Monday, August 23, 2010
I am sitting up in my living room with the blinds open, watching the sun rise on the 1st day of Jessica's Middle School career. She is not yet awake and part of me is wanting to let her sleep in. Today and every day for the next three years. How did this happen? How is my first born, the child I have almost grown up with, starting Middle School?
Thinking about this has caused me to pray more lately and to talk more openly with Jessica about these next several years coming up. I'm not sure what about Middle School is so frightening to a parent. For me it's that I remember so well the butterflies for boys, drama with girls, hurt feelings, passing notes, being exposed to words and things I'd never heard of and not feeling like I could talk to my parents about them, feeling pressured to have my first kiss and being SCARED TO DEATH, etc...
I remember feeling that all was right with the world because I got cheerleader, but how do I parent a child who might want it so desperately and doesn't get it? How do I parent a child who likes a boy but he doesn't like her back? What advice do I give when she comes home crying because all of the girls decided to be mad at her at school that day for absolutely no good reason (this will happen)? How do I parent her to not be one of the "mean girls"? How do I continue to instill in her kindness...that she needs to be kind to all of the kids, whether the "popular" kids like them or not? How do I teach her that gossiping makes girls ugly, when I struggle with it myself? I am struggling through all of these things and it's not because it's the first time I've thought about them but I feel like my parenting is in some sort of spotlight now...and for the rest of her school years. This time is key. This time begins to shape who my daughter is as a young woman.
Ultimately, I have one fear...that Middle School will change her. Jessica is already kind, sensitive, responsible, humble, loving and obedient. My fear is that the world of Middle School will begin to teach her that those attributes aren't important. That it's more fun to be mean to people and make fun of people and hate your parents because they are stifling all of your fun. That your family that you thought was really cool isn't that cool anymore and you're embarrassed to be seen with them. Oh my gosh...even saying that freaks me out and breaks my heart.
My prayer for Jessica is that God continues to grow her faith in Him. That he protects her and also guides her. I pray that she feels comfortable talking to both Nate and me about ANYTHING and I pray that God gives us the strength to answer those questions with sensitivity and wisdom.
At the heart of it all...I'm scared to death she will go through everything I went through and I want so desperately to protect her from that. But I can't. So today, as I drive her to school, I let go of this suffocating fear and turn my oldest daughter over to God. I should have done that a long time ago but it's taken me going through these thoughts and fears to realize that all of this is out of my control.
I trust you with my child, Lord. Thank you for giving me this amazing opportunity to raise her and bring her up in ways that honor you.