hiddenblessing

Finding one small blessing each day.

A letter to my middle schooler August 21, 2012

Filed under: Parenting,Teenager — hiddenblessing @ 9:53 pm
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My sweet boy,

This letter has been keeping me up at night, begging me to write to you.  I wake up in the dark of the night, and all I can think about are all of the things I want to say to you as I watch you grow into the wonderful, strong young man that you are.  I am so proud of you.  I have always been insanely proud of you – you are so good inside.  You are filled with so many wonderful traits that sometimes all I can do is fall to my knees and thank God for giving me such an exquisite gift as he did, the day he gave me you.

Middle school is a weird time for kids.  You want so much to be cool and accepted, and fit in with the right kids.  To look right, act right, and not do anything embarrassing.  But inside, all of these things are coming up; exciting, nerve-wracking, drama-filled things.  Stressful things.  It’s exciting and fun and scary and depressing and quite honestly, a giant muddle of mixed-up craziness.  You are half child and half adult, and sometimes that makes you feel one way and sometimes it makes you feel another.  Sometimes, it’s both.  That’s ok.  Pick what feels right for that situation.  Soon enough, it will become easier and you will leave the little stuff behind.  But don’t let worrying about it weigh you down.  Sometimes you won’t know what to do.  Sometimes, you’ll just feel silly.  Other times, sad.  Sometimes you will feel giddy and emotional and sometimes, you will just feel stressed.

I want you to know, that 100%, forever and ever and ever, my darling boy, your stress is my stress.  I have your back.  Always.  I might freak out and lecture you (I’m working on getting better at this) but at the end of the day, no matter what, I am on your team.  The things that hurt you, hurt me.  The things that worry you, worry me.  You can come to me, day or night, and know that I am always willing to listen.  Tell me that it’s important, and I will put down the computer, or send home my friends, or cancel my date night with dad, or whatever I need to do  and we will sort through it.  Your problems are my problems, and together, sweetheart, we will work out anything.

As a little boy, my darling, you were always the sweetest child.  I have never met a child who had so much compassion and understanding of other human beings as you did.  You were polite, you were kind, you were loving, you were gentle, and you always, always, put other people ahead of yourself.

That is a beautiful trait.  One you should be proud of.  But don’t let it allow people to walk all over you either.  Save the people that you choose to give that kindness to, to be ones who are worth it.  You are going to meet a lot of people on your journeys to manhood.  A lot of them will not be worth your energy.  So if someone hurts you or belittles you, or doesn’t want to hang out with you, that’s ok.  They aren’t for you. You will find friends and people that are worth your love and your energy.  Go ahead and enjoy those that are fun to be around, when you are around them, and let them go when they go.

There is a poem out there about friends being there for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.  I don’t think there is necessarily a way to know exactly which way they are there for you, except to say that when you look back, it will be obvious.  I’ve had four friends, so far, that are there for a lifetime: your dad, Aunt W, Super Nikki, and my friend, L, who you haven’t met.  I have had a lot that were there for a season… I had a best friend in grades 4 and 5, another for grades 6-10 and one in between, in grades 7 and 8.  Those short friendships were my “seasons”.  My “lifetimes” are easy: L was there my whole life, Aunt W from senior year on, and Darling Nikki since we moved here.  I am blessed, sweet boy.  But think of the hundreds of people I have known, who have come and gone, in all of those years.  I’ve had a LOT of friends who just happened to be exactly what I needed at that time in my life, but when that situation was done, we all moved on.  These are the “reasons” friendships. You are going to find this to be true as well.  So if you find someone that you feel deep inside is worthy of your friendship, offer it to them wholeheartedly.  But if, for whatever reason, they don’t return that friendship in kind, don’t worry… just move on.  Remember, a reason, a season, or a lifetime.

Girls.  Oh, how I love and hate this topic.  As your mama, here’s what I want for you.  I want you to find a girl that thinks you are the handsomest, funniest, strongest, best guy that there ever was.  You will find her, someday.  But not in middle school.  And likely, not in high school.  Your dad and I were an extreme exception to the rule, believe me.  But until that day comes along, you are going to meet a ton of girls that you will fall for, and no matter how sweet, beautiful, kind, funny or loyal they are, will someday break your heart.  I am dreading that day, but it will happen.  You will break a few hearts, too.  You will leave some poor, sweet girl sobbing because she felt that she loved you, and knowing you like I do, sweetheart, this will be very hard on you.  But it’s just part of growing up.

