Mixed Emotions

We got the keys to our new house last week.

In case our life seems confusing – because it is – we moved to Barrie suddenly in October and found a rental.  We then sold our house, that we were renting out because we lived at the camp, and bought one here.  So we finally closed last Thursday.

We got a good deal for the city.  Its an older house that needs some updating for sure and we’re putting in a second bathroom but its a nice house in a nice neighbourhood with a big backyard and some big trees.

So I should be thrilled right?

I went to the lawyers, picked up the key and waited for the excitement to hit.  It never came.  Still hasn’t.

What is my problem, you might be thinking.  I was too.  I thought about it all weekend.

First of all, I don’t want to move.  Really, really, don’t want to move.  No one loves it I’m sure, but this will now be the third move in less than 10 months.  Insanity.  At least this one I knew was coming, so I didn’t really unpack the last time.  It will be very nice to have all my things out again and have my pictures and decor but that will require unpacking.  So there’s that – moving is so. much. work.  And the house is filthy.  And we’re getting some renos done.

But I think what it really comes down to is, I’m done with change.  Almost every single aspect of my life changed a few months ago.  And it was necessary, if painful, and it has turned out amazingly, as God’s plans do, and I love my new life, even if it took some adjusting.  But I’m not sure I have it in me to change even this one thing.  Even if it is for the better.  The kids will be happier, the dog will be happier, I’ll have a brand new ensuite, and I just look at it all and think, I’m tired of this.  I should be ecstatic and I’m not.

I want to hide out in my bed, but instead I’m meeting the water guy on Thursday and the ESA guy on Friday and I picked out tiles and I’m trying to find a vanity.  Because life throws us curve balls and hard days and mixed emotions.  But there is always strength to go on.  Even on the days I want to stay in bed.  Because I’ve learned a little formula for these days.

Acknowledge the emotions and that life stinks sometimes.

And then get your strength from God.

Because some days are hard.  And some days you tell your husband that you’ll do this one last move and then its stay in the same house or divorce.  I may or may not be kidding about that one.

But this little formula is exactly what I would love this community to be about.  To be able to share that life gets hard sometimes, but to pass along the hope that God is so good.  And He imparts His strength to us – its there for the asking!  Maybe today you’re like me and need someone to come along side you and say, Yup, this stinks, but God is good and you can do it through His strength.

And also, if you could pray with me that there would miraculously be a vanity that I love that is less than I was hoping to spend on the entire bathroom.  Amen.


Messy Love

I really don’t love Valentine’s Day.  If there was the equivalent of a Scrooge, I would probably be that.  What could you call that anyways?  I think we should make something up.  Before you think I’m completely horrible, I did make all the kids Valentine’s Day popcorn to take to class.  It even had pink and red smarties and sprinkles in it.  Of course, it was covered in sticky marshmallow goop, so maybe the teachers won’t be so thrilled.

Anyways, not my favourite day.  I always say that Michael and I get along every day except holidays and anniversaries.  Too many expectations, too much pressure.  And some days, I just don’t feel the love.  Because you know what?  Sometimes people are terrible.  And they hurt us and disappoint us.  And its not just romantic love that disappoints.  Friends, family, kids, they all have the ability to wound us and make us hate days where we’re supposed to be celebrating love.

So, should we just throw it all away?  Become the Scrooge of Valentine’s?

This morning I got a nice card and a little gift beside my bed.  And it was lovely.  Please don’t judge, but I didn’t even get Michael a card, let alone a gift.  And we probably won’t even make it out for our plan of dessert at this little cafe because, well, Tuesdays and kids and homework and robots.  Yes, my older two children are on a team that’s building a robot for a competition.  And yes, its ruining my life, but they’re happy and have zero time for watching youtube, so there’s that.  Does that mean Valentine’s Day is ruined?

Depends.

Depends on your definition of love.

If celebrating love means roses and butterflies and notes and chocolates and feelings, then yes.

