We’re in the middle of 9 weeks exams this week and Reagan and I were reviewing last night for a test when I stopped, looked at her, and said, “Can you believe you’re going to be in the 6th grade this year? This is your last year of elementary school!”

She allowed that she was not looking forward to Jr. High. We talked about it some. She talked about how she and one of her best friends since Kindergarten were slowly becoming not so much besties. “Drifting apart.” she called it. I explained that it happens sometimes. Even as we get older. But that it was ok. It just meant that they were both growing, learning who they are.

We talked about her academics. Her strengths. Her future. A year ago, talking about school was usually saturated with her tears and frustration as she talked not only about the teacher from Hades that was the bane of her existence, but the aggravating boys in her class that kept everything disrupted all the time, getting them all in trouble.

This year, she has 4 different teachers and she hasn’t complained about a one. I know she’s got some harsh ones at times, but her grades have proven that they’re excellent at their jobs. I barely have to help her with homework because she understands what she is learning and requires very little assistance. The boys still get on her nerves, but she has one or two that she mentions with the same attitude that she mentions her friends. I’m not one of these parents that thinks it’s “cute” for 5th graders to “date”, and Reagan hasn’t ever been extremely boy-crazy. Last year and the year before, she talked about the ones she had crushes on, this year there’s been one, but her sun doesn’t rise and set on them and for that I am very thankful. I’ve tried to get her to see the opposite sex as what they should be for her at this age – or any age – friends. When the girls have been extremely hateful and petty (as many will be at this age) I’ve encouraged her to look past the ickiness of boys and remind her that they are just people too and that one of them could be a good friend in disguise. And she now has one or two that I think she looks at as a friend. Not like her female friends, but we’re better than we were a year ago.

I still contribute much of her growth and maturity to her recent participation in basketball. She’s learned to become closer to people she might not would be otherwise, she’s gotten closer to her more academic friends, recognizing their similarities in that aspect, and I think many of the boys have come to respect her because she got out there and played and played well.

She’s recognized by her strengths by her peers and I think she’s finally getting a little respect from them that she was somehow missing before now and that has surged her confidence so much. And that is what I want her to be: confident and respected. Not flawlessly beautiful, not perfect in everything she does, not even popular – but respected. And confident of her abilities and her character.

I sit and marvel at the kid. I really do. Watching her grow into a young lady is so bittersweet. Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe this is the same kid that I dropped off with a nap mat for the first day of school. And then she busts into a fit of giggles over something compeletely ridiculous and I chuckle to myself because she’s so much like me – serious, competitive, driven, but not afraid to be a complete fool and have a big belly laugh about it.

I just love that kid. Being her mom is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but God is it more than worth it.