Know this; these relationships are real.  That pounding in your heart, those sweaty hands and nervousness when you talk to her, that is all real.  And that crushing, blinding, heartbreak you will feel when those relationships end is real.  But as painful as it is, it will be over just as quickly and you will meet someone new.  You won’t believe me when you’re going through it, but it is true.  That will be true for the girls whose hearts you break too.  And even more importantly, all of those feelings you had for that girl who broke your heart will be nothing compared to when you grow up and find the one you are really meant to be with.  But… that is a topic for another letter when you are older.

My last topic that I really want to talk with you about… you are going to find yourself in situations where there are drugs and beer.  I am not even going to try to pretend that this isn’t true.  Please, please, please believe me when I say that you should not ever use drugs.  I can’t tell you how many people I have known – wonderful, kind, handsome, funny people who came from good families – who used drugs and completely destroyed their lives.  Drugs mess people up.  What starts as a fun party thing quickly turns into something that is out of their hands… the risks are just enormous, baby doll.  Young bodies, for starters, are not equipped to handle the poison that is going into their bodies.  I knew a kid who was huffing paint fumes, and died.  He was a nice kid.  His name was Adam.  I’ve known kids who smoked pot and drove, and killed a friend.  I’ve known countless kids who wound up in hospitals and I’ve known kids who’ve killed themselves because they got so depressed following drug use.  But mostly what I’ve seen, is people who just plain ruined their lives.  They never ended up going to college, they didn’t get good jobs, they had babies way too young that they couldn’t parent or afford, their skin and their teeth are ruined, and they feel hopeless… because they can’t get away from the drugs.  Think really, really hard about the choice you make if someone ever offers you drugs.  Even the “light” ones.  At the end of the day, you know what’s right and what’s wrong.

Alcohol… I know that there will be parties.  They had better be a damn long time from now!  But let’s get this out in the open now.  If you ever have a situation where you or a friend needs a ride because someone did have a beer, please call me.  We will come up with some sort of agreement, you and I, where if you trust me enough to call me and let me pick you guys up, you won’t be in trouble.  I would so much rather have you safe and have had a beer and me be a little disappointed in your choice to drink, than have you hurt or dead because you didn’t trust me.  But that’s all it would be – a little disappointed, because I was a teenager once, too, sweetheart.    

And here’s the biggest thing, my sweet baby boy, I trust you.  I trust that you have a good head on your shoulders, and at the end of the day that you will make the right decisions.  And if you don’t, if you mess up, that’s ok, too.  That’s how you learn.  And it’s my job to help you pick up those pieces that are the fallout of the wrong choice and maybe turn them another way to help you see how to fix it.  Mistakes are a part of life.  I still make mistakes, and I’m still trying to learn how to do it all right, the first time.

These years are going to be so much fun for you.  Live and love every single second of them.  Laugh when you want to, cry when things hurt but above all, enjoy RIGHT NOW.  Don’t worry about next year, or five years from now, or when you are an adult.  (Well, except for good grades.  Do that.  Swim hard.  Get a scholarship. 🙂 ) You will be grown up before you know it.  Before I know it!  And I want you to remember every single second of these years.  They are so much fun.

I love you, my boy.  There is nothing that you could ever, ever, ever do that would ever change that.  My love for you isn’t something that you will ever have to work for, earn, or deserve.   It just is.  Always has been.  And always, always will be.

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Don’t Stop Believing May 11, 2011

Filed under: Signs — hiddenblessing @ 10:24 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Most of you know that my inspiration behind this blog was little Ronan and his amazingly inspiring mom and their fight against neuroblastoma. Ronan lost his fight this week, and although I don’t even know this little guy, my heart broke for Ronan’s mom and their family. She writes beautifully, and she touches her readers… you couldn’t help but be sucked into her story. I hope that someday when she finds the strength again, she’ll publish her story in it’s entirety, but for the moment, she’s still astonishing her readers with her insight and grace as she gets through these days.

Mostly what I wanted to tell you about, though, was that she posted today that she has heard the song “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey repeatedly since little Ronan died earlier this week. She believes that this is a little sign from her boy, to never stop believing in him. And I believe in her. What’s really interesting about all of this is that strangely enough, I too heard the song on my way home from work the night that she posted that he was gone (I hadn’t seen the post yet). I don’t know what made me pay attention to it, but I did, and my thoughts drifted somewhere along the lines of the fact that it was a Journey song and just the other week my Marvelous Nikki was going to sell a Journey t-shirt at our garage sale. Minor, mindless thoughts, but I thought about it enough that I remember it.

So then Ronan’s mom posts about how she’s hearing this song everywhere, and a few of her blog readers have posted the same thing in their comments to her. And then tonight, James on American Idol sings… you guessed it… Don’t Stop Believing. All I could do was smile — little Ronan! — and think about the thousands of people his story has touched (literally). And then think about what I was saying in my last post about all the funny little coincidences, signs and gentle nudgings that the universe sends our way… this week has just been insanely full of them.