But if this past year has taught me anything, its that love is actually very rarely those things.  Instead, love is forgiveness and grace, again and again, and its messy and heartbreaking and self-sacrificing and sometimes you have to fight with all your might to keep it.  Sometimes you have to beg God to give it to you, because its impossible to give of it yourself.  Its praying for the people who have hurt you and turn their back on you and refuse to text you back anymore.  Its cleaning and meals and rides.  Its a lot of work.

But that kind of love?  That messy very very hard love?  Its the most wonderful, fulfilling thing you will ever experience.  Because it comes straight from Heaven.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t have it in myself to do all those things.  To keep sacrificing, to keep forgiving again and again.  But God does.  And He’s living right inside me.  Teaching me about love more and more every year.  Pushing me to love more, love deeper.

So for me, this Valentine’s Day has very few of the mushy feelings – lets face it, I’m generally not that person anyways – but thinking about it today has renewed my determination to love people in the real, messy, and hard ways that true love requires.


Shiny

So I go to a new church now.  Its a shiny, new, big church.  Seriously, it has like 15 huge chandeliers in the auditorium.  Well, I haven’t counted, but its close.  I’ve been going to conferences at this church since I was about 12.  Its one of those big professional churches where everything runs smoothly and looks beautiful.

I thought it might be hard for me to feel at home here after going to a small country church and living at a camp.  We would have lots of people, but it definitely wasn’t big or shiny or new.  But I have started to feel at home here.

You might think that would’ve started when I sang in the choir, or when we became members, or when we had our first parent teacher meetings.  But no.  I distinctly remember the first time I smiled and thought, this feels like home.

It was when one poor little boy threw up over the other poor kids while the kids choir was singing one Sunday night.  Before you think I’m a horrible person, I really did feel sorry for this poor little boy and the other children who kept right on singing covered in, well, you know.  And also, in my defence, I was not the only adult barely keeping it together.

But it was the first time that my church was not just shiny and new and big.  In that moment it was just a regular church with regular people and sick kids and a clean up on aisle 3 right in the middle of service.

I’ve been thinking about this for a couple of weeks now.  I spent so much of my life trying to look shiny.  I never let anyone in, tried to make sure I was giving the best impression possible.  I made sure I always did the right things, said the right things, looked the right way.  And it was exhausting.  And I had very few friends.  Go figure.  I was always striving.  Always trying to look shiny and new and awesome.  And don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that I should suddenly start doing or saying the wrong things.  But I was fake.  I didn’t tell anyone I was struggling with depression.  I would never have written a blog post about feeling angry or sad.

But I’ve been learning.  As I look around, as I hear other people’s stories, as I tell mine, none of us are very shiny or new.  I think there’s a verse like that, right?

So here in this new church, I’ve tried to be even a little more honest.  I told a few people that going to that same conference that I had been attending for all those years as a “former pastor’s wife” was very hard.  And that I worked in the kitchen so I wouldn’t have to answer questions all day.  When I confided that in one new friend, she told me why she was having a difficult day and we hugged and cried together at the sink and I suddenly felt a connection with her that will hopefully form the basis of a solid relationship.

Shiny and new and big and awesome has its place, but crying together at the sink is beautiful too.

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Changes, Changes

Do you ever hear those stories about how someone’s life changed in a moment?  Well, I never really thought that would be me.  I’m a planner.  I like things organized.  And I’m a control freak.

So when I went to bed two Sunday nights ago, I did not expect that the next Sunday I would be saying goodbye to my church family, where I have been for 28 years, and moving to Barrie to start my life all over again.

Obviously, there was a major life change in there.  But one I’m not going to tell you about.  At least not for quite a while.  I was asking my writing group to help me figure out how much to share on my blog.  They were full of wisdom.  We decided that a couple weeks of complete silence would be best.  Followed by a short update with not much detail.

Here’s the thing.  With advice, I’ve decided to be authentic, but not transparent at this time.  In other words, I’m still going to share with you all the things I’ve learned, what God is teaching me at this time, how I feel about things, but I’m leaving out all the personal details for now.  Its been a hard change for my family and we need time to figure things out first.  As one of my fellow writers said, you have to live the lessons first before you can share them.

