Ok, first: No, I haven’t watched the Netflix series yet, but I’ve heard from several people that Stranger Things is worth a look. Last night I pulled it up out of curiosity, but that actually has nothing to do with this post except that when I went to put in the title, it was on my mind and it fit.
What’s so strange? Well, how about the fact that today, for the first time since–oh, probably 4th grade–my oldest child wore something to school that was NOT a knit, polo style short sleeve shirt (we only just graduated from solid colors this summer. For real.)
Today he came down the stairs wearing a short sleeve, plaid, button up shirt. One we purchased earlier this summer at the Gap, and one that I had already resigned myself to never seeing again after he tossed it unceremoniously into his closet. Because let’s face it, he’s not big on “new” or “change.”
Which is why it’s also been strange how easily he has drifted into high school. HIGH SCHOOL. As if it’s no big deal at all. He came home from orientation and announced that he joined three clubs. I tried to disguise the burst of incredulity that came from my throat as the beginnings of a summer cold.
About a week later, when I stumbled blindly into the kitchen looking for my morning cup of tea, he casually mentioned that we were out of milk, but said, “I saved you the last little bit because I know you like it in your tea.” He could not have made a billboard sign covered with lights or taken out a Superbowl ad to convey his message any more clearly. He loves me, I chanted to myself all morning long, my smile about to split my face apart.
And then yesterday, when I suggested he might soon receive notice from the health department based on the state of his room, he stunned me by agreeing. “I’m sorting out all of the papers and things I’ve been saving all these years so I can recycle the ones I don’t need.” This statement will only shock you as much as it did me if you know that he has struggled with throwing ANY item away since somewhere around 2007. (There’s a paragraph in this blog post I wrote in 2010 that describes his longstanding struggle with hoarding.)
So yeah, things are strange. But in the best possible way. It’s not just him, either. Yesterday, Bear announced that she likes school “10 thousand times better” than she ever has (huge sigh of relief) and also that she joined the Show Choir (!!) and needs to sell “at least 99 items” so she can win a prize. Sure, kid. (Side note: I told her she was essentially selling ‘overpriced cookie dough’ so during her first sales pitch, to my Mom, she proudly asserted, “B, would you like to buy some overpriced cookie dough?” She literally makes me cry with laughter on a daily basis.)
As for Hank, fresh off a George Takei documentary (yes, we watch this kind of thing for fun around here), he chose Harvey Milk for his National History Day project topic. I am brimming with pride. Just today I noticed that, despite not having grown more than an inch in the last 3 years, he suddenly seems to have developed a dimple in his chin, just like John. I may have become slightly enthusiastic upon noticing it (in the scary, “Mom, stahhhhp” kind of way).
So that’s the back to school update. All three kids get up on their own, make their own lunches, and leave the house with barely a backward wave now. I alternate between feeling really nostalgic about my rapidly diminishing role in their lives and plotting to make one of those construction paper chains to count down the approximately 8 years until absolute kid freedom (My friend Holli inspired this idea during a conversation earlier today on snapchat).
But I’m not stupid. I know it never ends. Your kids are your kids until the end of time, am I right?
Today on the way home from school, I related to T and his friend that I saw on Twitter that Tim Couch’s nephew is the quarterback for his high school football team. (I try not to be the biggest dork in the car, but awkward is my specialty). The other young adult riding with us followed up by saying she is planning to attend the next (first?) game. So, tomorrow, I predict my new high schooler will ask me to drive him to the Friday night football game so he can meet up with all his friends. In the past he hasn’t been big on crowds, or noise or anything related to sports. And yet, I just have this feeling he may give it a chance.
I mean, stranger things have happened.