Saturday, October 08, 2011

Don't Borrow Trouble

Last night and this morning were a bit difficult for me.

I laid in bed, thanks to the prodding of a dear friend....(Yes, Travis I am talking about you - yes, you are being "busted" in this post), worrying about my son and if the "end is truly near" of the days of him wanting to spend time with us vs. taking off into his big world of social encounters in the land of middle school.

I'm not sure if some of you new readers know this about me, but I used to teach middle school. In fact, it was having Brayden that ended my teaching far as having my own class is concerned. I appreciated being able to relate to kids of that age and being a beacon of stability in a world of chaos that is the changes, hormonal imbalances, and awkwardness of junior high. But, it also scared the snot out of me, in terms of having my own kids. If I'd had my own way, I probably would have opted out of having a girl based on how much chick drama I witnessed and how scared I was of being a parent of a pre-teen during those hostile years. (Needless to say, I thank God I have Mikayla, and and the older she gets, the less I worry....working on that whole "not borrowing trouble" thing).

We've recently started recognizing some "shifts" in Brayden. Whereas last year he was content to wait until the last minute for me to drop him off at school, now he's ready 30 minutes earlier, so he can meet his buddy a half a block away to walk together and hang out at the school with his other friends before it starts. Girls are becoming part of the conversation (particularly on Facebook). Yesterday, at the school "social", one of the girls he knows from youth group asked a boy to dance who said "no". She then turned to Brayden to have him save her from embarrassment and dance with her and he agreed. As a result, at the high school game he attended last night, she was constantly hugging him and he was getting pressure to "ask her out".

WOAHHHHHHH! Put on the brakes!!!!

I don't think he has any intention of doing so, but it's news like this that just puts a mom in a tailspin - especially when dear Travis spends the rest of the evening last night agonizing that our boy has already grown up, this is the end, and then relaying stories of when "life turned" for him at this age as well.

So, I borrow trouble. I ask myself when's the next time I can immerse him with just Traig and Andrew, the friends who will always be there for him and will slow this social progress with their interest in video games and Minecraft. I wonder if there's a way we can drop him off at Harlow in June and lock the gates so that's the only contact he receives for an entire summer - ensuring that he's "being fed" and his social encounters are only with folks who also have a love for the Lord. I mentally put my foot down on the idea of him taking a trip across the country with the school - ever - even though my own parents bravely set us off in an airplane to Washington D.C. at the end of our 8th grade year.

When push comes to shove, I worry -

Will Brayden succumb to peer pressure and say or do something he later regrets?

Does he have wise discernment on who he's choosing to hang out with?

Does he fully, absolutely, completely know that God is in control and this world is just temporary - even though every fiber in his being screams at him to "live for the moment"?

Does he still want to hang out with us and how long will that last?

Will he eventually rebel against our boundaries and limits and will our "no's" tear a hole in a relationship that up until now has been almost void of any anger towards us or words that are mean-spirited?

I think you get the gist.

Times are a'changin' - this I know for sure. But potentially the worst thing I can do about that fact is to panic about it and start worrying about what could be. So far, nothing about our kids has ever turned into the fears I've created in my mind, so there's no reason to believe that will change now. From everything we see in Brayden, his heart is still as tender and full as we've always loved about him. So, as lovingly as I can say this - Travis, shut up. We're all going to get through this....with a whole lot of prayer.


stephietoo said...

I agree totally, Stephie. I kind of said the same thing to him on the way home last night. How much I want to freeze time and have him stay the way he is right now. The Brayden who is happy to walk through the mall with "Aunt" Stephie and hold my hand.

Don't worry, Stephie, Brayden will always be the conscientious, sensitive, loving, wonderful boy that you and John have raised him to be. We all love him so very much. You guys have done a wonderful, amazing job of raising him with God at the center of it all.

Love you Stephie, so very much!

sara said...

Well, if he is normal, as I suspect he is!, then yes, he will go through many of those things you varying degrees. However, you and your husband have instilled the importance of God and family into your kids and have modeled that to them so well. Though my 3 kids went through those years very differently from each other, some harder than others, some later than others, they all came through well on the other side!!

Praying for you as you start the process of "letting go".....this is so hard on moms!! The best advice I was given when my 1st was in middle school was to "back off". In taking my hands off a bit and giving her room to experience some independence, she learned to depend on God instead of me!

Your doing a great job, Steph!!


Just A Girl said...

Oh goodness! I can sympathize with your concern. My ex has two daughters and they were pre-teens while we were together and it was a nightmare dealing with all of the middle school drama.

I always reminded my ex that he raised them well and gave them good values, and you just have to hope for the best!

Hang in there. :o)

Family O'Foxes said...

I feel your pain. Last year one of the mid school youth leaders was over visiting and I'm not sure how the subject got brought up but he informed me that Andrew was interested in girls. I assured him that he was wrong!!! (last year Andrew was a 7th grader)

I later learned that Andrew did 'like' girls. WHAT?!
All of sudden the FB messages and chat thingie was going crazy from girls.
I do have to say that when Andrew realized that the girls that liked him would want to talk to him every day he stopped talking to them. He felt that was way too pushy and clingy for his taste. Thank goodness he realized that on his own.
And we were actually able to use a message that Pastor Matt spoke about at a Wildside last year on "boy/girl relationships." Andrew was able to let one of the girls know that he agreed with Pastor Matt that at this age they just needed to be friends and that is it. The girl was mad but I was glad because middle school too young to introduce all that dating trouble.

Wow, I rambled on. I just wanted to let you know 7th grade is when that change happened for our son. Hang in there.

Family O'Foxes said...

I should say it wasn't just Pastor Matt who spoke on boy/girl relationships. One of the girl leaders spoke about how she met her husband. And the whole process they went through (they both had only dated each other and waited to share their 'first' everything with each other).

I thought it was a powerful message to the middle schoolers. I told Pastor Matt later I wish I had of recorded it. If they do it again I will make sure I record it because it is worth hearing over and over again about waiting for the right person (even when you are the only one of your friends not out there dating).