So here are the details I can give you.  Because you must be curious by now:)  Michael left the ministry officially about two weeks ago.  We moved to Barrie and are attending Heritage Baptist Church.  Michael is looking for a job up here while I’m adjusting to the life of a mom whose kids now go to Christian school instead of homeschooling.  I use the term adjusting lightly.  I’m kind of in love with it.  You may remember a recent post about not wanting to homeschool this year, so that worked out well!  The kids are adjusting very well.  Because of the camp ministry, I think we could go anywhere and they would have friends there, but they have some especially good ones here.  Emma is the only one struggling since the math change has been hard for her.  Apparently going from Saxon math to Abeka math in grade four is extremely challenging.  But they’ve only been in school two days, so I’m sure in a few weeks she will be perfectly fine.

We love this church and the Pastor and his wife.  We’re looking forward to serving there and are excited about our upcoming time there.

I want to be sure that with all this excitement about not homeschooling and the church here that I don’t give the impression that I was happy about having to leave Harvesters.  And the way that we did.  It was heart wrenching and hard and as Emma described it after our last Sunday, “well, that was the hardest day of my life!”.  Its not easy to leave the place you went to many times a week for 28 years.  I don’t know if I’ll ever get that level of familiarity back.  And I loved my Pastor and his wife dearly.  They were like second parents to me.  That church has many good people and many good memories.

But, now its time to look forward.  I started choir practice, I have some muffins and pot pies to make, and I’m trying to start putting faces with names.  Change can be hard, but its not all bad either.

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Me Too

I’m currently sitting on my couch.  I’m wrapped in a blanket trying to warm up from walking in the rain this morning.  I would start a fire but Michael still hasn’t called anyone to hook up the new wood stove.  Also, did I mention that he left yesterday to drive up to Barrie to play 54 holes of golf?  But at least he got stuck in traffic and its pouring rain all day so there’s that.

Its that kind of dark, cold, rainy day that makes you want to do absolutely nothing.  Except that today is laundry day.  And my living room is filled with a new piece of furniture that I decided to buy and paint.  Today, I had planned.  But that would require venturing out to McNaughtons and buying the actual paint.  Oh, and getting off the couch.  And I borrowed a special ladder so I can paint the wall above the stairs.  So I could do that too.  Or pretty much a thousand things.

Emma is currently in the kitchen sitting in her poop emoji shirt.  Yes, you read that right.  I’m now in that stage of parenting where you have to take the children with you clothes shopping because its hard to guess what will fit them anymore.  And what they will agree to wear.  Oh for the days that I went to Children’s Place, bought “outfits” for the season and was done.  And everyone was happy.  And a pair of jeans didn’t cost $50.  And no one in the house wore a shirt covered by poop emojis.  I kid you not.  But they are colourful, and some are wearing sunglasses, so you know mom, its the coolest shirt ever.  She’s also doing some sort of weird stomach dance, but I’ll take that over the exhausted crying that happened several times this weekend.  And she just looked up from her school and asked,

“Mom, is a python a snake?

After a yes reply she says,

“Why would my school have to mention snakes?  Don’t they know I’m already in my fear of spiders stage?  Now they have to mention snakes?”

I may have desperately not wanted to homeschool this year but at least it makes me laugh about something most days.

I had to walk in the rain today because I’m determined to loose the weight that my doctor, after several tests, told me is “just because you’re getting older, dear”.

I’m extremely offended about something right now.  Its part of an long standing issue, but I’ve just had it now.  And I know I’m not supposed to be offended.  And I’m praying about it.  But seriously, I’m reading a book about writing right now and somehow, someway, the entire chapter I read this morning was about how unspiritual it is to be offended.  I just wanted to read about writing, not get a sermon.  It was before 7am for Pete’s sake.

