A little less than 10 months ago, in early August 2011, I wrote the first post in this blog. We’d just come through a summer of ups and downs, fun times and frustrating times, days when I thought I’d lose my mind due to my kids’ fighting and whining, and days when I felt healthy, relaxed, and at peace with the world. School was about to start. I created this blog to document our experiences during Alexander and Zoe’s 5th grade year. The previous school year had been difficult, and even the summer seemed more trying than it should be. Ten years in, I still felt as though I was struggling to find my footing as a parent. I wanted a better way.
So, what happened? How does the story end? Forty-six blog posts, 101 comments, and 1,958 views later, where do things stand?
School ended almost a month ago, and I’m finally writing the promised wrap-up. My writing pace has slowed considerably in the past six months. Inspiration, and an urgency to post, has waned. Along with this is a growing awareness of my need to draw a line in terms of what I write about my children. Although blogging has been an incredibly valuable outlet for me in my parenting journey, it comes at a cost that might be unfair to my kids — an invasion of their privacy and revealing of personal information that I know they would not appreciate if they were aware of it. This poses a dilemma.
I think many parents, even those who are generally healthy and happy and who have a good community of wonderful friends, at times, feel isolated, anxious, and uncertain — about their children’s behavior and their own behavior. Sharing stories and information is balm for our parenting wounds. But now that my kids are almost eleven (and I do feel as though they’ve crossed a threshhold of some sort in this past year), I’m feeling less comfortable with putting their business out to the world. Darn!
So, are my blogging days over? More on that at the end of this post. But, for now, the promised round up of 2011-2012 5th grade year at Blowing Rock School.
First, and most importantly, we survived!
Beyond that, here is a quick end-of-school-year snapshot for both kids:
Alexander: Pow-wowing with his terrific teachers and other professionals led to a suggestion that Zander try typing more of his assignments, both in school (using a mini-computer) and at home. This was an awesome innovation that went a long way towards alleviating homework stress and negativity near the end of the school year. (I wish we had thought of it earlier.) I saw some terrific writing from Z once he could let go of his frustrations with his hand-writing. In fact, the child who “hates to write” won the DARE essay contest and was honored in a ceremony at the end of the school year. He also appeared as the lead in a school play AND aced the super-hard end-of-grade science test.
Zoe: Zoe had her first taste of conflict with her peers. Her wonderful group of close friends experienced some dissention in the second half of the school year. It was hard to see Zoe sad and hurt, and I wanted desperately to fix things, but knew I couldn’t. Although these episodes were painful, I saw that Zoe was more resilient and adaptable than I realized. Meanwhile, she continued to work hard in school, did well, and was enthusiastic and engaged in all her activities.
Taking the long view of this past year (and focusing on the positive), I see Zander gaining better control over his emotions, working harder, sticking to things, feeling proud when he does well, being more willing and confident going into new situations, being aware of others and being kind.
I see Zoe maturing into the beginnings of a young lady, taking care of herself, gaining confidence, being responsible, being more willing to listen to others, still creative, still determined, trying new things.
Lessons I’ve learned:
Things will continue to change.
Back off (i.e. “less is more”)
Let Zander be Zander.
Let Zoe be Zoe.
Are there any burning questions I’ve left unanswered? Needless to say, the story hasn’t ended.
But will this blog continue? I’m not sure. I’m pondering new themes and directions for writing here. Any ideas??? Thank you for your support!
Best wishes to all on this long summer day!