I am stuck.
I think the correct term is writer’s block; but I think of it more as writer’s muck. The letters and the words are all there in my head. Some fall out while others get stuck. My sentences seem mumbled and jumbled, making no sense.
I have been taught when you are stuck in the muck; you need to write through it. So for the past two weeks, I sit down each day trying to write. Everything I write is crap. So I try again and again as the words continue to combine to make more senseless dribble. If my writing were an emoji, it would be the smiling pile of poo.
But all this nonsensical writing has lead me to realize the source of my writer’s muck: High School.
My oldest is getting ready to register for high school. He has a choice to make. He needs to decide if he will attend the high school in our city or apply to the accelerated program that compliments the middle school program he entered two years ago. To prepare for this decision, I have attended several meetings at both high schools learning about all the different programs available, gathering all the facts. In addition, my oldest and I have had conversations about what he wants to do after high school; leading us to discuss which of these options might best help him reach his goals. Yet all I can really think about is if I done enough to prepare him for life. I begin to question…
Did I teach you to be kind?
Are your brave enough to try even when you might fail?
Do you know you are enough?
Are you able to say you are sorry when you hurt someone?
Do you know you are loved always?
Did I teach you to ask for help when you need it?
I can remember when I walked him to the bus stop on the first day of kindergarten. I watched his little legs climb those giant bus steps while my heart climbed into my throat. I wasn’t sure I was ready to send my baby out into the world, even if was just a cozy kindergarten world. The questions came that day for the first time; but I was comforted by the time I still had to teach him kindness, bravery and courage.
I can remember when I dropped him off at middle school orientation. I watched those same little legs, a little longer and a little stronger, walk through the big doors of a brand new world. Once again my heart was in my throat. This time I wasn’t sure I had done enough to prepare him to make it on his own. The questions came as I drove home and haunted me. I had no idea how to ensure he picked kindness, bravery and courage in this new world he entered.
One year later, I watched him fidget nervously in the back seat as we drove to the new school he was about to attend. The first day of 7th grade found my oldest at his 5th new school since kindergarten. The January before, we once again discovered he needed something more challenging in his education. Together we made to decision to move him to a new school with an accelerated program. This is not the time a kid wants to leave the comfort of his friends; but my oldest knew he needed something more. He was brave enough to try something new, even if this program didn’t work. He knew he was enough, loved enough and kind enough, to find friends among this sea of strangers. He was stronger than I realized, braver than I could have hoped for, and confident enough to survive a middle school change. Maybe I have done my job.
The truth becomes clear as I write. Each stage, each step away from me, each display of grit becomes less about him being enough to make it in this world and more about me letting go. I am stuck because I don’t want to get to the end of the story. And somehow I think, if I don’t write the story we won’t come to the end, to the moment he leaves my house for his own adventure.
He is enough. So the only question left, the question that leaves me stuck in the muck and unable to face myself, is am I strong enough to let go?
And really, it was the only question all along.