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Thursday, February 07, 2013

Pre-teen Years At a Glance

The first time is saw the angry face was when my child was only four days old. He was quietly sleeping in his hospital bassinet, when we had some visitors stop by to see my new precious bundle of joy.  So, I lifted him, laid him on his back, and rubbed his belly with my fingers.  And out came the face ...

You know the one!  That scrunched up - attitude throwing - mouth puckering - frowny face that says 'leave me alone'.  Awww.  Did I think it was adorable back then?  Absolutely!

Now here it is ... almost ten years later and I have the honor of raising such an amazing kid.  He's giving and smart, and still shows me that same frowny face - except this time he's got the pre-teen attitude to go with it. 

Ah yes ... the pre-teen years are among us in our household, and boy it is like a smack in the face. Who was once my happy go lucky child - is now smarting back and showing his independence in spades.  But, through it all - he's the same giving smart kid ... who's learning to become his own person and make his own decisions. 

I see his future in so many ways ... even in the small decisions he makes.  For example, this week he tried to take care of a neighbor kid, who'd had an accident outside.  He'd just met the kid - and he came blazing in the house for a band-aid with the urgent need to care for this new kid to the hood.  He cares so much for others, and know that will continue into his future.

Part of me rallies around that.  He's everybody's champion ... hurray! Another part of me cringes ... as he's going to help every stray, hurt, broken thing and how will that affect him?  I don't want his huge heart taken advantage of, as those with that type of giving nature often get their hearts broken very easily.  I know it's inevitable that we get hurt in life, and sometimes that's a good learning experience.  But no one wants to see their child suffer.

So as he grows, that means a lot of prayers for guidance and clarity on how to be not just a better parent but the 'right' parent for my child.  They're all so different and need to be treated accordingly.  Just because one thing works for one child - does NOT mean it works for every child.    Through this pre-teen era, I know my husband and I are going to get a lot of frowns,  as I'm sure we gave our parents a bunch of them. 

So here is my prayer for the next ten years:

"Lord, help me remember this photo above, whenever I see the attitude driven frown thrown my way.  You blessed me with my little angel.  You made this child, your child, to be who he is.  He's not perfect and needs my guidance.

Guide me to be the best parent that I can.  Give me wisdom as he grows up, as he'll not only learn things but will also mess up from time to time.  I pray when he does mess up - they're small messes with teaching moments that he can grow from.

I pray when he goes through a rough patch, that You give me the strength needed to be loving and smart - so that I can give him what he needs to heal ... whether that's space, tough love, or a shoulder.  Help me discern what's best for each scenario as they come into play.

And, as I start seeing the frown more often than a smile, give me what I need to make it through.  Above all, thank you for letting me be his mom - and for choosing me to raise such a wonderful child."

Each child is so different, but I'm a firm believer that they are 'who they are' from the womb on.  This funny little frown face was something he had from the very beginning, as was his enthusiasm for life, his loving tender nature, his strong (very strong) will, and his funny comedic personality.   God made him special and I'm so blessed to be a part of every stage in his life ... even the pre-teen years.   

Ugh.  Lord help me.

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