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!"


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