When I think back on my elementary years, fourth grade is a time I remember vividly. It’s the furthest back I can go and reminisce on exact conversations, what I was feeling, or how I dressed without the help of pictures. This year, you will be entering the fourth grade and even though each year sounds “old,” this one is really hurting my heart to imagine.
You see, the fourth grade can be an extremely awkward time for kids. That was the year I had glasses and the world’s most terrible haircut at the same time. While other girls were developing, I kept growing taller and lankier by the minute. Awkward was my middle name and it was downright hard to go to school each day.
I want you to remember to be gentle this year, both with yourself and others. You are all in this phase together. Some will handle it and others will struggle. You will navigate your way through more difficult school work and a changing body, unsure of what will happen next. Although we have had conversations about hygiene and puberty, it is one of those things that you do not fully understand until you are knee deep in the experience. But it is OK, we have all been in your shoes before.
There are days when I feel you pulling away, something I have dreaded for years. I know you will start relying more on your friends when you have questions, and less on mom and dad. I hope that by having open conversations at the dinner table each and every night, you will still come to us when things get a little too confusing. We love you and only want what is best, even if you do not always believe that.
As with every school year, the work will be more challenging and you get to start all over with a new teacher and classmates. I know that you have expressed the embarrassment of asking questions in class. Know that the teachers want you to learn and understand, not fall behind and continue to be lost. I remind you all the time that being in school until you are thirty is not a fun time. Staying on pace now will create success down the road. Pay attention, participate, and do your work. Trust me, your education will be the most important factor for many years to come.
Sometimes you get mad for absolutely no reason or cry over the smallest things. I know that your dad may look at you like you have five heads, but I fully understand what is happening. Your little hormones are raging war on that tiny little body, causing you to react in new, strange ways. It’s not fun, and I get that you cannot exactly control it.
Find the things that still make you smile, so after you have a good cry, you can pick yourself up and move on. These fun hormones do not go away for a long time, and I can only imagine the adventures you and I have coming to us.
Even though fourth grade may sound old, I will keep reminding myself that you are still kids. While I may have high expectations, I must understand that you are not perfect and mistakes will happen. I miss when you were tiny and loved snuggles, bedtime stories, and all the hugs and kisses I could give. However, your personalities and expanding vocabulary keep me guessing and the conversations are always intriguing. Keep your chin up, study hard, and know that I’m always here with open arms if you need me.
Here’s to a fantastic fourth-grade year full of memories and adventures waiting to happen.
I love you more,
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