By now I hope you’ve at least had a smile at my expense.  But what I really want to say is, I’m struggling right now.  A lot.  And usually I write about victory, and Bible verses, and all the spiritual things.  But life also has negative emotions and unfinished projects and marital spats and poop emojis.  And no matter if you dress it up with rainbows and sunglasses, a poop emoji is still a poop emoji.

But I really think honesty and the truth are key.  I think that we should be ok with saying, I’m struggling.  We won’t admit that often enough.  A friend and I went for that walk in the rain this morning and I texted her and told her that it was good for my soul.  Just to have someone see you and say, yup, life is hard sometimes.  Not that Bible verses and encouragement and 7am sermons aren’t necessary and helpful, but sometimes you just need someone to say, me too.

So here’s my me too.  Are you struggling today?  Maybe we could go for a walk in that stupid rain together.  And eventually I’ll give you more Bible verses and advice, but today its just a me too sister, me too.

Now if someone could please tell me how to get my daughter to stop referring to herself in the third person as “Me-sa”.  I’m thinking speaking like JarJar Binks is not going to help with the whole homeschooler image…

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For the Hard Things

September.  Its a magical month.  Everyone is excited for fall, routine, sweaters, and oddly, pumpkin.  Its the real New Year.  Thoughts of comfort and schedules abound.

Every September for the past ten years, I’ve been excited to start homeschooling.  I gather the books, make my plans, buy new supplies, and all the the things.  This year, well, this year I think the only word to describe my feelings would be, ticked off.

Yup.  I am not at all into it this year.  In fact, I spent the summer dreaming up different scenarios where I didn’t have to homeschool.  Only problem is they pretty much all consisted of Michael dying so we could move somewhere even remotely close to a Christian school, because that’s pretty much the only way I’m getting him to leave the camp.  Since that poses a whole new set of problems, I decided not to go that route.

So that brought me to this weekend.  I had bought the books, the supplies, done all the things, and as I lay in bed last night I could not stop thinking about how much I did not want to do this this year.  So much so that I ended up with a migraine, pain escalating like crazy in my left side, and a slight I can’t breathe feeling.

Every year that my kids are getting older, homeschooling takes up a little more of my time.  And now my son is starting high school.  Which is crazy.  And even more time consuming.  And I have things I want to do and learn and be.  And instead of being able to add more to my schedule, I’ve actually been taking things out.  Because, teenagers.  And I have a feeling its only going to get worse.  So this year I’m not teaching music for the first time since I was about 16.  And I’m not taking any music lessons.  Or classes.  The last thing I’ve held on to is my writing.  On the good days I tell myself that I’m narrowing my focus.  On the bad days I feel like I just have to keep giving up more of myself.

So this morning I got up, made breakfast, and then started homeschooling the children.  Why?  Well, I started writing this blog post to find out.  You see, I’m not going to give you a list of why I homeschool because this really isn’t about that.  This year I’ve been focusing my blog on using Biblical principles to help me manage my emotions.  And I obviously needed help today.  I’ve been chewing on the why all day and writing it somehow helps me believe it.

Why?

Because my life is not my own.

Its not even my kids.  Although that sounds noble and even Biblical.

My life is God’s.  And I am fully convinced that He’s asking me to do this hard thing.  The thing itself doesn’t matter so much.  Its the fact that I know what I’m supposed to do, even when I really really don’t want to.  All day long I prayed that God would fix my attitude.  I started thinking that was a terrible thing to pray, but then realized its actually an essential thing to pray.  And if spent the whole day praying only that, it would be worthwhile.

So tomorrow I will get up and homeschool again.  And again.  Until I’m done or convinced that I’m not supposed to anymore.  And I’m going to try and convince myself to do some more work tonight because apparently the awesome new English curriculum I decided to try for Arianna comes with 14 hours of parent instruction I was supposed to have watched first.  Insert all the eye rolls here.

Is there a hard thing you’re being asked to do?  Lets pray together for good attitudes and reminders that we serve God, not ourselves.

