All That Fits

A Weekly Column 

by Mary Wilson

Mary Wilson, editor of the Jackson County Advocate newspaper, grew up in the Grandview community. She currently serves as President of Grandview Main Street and works as a development coordinator for the Grandview Education Foundation. You can reach her at

August 17, 2017

I’m not an educator, and never really had the desire to be one. But, sitting through Grandview’s district orientation last Monday sure made me realize that public schools are in my blood. There is something so motivating and encouraging about the start of a new school year. When you’re in school, it’s like a fresh slate, a new beginning, an opportunity to reinvent yourself.

I loved that when I was in school. Along with new pencils and crisp notebooks, the new year provided a chance to make new friends and discover passions I may not have even known I had or things I didn’t even know I was good at.

This year, my (not-so-little) boy begins middle school. Honestly, for me, middle school was my absolute least favorite time in school. Through hormones, social anxieties, more rigorous school work, braces, temptations and just general middle school awkwardness, I’m still surprised I made it out alive. As an adult, I’ve come to realize that it wasn’t just me: every kid struggles through those early teen years.

So, with the experiences I’ve had in the back of my mind, I’m naturally worried as my son enters the unknown. I’ve done my best to prepare him. I’ve answered all of his questions as honestly and openly as I can. He’s got cool shoes and new clothes to sport. We got his hair cut and all of the supplies are ready to go. I’ve done everything I can, but once he steps on that school bus, it’s out of my control.

Kids can be so cruel to one another. In the age of social media and information at their fingertips, our teenagers are living in a world that sure didn’t exist when I was their age. Every day I read stories of cyber bullying and other horrible things that can ultimately lead to every parent’s worst nightmare. The world can be a scary, scary place, and our kids are experiencing that at a much earlier age than I think we were prepared for.

So, as Michael walks through the front doors of his new middle school, I can only hope and pray that the things I have taught him, the morals I have demonstrated, have impacted the head he has on his shoulders. I’m hopeful that he holds that head high and that he stands up for what is right. I’m optimistic that with his compassionate personality he will make lots of friends, but I’m also aware of the reality that not everyone will like him, despite how amazing I think he is.

Middle school is tough. As a mom, I’m struggling with the realization that Michael will be experiencing new things, some of them unpleasant. This is the part where I take a backseat and let him deal with the punches and setbacks that will inevitably come his way. And when he’s ready for advice from his old mom, I’ll be there every single time with my hand on his shoulder guiding him in the right direction.  Through every bump in the road and every wrong turn, I’ll be there. 

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