Sunday, August 25, 2013

Bring on 7th Grade!

Well tomorrow starts another school year.  Although I am not looking forward to endless homework, I am looking forward to getting my schedule back.  My family works better on a schedule.  People often tease us because we are so routine.  But I am excited about new teachers, new adventures and all the other great things that come with the school year.  I've got the backpacks loaded, food for lunches bought and all the new clothes washed and dried.  I think I am prepared, except for one thing.  Even though I have one entering 3rd grade, I am not prepared for my oldest to enter Middle School.

I know so many of my friends are going through different emotions right now.  I have some with kids starting Kindergarten and some who are starting High school.  I know others who have sent their babies off to college.  So, I don't know why the approaching of this middle school year is hitting me so hard.  I have so many mixed emotions about seeing my first born starting to enter a new phase of life.  I am a pretty tough mom.  I don't freak out when they get hurt.  I talk pretty firmly to my boys.  I am not real gentle like other moms.  I have to be tough or they will run me all over.  With that being said, these emotions are coming at an unusual time.

Maybe it is because I am beginning to see my little boy starting to change into a young man.  I remember the first day Bryan and I brought him home.  We sat him down in his carrier on the coffee table.  We both made eye contact and asked "What do we do now?"  Nothing had prepared us for the moment when our precious, quiet newborn, turned into a screaming nightmare at 9 p.m.   I remember us both crying our eyes out because we were so exhausted and frustrated.  To be honest, Christian was a difficult baby.  He had colic and cried all the time for the first few months of his life.  I would beg Bryan to not go to work and leave me all day alone.  I would hear other moms talk about how wonderful having a baby was and how they never wanted to put their babies down.  I thought I was all alone in my feelings.  But once he was on a routine and eating cereal and lactose free formula, and after loads of prayer, he settled down.  Once he became a toddler, he became a daddy's boy and hasn't changed since.

Christian was a pretty easy toddler and young child.  He was my blanket baby, thumb sucker and nightlight kid.  People told me he would never give up the thumb but he said when he was 4 he would.  That promise was kept.  He was also my sleepwalker who had night terrors.   After many powerful prayers from myself and other prayer partners, he stopped having them.  He has also given me the opportunity to go to the ER on more than one occasion.  That child has had a couple of sets of stitches and always on his face.  There have been other instances when he may have needed stitches and we just didn't go and settled for super glue.  He and I have very similar personality traits so we tend to knock heads.  We have had stand offs and I was determined to win.  Those were the times when I pulled out the "because I said so" line.  I always disliked that line but sometimes it just fits.
He was always the kid at daycare who did not follow the crowd.  I remember asking his teacher if he had friends and she said yes.  He just preferred playing with one or two at a time.  He is still like that.  He was content playing by himself and lining up all of his hot wheel cars or Noah's ark animals.
When he hit the age old enough to play sports, Bryan always had him outside throwing a ball to him.  He knew how to squash a bug, and which way the laces where suppose to be on a ball at a very young age.  When he started school, I was excited!  I thought school would be great for him.  He has always been a great student and done well in school. 

So I ask again, why do I have some anxiety?  Maybe because I hear my son's voice changing.  To be honest, I thought he was having allergy issues for several months.  Maybe it is because he is shaving now.  Maybe it is because daddy is no longer coach and I am no longer team mom.  He is now entrusted to his school coaches and teachers.  Maybe it is because he works out with me and is starting to care about bettering himself physically.  Maybe it is because I am seeing the little things we have taught him starting to stick.  Like the other day when we went to work out I had my keys and phone laying by my mat.  Christian saw a man coming our way and he put my keys under my mat and never took his eyes off the man.  It was one of those moments when I thought maybe he is listening to the things we have taught him.  And maybe it is because I remember what middle school was like. 

Middle School was a super fun time for me.  It was the time when I turned from a shy kid into a social one.  I wasn't scared anymore to talk in front of a crowd.  I also remember it being a time when guys popped our bra straps, although I was told they don't do that anymore.  I also was introduced to certain words for the first time and realized that boys always find it humorous to make loud gas noises.  It was also a time of boys and girls starting to notice each other and zits appearing in the most prominent places just in time for picture day.  It is a time when you know you are old enough to be left alone, but in reality, you still need your parents for more than you want to admit.
Yes he will survive!  And I know all of you dads are probably rolling your eyes at me but you had a mom too.  Maybe I don't vocalize it, but in my prayer time, I am crying out to God for my 7th grader.  I am praying for his future.  I am praying for protection and safety.  I am praying for wisdom of when to hold on and when to let go.  I am praying for finances, because let's face it, these boys are expensive too.  I am praying that he is tough on the football field but he is compassionate enough to help his friends out when needed.  I am praying he approaches school and sports with confidence but stays humble through success.  I am praying he waits as long as possible to have a girlfriend but is still a gentlemen to his girl classmates.  To be honest, I am just praying!  It is the only thing I know how to do.  I am so excited to see Christian's life unfold.  I have held him when he was a screaming infant and I have spanked him when he was a defiant toddler.  I am now satisfied with the side-hug that Christian so graciously offers me.  So I thank God that He made me the mother of a brown-eyed boy who is no longer at my eye level.  Christian has taught me so much about being a parent.  I know that no matter what job I have outside the home, that being a mom to that boy is the most honored position I could ever have.

So I send him off tomorrow to a new school where he will start a new path.  I know God goes before him.  I know that He knows the very number of hairs on his head.  I don't even know that and I gave birth to that boy.  I know that God has a plan for his life.  I feel super blessed to know that I will be a part of Christian Bryce Rhodes' future.  So bring on 7th grade!  I can say with boldness "God's got this!"