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Faithfulness

So there was this couple that lived a few streets away most of my childhood.  For basically all the parts I can remember anyways.  They were my Pastor and his wife but to me they were so much more.  I think some days I was at their house more than mine.  Their oldest daughter was my best friend.  We all went to homeschool day together, we cleaned each other’s houses, we played, we fought, I ate lunch there a million times.  These people were my second family and Pastor and Patti were my second set of parents.

As I became older, they became an even more integral part of my life.  We laughed, cried, sang, and served together.  I ended up working for Pastor for a few years, we flew back and forth from the Philippines, our families celebrated Christmas together.  Pastor helped my husband find the courage to start a relationship with me, and he married us a year later.

Its really hard for me to put into words exactly what this couple means to me.  If I had to whittle it down to one thing, one sentence, it would be, they love me.  That’s what I feel from them.  They love me.  They love my husband, and they’re starting all over again with my children.

We all need that feeling.  That there’s someone that just plain loves us.  I would be embarrassed to tell you how many times that I sat crying in Pastor’s office.  Or that Patti listened to me say lots of unspiritual things in venting sessions.  They know when to listen and when to offer a little direction on the right path.  Pastor asked for the very first copy of my book for his office.  Patti welcomes my girls to sit beside her in church with an outstretched arm and a smile.  Its not just the big moments like coming to the hospital to visit us when our first child was born and put in NICU, but also the small moments like laughing together at our lives before ladies prayer time on Sunday mornings.  I have thousands of memories of them enriching my life.

Yesterday we as a church family celebrated our Pastor and Patti because they have been serving at our church for 30 years.  One place for 30 years.  And the Lord has blessed and done amazing things here and I’m so glad that I got to see most of it.  Pastor Lyle and Emily were able to pull off a surprise service for them and I’m happy that we as a church family were able to honour them in this way.  Michael and I have been blessed to work under them for five years now and can truly say that Pastor must be the best person ever to work for.

So to Pastor and Patti, thank you for loving me and my family and my church family for all these years.  You have inspired us to love each other too.  I love you both very much and your example of faithfulness is something that I hope to learn from the rest of my life.

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Worth

I have three wonderful children who are all talented musicians, but you know how sometimes you just hit a streak of awesome?  Last month that was Arianna.  She participated in the Kiwanis festival in both piano and voice.  And she killed it.  She was winning classes left right and center.  She got invited to participate in trophy classes in both voice and piano.  In a two week span she did all the original classes and her voice trophy class and did amazing.

Then one week later we went to her piano trophy class.  Much stiffer competition than the singing, but I knew she deserved to be there.  They got the children all situated.  Arianna was the last pianist of 23 children.  She sat there as kid after kid nailed it.  I was completely shocked as 22 kids got up and played through their pieces with not one mistake.  Not one.  But Arianna could play hers without any mistakes also, so I wasn’t worried.  She got up and announced the names of her two pieces.  You see, the class she won required her to play two contrasting studies, so we assumed she would have to play them both here also – this was the first time we had kids who won their classes be old enough for a trophy class.  As she went to sit down to play, the adjudicator announced that she wouldn’t be allowed to play both and would have to choose.  My heart sank as she picked the second one.  She had always played them one right after the other, and I knew that going out of order could really mess her up.

She sat down and took several seconds before she could remember where to start.  She was totally thrown off now.  For the next two minutes, or what seemed like forever, she stopped and started four times before she got through the song.  The song that she had played perfectly a hundred times before.  I watched as she persevered to the end, stood up, gave a smile and a bow, went back to her seat at the end of the row and promptly broke down.  She had to sit there by herself through the presentation to the winner and closing remarks.  As soon as they were dismissed, she practically ran out the door where I met her from the other side of the church.

I threw my arm around her and ushered her out to the car murmuring things like, its ok sweetie and it happens to the best of us.  But I knew the best remedy would be a good cry.  As we drove home, I let her have her good cry and then change the subject.

The more I thought, the more I realized that this might be a good time to try and speak some truth into her life, hopefully right down to her heart.  To try and undo some of the damage that doubt and perfectionism have done to her.  I understand this girl because that doubt and perfectionism come directly from me.

