Summer Birthdays: 12 and 8

This little guy turned twelve at the end of June. 12. Twelve. So almost 13. Aaaaaaah! King is fully embracing his twelveness, punctuated with plenty of sarcastic "SO?"s and "WHATEVER!"s. He is also in that stage of discovering his own "coolness". He has his own ideas about what is "so awesome" and "so hilarious" and sometimes I get it, but often I don't. But I'm the mom, I'm not supposed to get it. There is a lot more time spent up in his room, alone (as much as you can be alone sharing a room with your little brother), doing his own thing. I find this both endearing and terrifying at the same time.

This little guy turned eight last week. Of course, being eight and all, Michael now knows everything. This makes life with him very interesting, as well as informative. He is growing up so fast, but still has plenty of little boy left in him. Some of that we could do without, like the whining. When will the whining end? Probably when I stop giving in to him to shut him up. (Busted!)

My babies are getting so old! It scares me. Not that I'm afraid of what they are going to do, or the trouble they might get in to, because they're good kids. But when I think about them growing up (and about King being almost grown up), I get this panicked feeling. Did I do everything I was supposed to do? Did I say everything I needed to say? Because soon, if not already, they're gonna stop caring what I do and say. My window of influence is closing and I'm afraid I haven't shoved everything through before it comes slamming shut on my fingers.

Of course, this is not the way it works. Raising kids is a process and a life. It's not like feeding data into a computer. Is anyone's childhood ever perfect? I think back on mine, and truly believe that the challenges I faced were as much a part of building my character as the intentional "good" parenting of my mom and dad. Challenges make us stronger and working through them helps us grow.

Besides, a panicked mother is not a good mother. It is not helpful to sit and think about the mistakes I may have made. I must go forward and do the very best I can today and then get up and do it again tomorrow. I thank God that I can start each day with prayer and grace; hope and courage. My life is not defined by my mistakes. I don't need to face the monumental responsibility of raising boys to be men on my own. All is not lost if I didn't do everything right or say everything right.

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,

Deuteronomy 7:9 (ESV)