What would you tell your 5th-grade self?
I saw this prompt today. This really is a gut-wrencher for me, I remember once upon a time saying I would rather do ANYTHING in the world rather than repeat 5th grade. What was so bad? To me it was torture, to me, it was the year that the social challenges that so many young girls face were ramped up and in my face, to me, it was WAY worse than any statement you hear about “middle school girls”. To me, middle school was a blast. In 5th grade I had a lovely teacher, she may have also gotten pregnant that year, although I don’t remember being as mesmerized as I was in 2nd grade (see previous blog). Actually, when I think about it, our class at that little Christian school was the class that always had a teacher with a significant life change. 2nd grade, pregnant, 3rd grade engaged, 4th grade – nothing, 5th grade pregnant, 6th grade – the space shuttle exploded. Geez – sorry, I digress.
5th grade is also when my parents got a divorce if I’m really being raw, my dad went to rehab (again) but this time it was a residential facility. We as a family were required to participate in all kinds of classes and sessions, and then there was family day, ugh. Thank goodness for the other kids. Now that I think about it, it must have been rough to be my friend at school and not know what to say. Not know what to say coupled with a time in life that social hierarchy is significant. That no one at a little Christian school is dealing with divorce much less alcoholism.
But in all fairness, we also had a lot of fun. We were silly, we were still little, we wore florescent pink, we had sleepovers, we began to have crushes on boys, we fell in love with Madonna, Wham, Chicago, and Prince was still Prince and the Revolution. We didn’t have bills, we barely had homework, The Cosby Show was wholesome, the Golden Girls were in their prime, and we were in love with Kirk Cameron on Growing Pains.
I can be gentle with 5th grade me, I can use guided meditation, friends who are like therapists, oils with names like FORGIVENESS, PRESENT TIME, INNER CHILD, and use time to heal my 5th-grade self. I can be generous and gentle when my own boys express “that” year in elementary school because I know they’ve each had one, we probably all have… it doesn’t matter how your life looks from the outside, it’s your experience of and perception of the circumstances. It really just brings me back again to BE KIND.
So what would I tell my 5th-grade self … I’d tell her you are going to be fine, you are going to be better than fine. You are going to continue to be lifelong friends with those girls, you form bonds with them that get you through other hard times in life, they will become family. You will continue to be a champion for the underdog. You will lead with your heart – it is not broken. You should cherish the time you have with your dad because you won’t have him long. You will meet an amazing man and raise two amazing boys together. You will be a child of divorce but that will NEVER define you. I would tell her to continue to be you, shine through, you got this!