Friday, February 10, 2017

Middle School: Girls, Glenn Miller, Socks and Idiots {or just one Idiot}

I am determined to write a few words this morning.  I lose my practical head when I get to teach at Bible Study so I got to do that Wednesday morning and last night and presently, the laundry machine is spinning, the dishwasher is humming and I've got TWO pots simmering on the burner.  AND for a few more hours, I have NOWHERE to go.  A home day.  I love it.

Watermark Middle School Small Group-- and their leaders.  Grateful for each one.
Jeff and I are chaperoning the last middle school dance tonight.  I've been wanting to serve in some way at the other two—just to get a pulse on what these things are like— but we've been out of town or something.  So tonight, Jeff is a "Special OPS Dad" in the hall and I am checking tickets at the door.  Last night Brighton came in our bathroom— and uncharacteristically for him— he beat around the bush trying to ask this question.  "Are you going to embarrass me?"  Oh, I had fun with that one.  But seriously, does he really want me to act like I don't know him?!  I told him he might regret that if I wind up being the coolest mom there handing out Altoids to all the kids who forgot to brush their teeth after their quick dinner before the dance!  I also wanted to ask him, "Are YOU going to embarrass ME?"  Fair, right?  But somehow that question sounds so much worse turned around on him.  If I am parenting him the way God leads me to, his choices have nothing to do with me and therefore, his actions should NOT embarrass me.  Oh the thought struggles of parenting.  It's a fight to keep those TRUTH thoughts front and center moment to moment.

His binder..... oh. my. word.
Oh, B and how I love him.  Jeff was out of town a couple of weeks ago and so I was doing the afternoon/evening Ubering solo— and y'all, side note, it's a THING.  I am not sure how parents make this happen day to day all over the world and we aren't all in a car pile up somewhere.  My kids have one yearly activity {ballet for J and the sport in season for B} and one 30 minute piano class. When we were homeschooling it was easy to consider that just another one of their classes.  Being in school 5 days a week has made all of the running around a little trickier but we are still at it.  One of the positives of this that I am savoring right now is CAR TIME.  It's when most of our talking happens and lots comes out driving around- sometimes I think more than when I try to plan it over a favorite snack or meal.  When Julia begins driving herself to and from school and ballet, I think I will truly begin to miss her.  So I am not complaining about car time—it's GOLDEN—  I am just shocked by the extent of it!  Coming back from the side note— it was just Brighton and me in the car and he said, "Hey Mom, when we get home, can we just sit in the den for a while and talk?"  Umm, yes.  I LOVE easy questions-especially the ones I can say yes to!  He asked me if I wanted a fire and if I wanted to go ahead and fix my coffee. Then he asked Alexa, "Alexa, play 1950's Jazz Music."  And we sat down by the fire and talked to the sounds of Duke Ellington and Glenn Miller.  I let him go with it wherever he wanted- took my hands off the wheel.  Much of it was funny but some of it was very serious— and some so heavy I was wishing Jeff were there to spread out the load.  Most of the heaviness comes from his story— and when I say "heavy" — it's all good but it's heavy to him and therefore, me because he's still making peace and sense out of all of it.  I am so proud of him for communicating with me his heart and pushing through to the hard questions and even trying to be sensitive to me in the process.  I love my 13 year old boy who hasn't stopped talking since he was 2.  I pray this never stops.  Breaks are nice, but you know what I mean.
I feel for the young man on the right....  Middle School is hard.
So the funny thing I wanted to tell you is that he said he was learning some things about girls— and you never know where this is going but this was light, thank goodness.  I needed some light.  He said some guys told him that with girls, you need to LISTEN to them.  Novel, yes?  And which "guys"?  And why did they latch on to this?  "REALLY listen", he said.  He said there were two problems with this.  I couldn't imagine.  First, he said, "Mom", he held his hands out like he was reading a paper, "it's like they are reading a 20 page essay.  They go on and on and on."

2nd problem? And this will prove to be his biggest.  I'm his Mom.  I know.

 "I like to talk, too."

Brighton has his own essay going on.  So yes, this will be interesting to watch as he moves through these years.

I’m chalking this little trend up to the strangeness of Middle School.  Please.  PLEASE.  
I didn't plan on this being all about B but last thing, for now… last year in 6th grade, he did a report in his Science class on fungus and he chose — with my subtle directing fueled by hygienic motivation— athlete's foot.  I think the boy had nightmares from the pictures.  Thursday morning, second day of track he doesn't get up— after being awakened by us 45 minutes before at his request —because he has managed to break two alarm clocks in a one year period.  So basically he rolls out of bed and into the car.  To add to my regrets of motherhood, nothing was sweet or life-giving about yesterday morning.  I was just stupid with my words.  ANYWAY.  Half way there, he realized he didn't have his socks.  If you have a kid in a school with a uniform, you know that socks are really a big deal— socks AND their shoes.  "PLEASE bring me socks, Mom!!  PLEASE!! I CAN'T GO WITHOUT SOCKS FOR THE REST OF THE DAY!!!"  This kills me.  I hate when they ask me to do something and I have to stand my ground and say no.  {He should have gotten out of the bed when I told him to.  Right?  45 minutes would have been PLENTY of time to think of socks.}  True to character, he made one last ditch effort as I drove away— completely ignoring my apology for the idiot I had been in the 5 minutes I saw him before we picked up the neighbor.  Of course, I struggled all day NOT taking his socks— completely wasted energy on my part.  However, it may have been worth it to hear him obsess over how badly he needed to get to "that foot spray" Jeff had gotten for him.  He could hardly think of anything else.  He had borrowed socks from the "snooze you lose" bucket in the locker room…..oh my word.  Can we just NOT think about that for a minute?  He DID say he turned them inside out before he put them on but he couldn't get to "that foot spray" fast enough when we got home. This morning, he left with socks.

He’s certainly my favorite 13 year old boy and I marvel at his changing self.  
I know Middle School is tough.  For 7th grade, the “Eyebrow Incident" will forever be seared in his memory but I also know that it's prime time in our kids' lives.  Big things are happening within themselves and it makes my brain hurt worse than a carpool schedule thinking about it.  When that happens, may it drive me to PRAY— to pray for what's going on in their hearts and minds and to ask consistently for Jesus to mold and shape them--AND ME.  I can't speak any better regarding these prayers than my friend TJ did in her post this week.  This mindset and these prayers are critical if we want to make it through these parenting years— without the idiot label AND with a great relationship with our kids— who are growing up faster than we could have ever imagined.

Thank you, Jesus, for loving them even more than we do.