Friday, December 2, 2011

Smokin in the Boy's Room

The Middle School years I'm convinced were conceived by a dark and evil being for the sole purpose of a slow and painful torture. This is accomplished by erasing whatever feelings of competence or even mastery a parent may have acquired in previous years of parenting. Having raised two daughters, by and large successfully, I thought my second go round would be easier. Why I would think feeling marginalized and decidedly uncool would be easier to swallow, I do not know. All I know is that overnight I went from being a perfectly acceptable parent to an idoit parent while their peers just as suddenly became all knowing and wise. Spend 5 minutes in the company of 6th graders. I dare you to find much wisdom. This communication dead zone also comes at the very instant when their bodies are maturing at a much faster rate than their brains. Not a good combination if you ask me.

Not one to be discouraged for long, I harkened back to my own Jr. High years. Now you know just how far back we're talking. I recall taking my own stroll down stupid lane and found myself in a compromising situation to say the least. the year was 1973, the year of the great songs like Smokin in the Boy's room, Knock Three times, and American Pie (what in the world was that song about?). My normally sensible 13 yr.old self had my head turned by Wesley, a blue jean jacket/white t-shirt wearing bad boy. I'm fairly certain that he also smoked cigarettes.

It all began on a class geology field trip to Austin, Tx. While I learned not one thing about fossils, I learned plenty about Wesley on the way home on the bus all the way home. This consisted of no more than hand holding and I can only imagine our conversation, but it began my secret life which would eventually find me trying to sneak unsuccessfully into my house through my bedroom window! I was caught and punished and funny I don't remember anything else about Wesley after that.

Thankfully God had bigger plans for my life and I din't follow Wesley into a life of smoking and crime although I do enjoy wearing jean jackets. God remained faithful despite my stupidity. In fact, His mercies are new every morning. This cheers me because I know He will equip me with every good thing to do His will, the Middle School years not excluded. In short, having a Middle Schooler will bring you to your knees which is precisely the point and where I need to be.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

He Ain't Heavy

For the first time in many years, we traveled to Texas for Thanksgiving. I typically visit Texas during the summer in the sweltering heat and on my last visit decided to wait until the weather was kinder. Turns out this was an excellent year to wait as Texas experienced a ridiculous number of consecutive days of over 100 degrees. No thank you!

Visiting family is always a dicey proposition. It can be very good or it can be very bad. Family is the group of people who know you the very best and if you are fortunate love you in spite of this fact. I am truly blessed because I count myself as one that is loved. How they show their love is altogether another story, but I have chosen to believe that they love me and I them.

I particularly enjoyed spending time with my two brothers, especially the three of us together. There is something about sharing a childhood with someone that bonds you forever, similar to veterans who survive a war and live to tell about it without the death part. Not that our childhood was a war zone, but let's just say we had some interesting times. In childhood, you pretty much have to roll with whatever comes your way. That's why it's nice to have some traveling companions with you on the rollercoaster ride. Even though they sometimes throw up all over you, like the summer when Mark got me fired from my job and that was after I had gotten him his job there! It was the one and only time I was fired but the scars remain. Or like the time he took the car from where I parked it when I was at the movies and went on a joy ride when he didn't have his driver's license yet. Siblings witness and perhaps even contribute to the forming of our personalities or at least they uncover them, depending on whether you are in the nature or nurture camp.

I adore both of my brothers who are as different as they come. On my visit home, I spent time sipping wine, snacking on Brie and crackers, playing cards with John, soft music playing in the background. At Mark's house I found myself hanging out outside by the grill surrounded by dead animal head trophies and his monster truck,laughing hysterically as he recounted events of our childhood. I couldn't be prouder of the men they have grown up to be or love them any more. So glad to have them in my life. I wouldn't even trade them for a sister.