Today is Ricochet’s first day of middle school. MIDDLE SCHOOL! It’s hard to believe on many levels. For one thing, I can’t be old enough for my baby to be in middle school. {eek!} Secondly, he really isn’t mature enough for the demands of middle school, thanks to his ADHD.

Middle school forces many new challenges on Ricochet’s less-than-adequate planning and organization skills. There’s no one to tell him where to go and when. No one to remind him what materials he needs from his locker at which times. No one to remind him what he must bring home at the end of each day. He should now be able to do these things for himself, according to the laws of nature and rules of middle school, but those measurements are lost on my dear boy. Time will tell how much of it he can truly be responsible for himself, without any intervention.

The one thing that is keeping me from worrying myself to death about my baby boy being bounced aimlessly around the cold, unjust halls of middle school is the school we chose for him. Ricochet is attending a brand new middle and high school charter school, based on expeditionary learning. Today is their very first day, too. While there’s plenty to fear about the unknowns of a brand new school, this particular school eases my anxiety some because it is physically very small (170 kids in all of 6th grade) — it will be pretty hard to get lost in the school building. Now, lost in his own mind is another issue altogether {sigh}.

Ricochet was full of worry this morning too. He was concerned he wouldn’t know where to go and when. He was concerned his math teacher would be a yeller and an entire-class-punisher again. He was afraid he would forget his locker combination. Most of all, he was afraid of repeats of all the bad school experiences he’s had so far — in that regard, there’s a lot to worry about.

I remind myself that my son is resilient to slow my anxious spiral. He has a determination that helps him push through the muck and a kindness that woos most teachers. He also knows his momma stands tall in his corner, fighting for his academic success, whatever that looks like for Ricochet. That one fact fuels a lot of his courage.

Time will reveal what success in middle school looks like for Ricochet. Until then, I will work to push aside my fear of the unknown, and rest on the unequivocal fact that my son is a gift, and he will succeed.