's still very shy and struggles with it. However, when she's not around other children, she's fiercely independent, will read, do art, play on the computer, or whatever for hours without needing a parent around at all. She's been that way for as long as I can remember.

    My younger daughter is the opposite, she wants to play with other kids constantly, and when someone is around, she doesn't care if I exist or not, but as soon as her friends aren't around she clings to me like it's my last day on the planet.

    I guess that's the difference between introverted and extroverted children though. I don't know that I'll have a 5th grade sob, and my kids won't enter middle school until 7th, so for me I suppose it'd be a 6th grade one, but probably not.

    I do think I'll be heartbroken when they go off to college though.

  • I just love your column,finally a sane person is saying all the things I have thought about certain parents!By the way my little girl graduates High School Friday,Time for some BooHoo Rum!

  • I had been looking forward to last Sunday for the past 34 years. The last of my 5 were on their way to high school graduation. I have yearned to feel The Empty Nest Syndrome. The twins were 18 in January and now it was finally the day they would be finished with high school. No more stupid projects. No more lying calls to the secretary when they faked illness. No more pleading & begging for extra credit so the boy could pass. It was The End.... and what the hell was THIS???? Tears? I'm frickin crying???? WTH?

  • Love your blog Nicole! I don't drink, but I do swear like a sailor. I don't coddle my kids (I am actually their parent, not their best friend)Love them fiercly, and expect them do the best that they can do. I send my kids to our Catholic School so they can learn some manners and get an education at the same time. No tattoos at 14, no 78 piercings. I am HORRIBLE! I won't let my 11 year old have a Facebook page because she wants it NOW! No, rules are that you have to be 13. If I let her do anything she wants, we are in big trouble! "Hey mom, I'm only 12, but I want a beer with the pals." "Everyone else does it, why can't I break the rules?" OK, so I'm a hypocrite. I partied with the best of them starting in High School and gave it up all together a few years ago. But I'm not going to tell them that! No siree!
    Anyway, love the blog, rock on....and don't be a fucktard tomorrow. LOL

  • I have a 5th grade daughter as well, and I am seeing some of the same individuality and separation from Special Agent and I. It comes in the form of eye rolling and saying "Mom, I know.. I know!!"

    Our daughter had her birthday yesterday and I had worked my ever loving ass off to prepare her party in time for an early release day. The first photo I snapped with my cell phone (fail on the camera remembering) shows the loveliest smile from the baboo I have seen in a while. I am hanging on to glowing smiles aimed in my direction when I can get 'em.

    Now I wish i had a mimosa. I need better friends.

  • I only have a 20 month old but I love your daily rants! I dread the day she starts kindergarten. I try really hard not to be the mom that freaks out with every little thing! We went swimming yesterday and she shoved her face in the water and came up coughing like crazy. Of course she was in my arms and in no danger of drowning. My sister hurries over and starts with the OMFG is she alright? I told my lil stinker she was just fine and threw her up in the air. I dont wanna freak out and freak HER out. Shit, I dont want a whinny ass kid. I work in retail and see plenty. Dont need one at home. ;)

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