I put the van in park in the driveway, turned around, and took both her hands in mine.  I looked right in her eyes and said this,

Arianna, today does not determine your worth.  There is no one, not me, not your dad, not your teacher, not God, that is going to love you any less because of what happened today.  Not only that, but we would not have loved you more if you had won.  Your accomplishments have no effect on our love for you.  Today does not determine your identity.  You are not a failure.  You are still a good pianist.  You had one bad day.  That does not change who you are as a person.  We are still proud of you today.  Our pride is not in a trophy, but in your work ethic and the fact that you persevered through a difficult situation.  I love you no matter what.  I love you simply because you’re my child.

Now if only I could remember this everyday…

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15 years

16 years and three months ago I was an 18 year old woman/girl taking off on a flight to the Philippines to live there for several months.  I had been there before, so I was not surprised by the long flight that makes you want to die, the heat that hits you like a wall when you step out of the airport, the smells, the sounds.  But one thing did surprise me.  As I rode in the back of a vehicle to the small row of apartments that would be my home for the next while, we pulled up and I saw this white guy that I was instantly attracted to.  There he was….ball cap, tank top, flip flops, really baggy cargo shorts – we technically still had one day left in the 90s -, standing on top of a garbage pile.  In the Philippines at that time, a row of houses will often just throw all the garbage on a pile and then someone has to work at shovelling it together and burning it to make room for more garbage.  So of course, his “servant’s heart” was shinning brightly for me to see!

I knew who this guy was.  I booked his flights, arranged his stay, I probably knew his passport number.  We had gone to camp and student convention together.  But I never hung out with him.  You see, I was one of the those girls who had just enough spirituality to make her obnoxious and not hang out with people like him who didn’t know what they were doing with their life.  But now?  Now he was shovelling garbage in the third world country and helping to build an orphanage.  Now he was marriage material!  And I had never noticed that he was good looking too!  Now it made sense that Pastor and Mrs. McClain had both told me that I would marry him.  Without the other even knowing it.  Well, with that memory, jet lag, and exhaustion, it was obvious to me what God’s will was.  And also it was only two months until my 19th birthday.  And I grew up independent baptist.  So I was almost an old maid.  So it was obvious right from the start of that trip.  I only had one problem.

The guy wouldn’t even look at me let alone talk to me.  Yup.  Quietest guy on the planet.  I tried to make sure I sat beside him at meals and car rides.  One of the older women who was on the trip with us taught me how to cut hair, so I practiced on him.  Still, not a word.  I started to do his laundry.  I did his roommates’ too so that I wouldn’t look too obvious.  And when I was hanging his laundry on the line I would sometimes smell his shirts.  Oh yes people.  It was that bad.  People told me he liked me, that we were destined to be together, but that means nothing when the only thing he’s ever said to you is hi.

Enter my Pastor.  My Pastor showed up, saw what was going on, thought we should get married and work for him in the Philippines.  So he went to work towards that goal.  I’m not entirely certain if he really wanted us together or just felt so sorry for me that he tried!  He even offered to wave our trip’s no dating rule for us.  As bizzarre as it sounds, we started communicating through my Pastor.  He would talk to Michael about our future, which apparently Michael was quite excited about, and then he would talk to me.  Assuring each of us that the other was wanting a relationship.  Sometimes when I talk about our dating days, I feel like I’m reciting the plot to a super weird novel.  But it gets weirder…..