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Football-A Team Sport

Recently I was asked why I had a blog.  And if I actually thought people were interested in my life.  Well I don't really know if people are all that interested but I really write to get my thoughts out on paper.  It helps me reminisce at times and other times it helps me to heal.  If someone can relate to my experiences then it makes it all worth it.  I do want to say thank you again to those of you who choose to read my thoughts and who keep coming back to read some more.

Most of you have endured my posts about basketball over the last several months.  If you're not a fan of the basketball court then you will be happy to know that I am moving on to football.  I love football and always have!  I use to film football practices and games in high school and it was such a fun experience.  I was engrossed in the Friday night light scene.  I never was a cheerleader even though I always wanted to be.  Believe me I can't even get a couple of inches off of the ground and couldn't have even competed with those girls if I tried.  I loved the sound of the band marching down the hallway on game days.  Till this day I will watch football even if I am all by myself with none of my boys around.  I love the drive and passion of football fans and players.

Both my boys play and I have enjoyed every second watching them.  My oldest will enter Middle School this year and it will be his first time to tryout for a school sport.  I have a lot of anxiety about this.  I want him to excel and to do his best.  I hope that all the fundamentals that his daddy has taught him since he was little will pay off.  I pray he stays protected on that field and has a season free of injuries.  I have tried to talk to him about following his dreams and having a passion for what he does whether it is football or something else.  We have talked about mental toughness and being a leader.  We watched a documentary called "Undefeated" the other night and I loved a line in that movie.  The coach said "Football doesn't build character, football reveals character."  This is so true!  You have to have good character and the things you do and the experiences of life will reveal that character.  Just like you can have faith and love the Lord when everything is going good but when you are in the valley and at your lowest, do you still praise His name?  Do you still have faith?  I pray that my son will always have good character.  I want him to be tough physically and emotionally.  I want him to be passionate about everything he does and to let that passion lead him into the things God has willed for his life.  His character is more important to me than an actual win or loss.

Now it is Bo's first time to play tackle football.  He is built totally different than my oldest and has a different work ethic so not sure how this will all end up.  He doesn't have the fundamentals down as well as my oldest did at his age.  Part of this is the result of being the second child and us not spending as much one on one time with him as we did Christian.  He is happy being out on the field with his friends.  I watched him for the first time during his scrimmage.  My frustration came out because he is so passive and when you are on the line, you can't be.  But anytime a team member was down he was patting them on the back and offering a word of encouragement.  He has such a sweet demeanor so it is a little tough trying to teach him to be "mean" in the football sense.  One thing is for sure, he smiles every time he comes off the field.  So needless to say, he is a work in progress.  Neither one of my boys has ever been overly aggressive so years ago I would have told you they would have never lasted in such vigorous sport.  But they both have surprised me over the years and I look forward to many more seasons of watching them play.

Now why do I love this sport so much?  I can't help but relate it to life.  I really do love any team sport because it is all about unity.  When you are on offense your goal is to get that ball into the end zone to score a touchdown.  You have a line that is there to protect the quarterback and ensure that their man with the ball gets down the field.  They have to give all of themselves physically and mentally to make sure the opposing side doesn't get their man down.  Are you following me?  In life you have to have an offensive line.  You need people in your life that will always be there to protect you no matter what giants stand in your way.  They are the people who say "you can't get to her unless you get through me first."  In the same respect, a QB is a leader.  They have to be tough.  They have to be able to read the field.  They have to have confidence in their line and also know that they don't get the ball off without the protection of that line.  Don't take those who are close to you for granted.  They are the ones willing to stand up for you.  You have to be a good example. It is imperative that you build them up. Quarterbacks also have to have confidence in their receivers and running backs.  They have to know that whatever I throw at you, you are going to catch it and we are going to make it down to the end zone.  And when they do, the whole team scores.  Sometimes you throw your thoughts, your passions, your dreams to people who you know will hold them close and help you to accomplish those things.  Because when they rejoice in your successes they know it benefits them as well.  Hold on closely to those who cheer with you during your successes and achievements.  

It is extremely important in life to not become over confident.  You can't use people. You can't do for people always expecting something in return.  You are where you are because someone along the way, aside from God, has helped you.  Parents raised you, friends helped you move, someone made a call on your behalf to put in a good word for a job.  Strangers bought you dinner.  I believe so much in divine appointments.  I believe God places people in your life.  We are a part of the same team, God's team.  It hurts my heart when some people say "well I don't need anyone."  I believe we all need someone.  We all need a line of people who are willing to block for us, willing to pray for us, willing to lay down their life for us.  We need the QB's in life who tell us where to stand, tell us to get our head in the game when we keep messing up, and who tell us they believe in us enough for them to share their life plan with us.  God knows are strengths and our weaknesses and I believe he gives us an army (a team) to help us along the way.  We have to stay unified.  A team divided against itself cannot stand.  You can't have self-seekers or self-righteous people on a team.  Each member is vital to move forward and succeed.  So be mindful of each other loving in the way God loves us.

I apologize to those of you reading this who don't love sports but I have learned so much about life through sports.  And God is in every part of my life so He speaks to me through those experiences.  I love the thrill of a game and the drive and determination that comes with it.  I want my boys to have drive.  I want them to be determined.  I want them to be passionate about their dreams and know that with faith all things are possible. I want them to press on and never give up.  I want them to dream dreams that only God can help them accomplish.  I want them to stand up for good and fight for their team.  I want them to have people in their life who pray for them and lift them up.  I want God to place people in their life who will hold on with them, run along side them so they make it to the end zone.  And when they make it there, I want to see all of them celebrating and rejoicing together.  That is what football is all about.  That is what life is all about.

Thanks again for reading this!  I am glad you are all a part of my life team even if we don't cheer for the same "football" team.
Go Eagles!  Go Texans!