The oldest child in our house is turning 8. This shouldn’t seem like that big of a deal.
It’s still single digits. Our state and federal governments confer no additional privileges upon 8-year-olds. She won’t change schools. It should just be another number signifying that she’s still a decade away from moving out (i.e., not soon). Right?
Not to me.
In 1983 – the year I turned 8 – was huge. In a way, it was the beginning of my childhood.
That fall, we moved to Hendersonville, Tenn., after six previous moves. Up until that time, I’d made friends and lost friends. I’d started schools and left them. I’d learned addresses and phone numbers and forgotten them. But when I was in the third grade, we moved from Birmingham to just outside of Nashville, and we stayed there until I left for college. The children I met when I was 8 – while riding the school bus, playing backyard football games, competing on the soccer field, or attending Indian Lake Elementary School – became the friends I had in junior high, high school, college, and into adulthood today. This is despite going out of state for undergrad and moving again for graduate school and the start of my career.
My little girl will be turning 8 tomorrow. She’ll start third grade in a few weeks. And it’s a big deal.
Editor’s Note: A version of this post first appeared on Dadcation.