So my friends – tonight I want to leave you with this message that I really believe comes from somewhere other than where you and I are today…. don’t stop believing. Don’t stop believing in messages, in signs, in dreams… in hope, in inspiration, in a new start. In the ability to conquer unbeatable odds, in the ability to change the world around you. Don’t stop believing in the power of love and laughter and faith. There is a beautiful day waiting for us tomorrow.

Peace and blessings and love to you tonight. And if you have a little extra room in your prayers tonight, please pray for little Ronan to fly high with the angels and for his family to be at peace. Goodnight!

 

Open your eyes April 25, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — hiddenblessing @ 7:16 pm
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Love is everywhere
Picture found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/flying_to_sky_monica/

*****

When you see the above picture, what do you see?

This morning, as I drove E to school, a bird literally dive-bombed my car! I actually hit my brakes, and we both exclaimed that THAT was a crazy bird!! We were in a residential neighborhood, driving the streets as he finished his Pancake On A Stick. I dropped him off after that and didn’t give it another thought.

Then tonight, after work, I was driving and came across two separate accidents, both in the inside lane of the same street – within a few hundred yards from each other. How long is a football field? However long that is is probably about how far apart the two accidents were. The first was two young teenage girls. One had apparently hit rear-ended the other. The officer sat parked behind them, and one girl was on her cell phone, probably calling her parents. The other accident involved a young man and an older man. The damage to the second accident was a lot more severe than the first, but it didn’t appear anyone was hurt. I tried not to gawk as I drove by, but it’s hard not to when there are two separate accidents.

I continued on my way and got to the next stoplight. I sat behind a maroon Chevy truck, that I only initially noticed because it had a giant dent in the tailgate of it. I was already thinking of accidents, so I especially noticed the damage to this truck. And it had 8154 in the window, in white letters. I sat, in my own little world, and happened to look over a few lanes to another maroon truck. This one had the number 8145 in the window! I looked back and forth between the two trucks, trying to decide if they were the same truck. They were, I finally decided. How odd. The drivers didn’t pay each other any attention and 8145 drove on straight, and 8154 turned left, with me. Strange.

I kept driving on my way and got a few more stoplights and turns away. I sat at the intersection, not really thinking about much of anything when I noticed that every vehicle around me was a shade of red. Slight variances – orangey red, fire engine red, maroonish red, but all red. Ok, so now I’m on high alert. It is just plain weird to have that many strange things happen in one day.

I picked up Little One, and continued on my way home. I got to another intersection and this time all the vehicles in front of me (not behind me, thank goodness) were gray trucks, except for the lane to the left of me, which was empty. And then what rolled up? You guessed it, a silver truck. I sat there, staring at all these silver and gray trucks, of different makes and models, and I couldn’t help but wonder what the angels were trying to say to me. I felt like these trucks were all situated around me, protecting me. But from what? I have no idea, but it leads me to something else…

I cleaned out a bunch of stuff this weekend for a garage sale I have coming up and I found an old journal, from 2001. Here is what it said:

(Wednesday, 5/31/01 10:44 pm)

“… My friend Nancy and I were on our way back to work after running some errands. We stopped at a stoplight, talking. The light turned green, and while I saw it turn green, I just sat there. Nancy said “Hey… go,” to tell me the light was green. I responded “Yeah, I know…” and then paused before stepping on the gas to make my left hand turn. Just then a small black car (maybe green) went whizzing right by us, in the oncoming lane of traffic, but in the same direction I was going. The driver even turned onto the side street leading to the parking garage but kept going. There was a median separating my lane from the oncoming lane. I don’t even know how the driver got there. Nancy and I were just stunned, because had I left the intersection when I normally would have- when the light turned green, that car would have crashed into us. We couldn’t stop talking about it, it was just so strange. I don’t even know why I sat there at the light – I just did. I said to her “We must be lucky mommies today” and I truly think we were. Whoever my guardian angel is was looking out for me. Somehow it just secured for me that, for today anyway, I’m safe. My angel is there and watching. And somehow, I heard him.”

Today felt like that. I don’t know what the warning was, but it was there. It might not have even been for me, but maybe for one of you. To open your eyes, look at everything around you. Our angels talk to us but sometimes, it’s not through words. Sometimes it’s signs – like birds, and strange collections of vehicles, and things that just jump out to you. Other times it’s dreams, or even strangers on the street. But the messages are there. Listen.

Sweet dreams tonight, my friends. Thank you for visiting me today.