Sunday, January 15, 2012

queen brat

Funny, my eight  year old Elizabeth (in the middle of the picture) is naturally funny. It could be that she lives with teenagers and has a sense of humor that is a bit sarcastic, but it could also be she has a gift for timing.

The other day she was following me around like a lost puppy. She was being annoying and complaining about what I cant remember. I'm not even sure what I was doing, getting dinner probably. Finally as she followed me to the table underfoot and whining in my ear I told her.... 'You know Elizabeth, you're being a brat. A royal brat, you are being the princess of all brats.' to which she promptly replied, 'Well then that would make you, the Queen!'.....then proceeded to giggle her head off.

Thinking it was funny, and it was, I put it on facebook. I have never had such response to a post, which at first made me think, she 'really is funny'. But then I realized it was at my expense. My brother who doesn't respond to emails, never comments on my really, never ever responds. He comments, my parents comment, old friends comment. It bugged me, really bugged me. Facebook is really a place for bragging and posting great pictures of family events, not cyberbullying. I have a  page to check up on my big kids and  to share, not really to  hear what people say. It keeps me in touch with far away friends and relatives. But I guess the people who Im keeping in touch with dont really think Im as great as I do. bummer.

 One post about my imperfection and they come out of the woodwork. I spent a lot of time alone as a child. My mother separated the two of us to ensure no conflict. My brother who never interacts on facebook from across the country...well he never interacted as a child. He read, he watched monster movies, and told me I was a brat. We live in the woods and I was bored. Yea, I was a little bratty with no one to play with. Isn't funny no matter how old you get, the buttons stay in the same place?

So, in her humor she struck a chord. I can't change the kid I was. That lonely little girl grew up to be the Queen of a large family. Not a Queen Brat. Out of that solitude came a desire for a family of faith that was a community. We  have it,  no sterility here,  no lonliness here. We have noise and laughing, conflict and resolution. We have a Domestic Church to the fullest extent.  Being a brat became a blessing.

Just so you know, she really isnt a brat. She's a blessing and she's awfully funny.

the boys in love

So, number three has a girl friend. We like his girlfriend, though he's not supposed to date for another six months. He 'snuck her in' so to speak and by the time we found out it was too late. We knew fighting him and making him break it off would create the 'forbidden fruit effect'. So, he has a girlfriend and it has turned out to be a good thing. Shes a year older, she's funny, kind and encourages him to be so as well. The little kids like her, she likes us much to his dismay.

Today they crossed a line though, the went to Mass together....sigh. He's in love. I knew it before but today, but there it was plain as day. He sees her as much of a part of him as we are. They crossed from dating to living as a young couple. Who would complain really about their teenagers going to Mass, or that they want to go to Church with a friend. Im not complaining, I know they keep each other honest and out of trouble. But its a little sad for me. I'm having a hard time as the teenagers grow up.

The kids really aren't 'ours', as Ive always known but when they start to take the steps out of your life and into their own its a little sad. Exciting for them, but sad for us. I no longer have the long line of kids in the pew every week.  I miss my big kids being little, I miss my middle kids being tiny. Life moves so fast. 

'No one tells you not to get so attached', one of my friend's told me when her daughter left for college. While I know she spoke from a place of pain, I get it. My heart sees a five year old with white hair and twinkle in his eye on the verge of mischief or a profound statement. Sigh, he's a young man with a pretty girl on his arm.

Ive decided that teenagers are as difficult as toddlers. The shift moves from physical drain to emotional drain. The shift moves to worry, prayers, watching them mature, make decisions and then face the consequences. Im praying again like I did when they were toddlers. The same kind of exhaustive prayer and pleading while hoping they land in a good place. The result of that kind of prayer for me is abandonment. Letting go.

The kid's journey is thier own. We have taught them well, trusting that God will honor his promise from proverbs 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. But also remembering they will fall, we all fall and the lessons learned will help them grow closer to God as raising them has helped us grow closer. But thats not easy watch, so we pray and we hope they wont fall too hard.

 I know number three may get his heart broken, but he's learning good relationship skills with this one. This girl encourages him to be a good  young man, which will help him grow into a good man.
So today, Im grateful. I'm sad for the natural shift and growing pains a mom experiences, but Im grateful for that red haired lovely girlfriend and my son that went to Mass together this morning.