At the end of this school year there were suddenly two high school students in my house. Anya finished middle school and in September will be a freshman in high school.
Middle school can be tough. Kids do a lot of growing up and changing and that can mean that friendships that were once important become, well, less so. As they mature and explore new interests and begin to lose passion for others, friends in 8th grade can suddenly find that they have little in common. And that doesn’t have to mean the end of a friendship but sometimes it is anyway. Trouble is, your average 14 year old does not approach this situation with calm reflection. (Really, do we at any age?) Friendship is emotion, and so is adolescence.
When I went to high school I held on to my middle school friends for a little while, but I was quickly preoccupied with new people and new interests. I never had a fight with my friends, never called them names or passed them “break-up” notes, but one day looked up and they weren’t there and it didn’t upset me. When I ran into them later it was always pleasant, and I even enjoy catching up with them now on Facebook. I grew in different ways than they did.
This phenomenon has happened a few times in my life. When I went to graduate school I lost touch with a few of my working friends. When I became a Mom I felt some of my single friends fall away. Even my relationship with my siblings has morphed over time, depending on where we each were in our pursuit of happiness.
So, my 8th grader, now 9th grader, is exploring new friendships, strengthening the bond with some, loosening the bond with others. And though there have been some painful moments and some mis-steps, I think its all good.
I was thinking of this change in her life as we held our annual school work burning last night. We mark the end of the year with hope for the next. This year’s fire burned off some hard feelings and sadness and hopefully cleared the way for a joyous high school experience.