Thursday, September 05, 2013
A Bad Day
My 11-year-old son just started middle school. Remember those fun-filled years? After a flawless first week of 6th grade, he had his first official bad day yesterday. No one was mean to him; he didn't flunk a test, trip in front of everyone, or get detention because he couldn't get his P.E. locker open and was late to class; it was just one of those "Why is everything going wrong?" days.
Here is a brief recap of events:
He left his P.E. clothes in Core class and had to run back to get them during lunch.
He accidentally kicked his lunch bag, causing his spoon to puncture his yogurt, which then exploded all over the inside of his lunch bag. We can be thankful that A) After three days of paper bags, we decided to go with an insulated one, which contained the mess very well, B) He had already eaten half his sandwich.
He lugged his heavy math book for the entire day, only to learn that it was meant to be kept at home.
His science teacher gave each kid a string of beads to use for a homework experiment and his string broke right after school. All but one bead rolled into the street and under the feet of other students. The one bead that he managed to retrieve worked for the assignment but the whole thing felt incomplete.
He had trouble with his P.E. locker, causing him to dread the first "dress out" day (which is today) more than he already was. (I assured him that EVERYONE dreads dressing for P.E.)
No wonder he slumped in the back seat of the van and groaned, "I have stress." For an 11-year-old, "I have stress" is no exaggeration." After all that, even the simplest homework felt overwhelming. All I could do was listen, comfort him with hugs, hot chocolate, and assurance that tomorrow would be better, help him with his homework even if I knew he didn't really need it, and pray that my promise of a better tomorrow didn't turn out to be a big fat lie.
I couldn't help having flashbacks to my junior high years, and the many bad days that I thought I would never get over but did. As I told Nathan this morning, "I think it's a rule that everyone needs to have a yucky day during the first week or so of middle school. It keeps us from getting too cocky." Doesn't that seem to be the case? No matter how confident we feel (and Nathan is extremely confident), the new routine of changing classes, dealing with bigger kids and mutiple teachers, and more rules than one young brain can handle throws us completely off. And someone we get through it and even learn to enjoy our new world after a while.
What do your remember about middle school? How did you grow through both the bad days and the good?