This is Teacher Appreciation Week. So here’s a shout out to all the extraordinary teachers who get up early, spend the day with our kids, and help to shape them into productive and thinking citizens.

In honor of the occasion, I spent part of the afternoon volunteering at my 10 year old’s school. My assignment? Serving Italian ice to the staff and administrators.

Handing out cups of frozen mango and cherry, I looked forward to leaving elementary school behind. Not because I disliked the school, but I was ready to claim my place in the middle and high school arenas, only.

Without warning, my fantasy ended. I recalled a friend saying, “I didn’t want to be one of those weird, old moms. So I had my kids before I got too old.”

SNAP!!

Is that how people see me?

It depends. When I walk into my oldest son’s high school, I don’t feel old. In fact, I feel fairly secure in my position as “age-appropriate” mom. You know – the ones your kid isn’t too embarrassed to be seen with. He may not be thrilled, but at least you don’t embarrass him.

On the other hand, if I volunteer at my  son’s middle school, I try to keep my head down. I am “barely -under-the-radar” mom. Some of the PTA moms have high school age kids, most don’t. However, since we’re in the midst of planning the upcoming 8th grade dance, I take comfort in knowing that EVERY one of us will have a high schooler NEXT year.

The elementary school is a completely different game. If you’ve paid attention, your local elementary school is probably brimming with cute 20-something teachers and college-aged interns who could pass for high school students. Even the parents are young. One minute, I’m helping with a class activity. The next minute, in strolls Ian’s mom. No seriously, she’s pushing a stroller…with a baby in it. “Big Boy” Ian is her oldest child and still plays with Lego’s. How sweet! My “baby” has two older brothers and is a master at Portal, a sci-fi puzzle game.

So, what am I looking forward to next…after turning 50?

…graduating from elementary school and taking my weird, old mom self to middle school.

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