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Grade 8 Graduation and High School: A Shifting Relationship

Updated on June 23, 2018
Christina St-Jean profile image

I am a mom of two awesome children who teach me more than I ever thought possible. I love writing, exercise, movies, and LGBT advocacy.

A Trial Run For Grade 12 Grad? Perhaps.

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A Long Year - A Few Changes

I don't know why, but I didn't think my oldest daughter's Grade 8 year would have felt this long.

Perhaps it's because she's now 13 (as I write this, 13 and a half, but who's counting?) and we're now navigating the minefield known as puberty. Perhaps it's because I'm a high school teacher and I know what's waiting for her in Grade 9 - new challenges, the opportunities to get more involved in ways she didn't have in elementary school, and so forth. Perhaps it's because she's endured a fair bit over the last few years and has just had enough of being in elementary school.

It could be a combination of all of these factors. I don't know and it probably doesn't really matter.

The thing of it is, my oldest kiddo has given me a hell of a fight throughout her Grade 8 year. Homework got done, though sometimes it was later at night than I'd like and with a whole lot of procrastination in between meal times and other commitments. She did get to bed and got decent sleep, though again, it was later at night than I was prepared for and often with a lot of impatience on both sides.

Her Grade 8 graduation is in two days, and it feels like it's been a long time coming.

I feel like our relationship is about to shift a little in the coming months as she gets ready to start high school. As a high school teacher - and a high school teacher at the high school she's chosen to attend, at that - I've no doubt that once she gets settled into her new school, I will probably be more or less ignored except when she requires a signature or money or both.

That's OK though. Growing independence is a part of this teenager thing.

I'm trying not to fuss too much about the time she spends "talking" back and forth with her friends on Instagram or whatever messaging platform she's using nowadays. I scope through her Insta profile once in a while to make sure I know everyone she's following and everyone who's following her and I have no concerns in that regard. I'm trying to reassure her that her current crop of friends - good kids - won't just disappear the second she enters her new high school. She's chosen to go to a different high school than her friends for a variety of reasons, and while she seems excited to start, there is a nervousness there about losing the people in her life that she's effectively grown up with.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear her say last night that she'd been talking with one of her buddies and that they'd agreed they'd make an effort to get together once in a while as they progressed through high school. It was a nice change from the dire "we'll never see each other again!" vibe that's been occurring from time to time over the last few weeks.

It's a time of shifting relationships and change for my girl and for her friends, and while change is not always fun to deal with, I've gotten the sense lately that she's come to accept that like it or not, it's going to happen so she might as well adapt to it.

It's not an easy lesson for anyone to learn, and I am continuing to learn it.

It's hard to accept at times that my girls do not need me as much as they once did. Sure, the 9-year-old won't be cooking things like bacon on her own anytime soon, but she can safely navigate making oatmeal in the morning on her own. In fact, she'll be in charge of getting herself out the door in time for school on her own next year, something which makes me smile and feel a little worried all at once.

My oldest will, provided she's not too embarrassed to be seen with me, no doubt be walking with me to our high school - at least until she hooks in with a group that she wants to hang with first thing in the morning. She will hopefully find a few activities beyond her usual karate training to be involved with and find her own path through high school, as all kids do.

It's been a year full of changes, but I think, for right now at least, we're able to look at them with anticipation and not so much trepidation. That's a change that definitely makes me happy.

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