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I'm one of the lucky ones. Others haven't fared as well. Like
Debbie, whose son Aaron ditched her in fourth grade, proclaiming he
no longer needed accompaniment to the school bus. Never mind that
Debbie was a dog-walking mom who congregated at the corner to take
the furry four-leggers after the kids were on their way. Instead,
Debbie adjusted and came after the bus left, giving her son the
freedom he craved.
It didn't take much longer for Aaron to continue his rejection
rampage. Why wait with girls when there were plenty of boys and
testosterone at the stop one block away? We never saw Aaron
Kathleen's dad didn't have a chance, as he found out when he
picked up his 13-year-old daughter. He decided to stand against the
car since Kathleen was expecting her mom. Big mistake. "Get in the
car! Get in the car NOW!" He was nastily scolded and informed he
was never to wait for her outside the car again. Ever.
Welcome to the tween and teen years. Perhaps you notice it
gradually. Like when your usually compliant child begins no longer
to be so accommodating. Or perhaps it arrives like a a fireball. In
any case, life as you know it will not be the same.
As a parent, you learn to deal with the rejection slowly,
indiscernible at times, like the height of your children as they
grow before your eyes. It becomes more apparent as you remember
those happy first- and second-graders with their character
backpacks and matching bows. How did it go so fast?
I personally made it all the way through elementary school. I
suspect if we had middle school in our district, I would have been
banned by fifth grade. But I was lucky to make it through sixth. I
recall getting daily goodbye kisses through fourth grade and then a
wave and a smile. Success.
Now with my kids in junior high and high school, my dog, Gracie,
is the one who misses the bus stop the most. No more
happy-to-see-you children-at the bus stop or elsewhere for that
matter. Yes, Gracie. Welcome to the tween and teen years. I know
Lucy Latourette is a freelance writer, Chicagoan and mother
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