Milestones: I Am Now the Mother of a High Schooler


high school students at their lockers

Milestones are something that are on your mind from the moment your child is born (if not before). First smile, first tooth, first sleeping through the night, first walk, first words . . . but as kids get older, it seems like their milestones get farther apart. Then you get slapped in the face with HIGH SCHOOL!

My daughter will be starting 9th grade, and this is one time where I can say I am more of a mess than she is. Her school is like a small college campus with over 3,000 students! That is bigger than my high school and bigger than my college.

I know she needs this – this opportunity to grow, meet new people, and try new things.  But what if she doesn’t grow? Doesn’t meet new people? Doesn’t try new things? I must continually remind myself that my high school experience will not be hers, and it shouldn’t be.  My school had 800 students, we had one building, and we did not have social media. She will have opportunities that I didn’t; American Sign Language as her language elective, she can eat lunch outside, and if she wants, she can get lost in the crowd and not have everyone know her business. School hasn’t even started, and she didn’t want me to waste my money on class or school t-shirts, and she didn’t want me to get her the student pass to athletic events, school dances, and other activities. It’s just not her thing.

But now comes the real test—I know that what she does, or doesn’t do, can affect her college career. Is she involved in afterschool activities? How are her grades? What is she contributing to her community—Let alone her digital footprint on social media. Again, I must remind myself that my journey is not hers. She may go a different route, and I will have to come to terms with that.  

I am going to have to constantly remind myself to be a spectator. But, boy, I cannot wait to see what she will do! She is an amazing and talented kid, and she will find her groove and her tribe.  


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Tracy is the Director of Programming and Partnerships for Darkness to Light, a child sexual abuse prevention organization. She grew up in northeast Ohio, and has lived in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Arizona, and Northern Virginia and has worked in the arts, in education, in non-profits and in ed tech. Her husband's job brought them to the Bay Area and there's no looking back! Tracy is mom to two trans teens who are just beginning their journey. Self-care includes pedicures, reading, cooking, crafting, and just being with her family. She also serves as Chair of the Board for the Attachment and Trauma Network, a national non-profit.


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