Are we really ever ready for the Phoenix process when it comes to our children? We say the words to each other almost daily, “wow, I can’t believe how quickly they have grown…my, look how big you are getting……they grow up so fast…..just yesterday they were babies.” MJ will start middle school in the fall, and I have been reminded the past few days about the passage of time and how the Phoenix process allows us to surrender the old and make peace with the new.
This weekend I took MJ and a couple of pals to the mall, and while I genuinely enjoyed watching them giggle and act silly, I observed for the first time, the scowls and careful watch of the store attendees. Huffy at first, I thought, “wait, you don’t know them.” But haven’t I also dismissed teenagers as trouble in the mall before? Ouch. I looked at this group differently, only because I LOVE them. So, a teachable moment….we discussed shoplifting and the perception of good behavior over slushies and pretzels and I was left wondering…..am I ready for this?
Next I took her to an introductory meeting of the middle & high school church service that meets on Sunday nights, sans parents. Memories rushed back from the days of attending church with friends as tweens and teenagers….and I thought about how difficult it is to let go. Once upon a time, every single decision regarding the children rested on hubby and my shoulders, supported with great advice from family and friends. And just as we give up some control as they walk into those school doors for the first time, we must recommit to the process….at a deeper level…..when they go on to the next stage. Again and again until, there is no more control, just love. Is it any wonder that many of us recognize the control/love as the real deal and fight against the final result. Why? Fear. Did we do it right, did we do enough, can they make the right choice every time? The answer will NEVER be yes, and that is scary. Surrender is the answer once again. Gratitude and surrender…always the answer….but so difficult in learning.
Why am I seeing thus for the first time? I love your writing, the reflection and insight…wonderful!
As a mom who is a step ahead of you in the tween/teen world, I remember vividly when I turned the corner from the judgement of young people to the celebration of their differences. Why is it that so many of us look back on our offsprings’ days of childhood as merry and bright and fear the unknown territory of modern day teenage-hood? I LOVE the middle school years. My kids have thoughts, beliefs and attitudes that can be alarming at times, but it’s refreshing to see that they aren’t merely regurgitating the sentiments expressed by their elders; their parents! These original thoughts often manifest in “original” outward expressions of wardrobe, musical taste, hairstyle and friend choices. It goes without saying that I love all of my three kids equally, but I greatly look forward to the youngest joining her brother and sister in her own adventure as a young adult:)
And beautiful portrait of MJ, by the way…