High School Registration Realities

It’s called Black Hawk Days, fondly named after the school mascot.  It happens once a year at this time, when students from these parts wind down summer break, and focus their attention on the new school year. Black Hawk Days is a fancy way of saying, Students: It’s Time to Pick Up Your Class Schedule, and While You’re at It, Bring a Parent or Guardian, and their Wallet. I had the privilege of accompanying two little “hawks” to The Nest for school registration. (I’m not even kidding, they are referred to as “hawks,” and there is a figurative “nest” on campus.)  Actually I was only there for monetary reasons.  There were class fees, dance fees, parking pass fees, class shirt fees, activity card fees. You name it, I wrote a check for it.

I’m not mad about this. I get it. It takes a lot to run a high school, and for the most part, this high school is worth all of its fees. Maddie had a great sophomore year last year, and I know Izzy is going to have an exciting f-f-ff-ffreshman year. Ugh, I’m still finding it hard to let that word escape my mouth. How is it that I have a freshman and junior?

So back to picking up the class schedule. My Friends, this is a big deal. Registration opened at 1 o’clock, and by 1:02 p.m. Snap Chat was lit up on Izzy’s phone. Everyone (Izzy’s word) was posting a picture of their schedule for the sole purpose of seeing which friends were in what classes. Izzy and I, however, were enjoying a nice bowl of soup at Panera. (Because it was 108 degrees outside, and soup just seemed refreshing.)

I wasn’t planning to join the long lines at 1pm. Registration was open several hours, and being that I had just joined about 10 lines the day before when Maddie was registering, I was going to be a little strategic this go around. But the girl pleaded and begged. “Can we please go as soon as we finish lunch? I’m so anxious. I really hope I know people in my classes.”

“Okay. Hold on, Izzy. Why is this so important? The schedule is going to be the same whether we go at 2 or at 4.”

“You don’t understand, Mom. I’m nervous, and I’ll just feel better when I know what to expect.”

Won’t we all, Sister.

On the drive from lunch to the school, I could tell Izzy was nervous. She squirmed in her seat, and checked her phone every other second to see if another friend had posted the all important school schedule.

“So why is it so important to you to have friends in your classes? I mean, I guess I get it. Ideally it would be great, but chances are it won’t be that way. This is high school. It’s bigger and more crowded, but on the bright side, it’s not like you can talk to your friends in class anyway. You’ll be too busy learning.”

“Well, Mom, that’s not really true. Just because it’s high school doesn’t mean I’m going to quit talking to people in class. I’m Izzy. “

I shouldn’t even wonder why I spend so much money visiting my favorite hairdresser. There it was. The reason for so many grey hairs was sitting in the passenger’s seat next to me.

“So here’s the deal, Honey. I wouldn’t want you any other way. I love that you’re social. I love that you are fun loving and adventurous. I’m sure everyone around you does too. You make people feel good, and included. But, there is a time to be social, and a time to be quiet. “

She is so different than I was at her age. I followed rules. I studied. I thought, and planned, and worried about my future. I envied people like Izzy. The social butterflies. The adventurous types. The ones who never seemed to have a care in the world. But this time, I have a front row seat to see the reality. I see a girl with lots of dreams she keeps to herself. I see a girl who needs her space away from people sometimes. I see a girl who has a tender heart. I see a girl who gets hurts, and cries, and wonders about this sometimes dark world. I see someone who gets nervous about eating lunch alone on the first day of high school. And I see a girl, who, all she can think about, is being first in line at Black Hawk Days.

Every day of this parenting journey is about letting go. It’s about giving up control, little by little, as God pens my children’s story. I love it. I hate it. I don’t understand it half of the time.  But I realize they need to begin to forge their own path. They need to figure out how to navigate the journey that is before them. And whether I like it or not, that time is now.

In the end, Izzy was quite pleased with her schedule. You’ll be glad to know that she has at least one friend in every class. We came to an agreement too. I said, “How about we approach high school with the 80-20 rule? Do you know what that means? It’s 80% focusing on academics and grades, and 20% on all the other stuff in high school.”

“I understand, Mom. But I’m thinking 70-30? Or 60-40?”

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