This had been going on for a month.  Messages passed back and forth, sitting beside each other all the time, looking for ways to be together, finding out later that we had both decided to marry each other, and yet still not one real face to face conversation.  Fast forward to the day before my Pastor was going home.  We had had the big opening of the building, many people from Canada had come and gone, and we were about to go back to the daily business of building an orphanage without all the fireworks.  I started freaking out thinking that I was actually going to die an old maid because this guy couldn’t even talk to me without Pastor around.  The very next morning my life was about to end with my Pastor flying home.  I was freaked out enough to go talk to my Pastor about it.  There may have been tears.  And near hysterics.  So my Pastor said, “follow me”.  “Where?” I asked.  “We’re going to go talk to Michael”  “I didn’t want you to talk to him with me right there!!!”  “If you want me to talk to him, this is how we’re doing it.”  By this point I was desperate enough to agree.  He called Michael into the court yard, grabbed three lawn chairs.  He set them up two beside each other with his facing them.  He told us where to sit and then asked bluntly, “Michael, do you like Jennifer?”  I was very relieved when he said yes.  Then horrors, he asked me, “Jennifer, do you like Michael?”  With an incredibly red face I answered yes.  Pastor then stood up and said, “Then do something about it!” and walked away.  Oh yes, it was as terrible as it sounds.  But it was effective.  We stayed there talking in those chairs for a long time.  One week later, we set our wedding date for April 7, 2001.  15 years ago today.  15.  That’s a long time.  10 made me feel like we made it, but 15 is making me feel like we’re starting in on being an old married couple.

Just a disclaimer, I’m not entirely certain that this was the optimal way to pick a mate and if my daughter ever goes to a foreign country at 18 and comes back with a story like this, I may kill her.  No, I will definitely kill her.  And lock her up.  But its our story and its worked pretty well for us so far.  Things haven’t always been easy and some days I bang my head against the wall and realize that maybe the no talking for three months might have been an indication of our different love of communication….but I’m still in love with that boy in the 90s cargo shorts.  And I wasn’t wrong about the servant’s heart.  We’ve had this weird, adventurous, hard, wonderful life and I hope we have more weird adventures in the years to come.

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Chatting

On Friday my girls were away, March break partying at a friends and I got to go on a walk with this handsome young man.

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We walked the trail on the property – its so gorgeous and every time I walk it I can’t believe I get to live somewhere so beautiful.  During this walk Jonathan taught me all about deer tracks, deer beds, a bunch of other deer things, baseball, and possibly a few other things that have absolutely no interest for me.  Oh yeah, can’t forget golf.  Seriously, with the two guys in my life obsessed with these three things I hear about them ad nauseam.  We probably talked about Minecraft too knowing Jonathan.  I had absolutely no interest in one thing we talked about.  I can say this because he doesn’t read my blog.  But its true.  So why did I invite him on a walk and let him chatter away about all these things?  I told him it was because we needed some fresh air.  And that I like having company when I walk.  And those things are both true.  But I had one major reason I invited him to chat.

My son likes a girl.  Really likes a girl.  And it has been the same girl for quite a while now.  May I just interject an “ahhhhhhh!!!!!” here?  I am equal parts terrified and excited.  Well, I may be leaning more to excited because I happen to think you can tell a lot about a person by the way they handle this whole situation.  And he is being so great about it.  Hardly anyone knows.  He doesn’t make a big deal of it.  He hasn’t talked to her about it since he knows he’s not allowed to date for at least 10 years!  And I think he’s also a little terrified.  He makes sure that he says hi to her but doesn’t single her out much.  And the most important part…this girl is stellar.  If the girl he chooses to like is any indication of the direction his life is going, this mom is jumping up and down for joy.

Now you may be thinking that I’m a little overboard on a 13 year old crush and you also may be wondering what these two things have to do with each other.  You may be right on the first one but I took Jonathan on that walk because I asked him if he would like to talk about girls the night before and he said no way and went to bed.  And that was ok.  But I realized that he’s not yet ready to talk about some serious things with me.  So for now, I will make sure to spend lots of time talking about the mundane.  The things like minecraft that the kid in him still likes.  Because one day he’s going to need to talk about girls.  And beliefs.  And college.  And social media.  And its all coming so very soon.  Today he finished English for elementary school.  Another few months and he will be entering the whole new world of high school.

I’m really hoping that if I keep making times for just the two of us to talk that one day soon our chats will change from baseball to his thoughts and feelings and questions.  So I’m going to keep walking with this cutie and creating opportunities.