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Stefanie and Daughter

We Survived Middle School! Lessons in resilience and the importance and beauty of being yourself.

I know you know this, but parenting is no joke. As your kid grows, so do the parenting challenges and child conundrums, and I’m starting to understand what that means.

As a mom, I’m breathing a giant sigh of relief this week as my daughter closes the books on middle school. Adolescence is a tricky time. My own middle school years were filled with mean girls, gossip drama, and the deep-rooted desire to fit in. Watching my daughter navigate this stage has brought back so many memories and feelings.

Over the past few years, my heart has been especially burdened as my girl has been "surviving" middle school. She's faced bullying, teasing, and a general lack of acceptance for being herself. Not everyone appreciates her uniqueness, and she's ended up being a bit of a loner. Kids will be kids, so I do my best to support her with frequent conversations, a supportive home environment, and lots of love from our extended family. When I ask her how it was to be on her own during group events, she just shrugs and says, "They just don't like my personality."

Sunset on beach

I’ve had to advocate for my kid every step of the way. In sports, music, dance, theater, and academics, I’ve had to fight for her to be given opportunities to learn, grow, and develop. She’s a “late bloomer” and leans into some of her extracurricular activities on a different timeline than her peers. She's often overlooked because she’s not the first to jump out and grab your attention. But when given a challenge, my daughter will rise to it.

Give her a difficult piece of music that is a stretch for her ability, and you better believe she will practice until she can play it flawlessly with the rest of the “more advanced” group. Give her the chance to play on a team where she’s expected to complete plays, and she will spend every waking moment practicing her ball skills to succeed in her position. Give her the chance to perform on stage, and she will sing that song in her sleep and nail it when the time comes to perform.

Mother daughter kiss

I have learned so much from parenting my girl. She has taught me the importance and beauty of being yourself. She marches to the beat of her own drummer, and the world is a better place with her in it. Those who know her are lucky to know her, and she is destined for great things. She enriches those around her with her thoughtful gestures and kind words. She has a quiet strength that people often underestimate, but she’s truly a gem, and I’m proud to be her mom.

Onwards and upwards to summer camp and high school! Here’s to brighter days ahead.

Dance recital
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1 comment

  • Robin L Murray

    Lovely Stefanie! I agree with everything you have said and I have seen your beautiful daughter around with you. Why can’t people be kind.
    Thank you for posting and three cheers for all three of you.
    Happy Summer🩷❤️🧡💛💚🩵💙💜

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