written by Cathy Baker, mom of two middle-school girls, living life in the Missouri Ozarks
Caught – between childhood and adulthood.
Suspended – between magical kid years and grown up responsibility.
One day they are building Ewok forts in the backyard with mud and sticks (since they no longer believe in fairies, they had to upgrade from fairy houses to Ewok forts!). That same day they are treating each other to fine manicures.
They still want to have a lunch picnic with dad at the park. They no longer want to wear swimsuits there and play in the fountains. (See above photo.)
One morning they are independently making pancakes in the kitchen. For lunch they need to be convinced to eat a fruit or vegetable. For dinner they are learning to use the grill.
They ask thoughtful questions that make me think. The provide answers to my wonderings.
Their creativity inspires me. Yet, sometimes they want me to still provide ideas for those “I’m bored” moments.
They ‘talk-back’ and give me ‘that look’. Unprompted, they return later and apologize for their bad attitude.
One night they want to see Frozen at the local Amp Theater. The next night they beg to watch the latest PG-13 movie at the Amp.
They have opinions. They need reassurance as they navigate the gray areas of life.
They are giddy about being able to stay home alone for short periods of time. Sometimes though, they need dad to make sure the basement door is locked before they venture down the stairs.
Their books are stories that I can now get lost in too.
They can go in and pick up a pizza by themselves. They still prefer I ask the store clerk a question.
They surprise me by wiping up their mess in the kitchen. But that dirty laundry on the bathroom floor? Well, they still need to be reminded to pick it up.
When packing for a trip, they can do so on their own. They still want me to provide them with a list of things to bring.
They can spend a half an hour getting ready in the bathroom now. Yet, they still need to be reminded to take a shower.
When venturing into something new, they want us by their side. However, we are tiptoeing through our words carefully when around their peers.
Yes, their world is expanding, changing, opening to new possibilities. I’m so thankful I get a front row seat of these in-between years of their beautiful lives.
note: the above are all things I’ve observed over the course of the last couple of weeks in our home. If you have (or had) middle-schoolers — what in-between moments have you noticed?