Category Archives: Dang, you got a big FAMILY

We went on our first vacation as a family of 7 last summer. We took up every available space in the hotel elevator. When the doors opened a little black girl was standing waiting to enter and her exact words were, “Dang, you got a big family!” So…welcome to our crazy, mixed-up, beautiful life. We are a big family with ups, downs, wild turns and lots of adventures in between.

Middle School Had Me Like


Just like that middle school is over.  Three years ago I wrote this post titled Middle School Jitters.   Click on the link to read just how nervous I was about having a teenager in the house.

As a little girl I would dream about being a mommy but the farthest my visions took me were the preschool age.  I guess I didn’t think it was ever possible to be old enough to have teenager.  Thus, that season came {with a few gray hairs} and all I could think about was how hard my own teenage years were.  I desperately wanted to fast-forward through these years for my kids, yet facing them was the only reality.  In the post I listed out words of pure gold {if I do say so myself} for my girl to hold onto.  And because I am a full-circle kind of girl, my plan was to revisit the list with a response to those who are just days away from exiting the season to which the words were inspired.  However, who wants to read sweet sentiments when you could read about the bloopers.  Right? 

I cried harder on her first day of middle school than I did on her first day of kindergarten.   As a more-than-ready kindergartner she and her bouncy curls marched into the class room, put her bag in the cubby and sat down at her table like she owned the place.  However, the little boy next to her was not happy at all.  He was the one who broke my heart.  I was just fine until his sweet, whimpering voice muttered these words…Ma’am. I’m going to need my momma….can… can you get my momma?  I just couldn’t handle those big, sad, watery eyes looking into mine.  I hugged him tight even though I hadn’t even learned his name yet.  I’m not sure how but I managed to escape that kindergarten room before the ugly cry made an appearance.  Middle School was a bit different for me.  Time was not on my side.  Tic-toc…tic-toc…the clock of life was blarring in my ear.  I drove as slow as possible through the carpool line feeling just wrong for not walking her inside.  Bubbly little sixth grade didn’t seem to mind at all or need me at all for that matter and realizing that made my heart sink.  Truth is she did need me and still does…they all do.  But there is something heart-tugging seeing your kid as strong, confident and ready for anything.  She was like “Bring it, sixth grade!”  I, on the other hand, found the nearest Starbucks and a bunch of sappy friends who understood my sappy heart.  And now to do it all again this fall with girl #2 starting her own middle school season.

momanddaughterI amazingly played it real cool the day she started her period, although later she asked why I was sweating profusely and having a hard time catching my breath.  Mercy.  At the end of the day I sat with her on her bed in hopes to have that after school special moment to talk through her feelings and maturely answer questions, instead I blurted out… You know you can get pregnant now!  Wha-what???  Where did that come from?  I have no idea.  Cool mom, real cool.  The look on her face was priceless and unforgettable. 

I’ve said more cuss words in the past three years than I have my whole life…even when I was in middle school learning the cuss words and thought it was really cool to say them.  Who am I?  All I know is that sometimes the situations just calls for that, you know?


I was also real cool about the first co-ed birthday party invitation.  The invite completely triggered the memories of the middle school coed parties I went too.  We all went up to the loft to “watch a movie”.  You know what I’m talking about!  There was no movie watching going on!  After calling the mom of the birthday boy to confess my freak out and question the plans, activities, and motives the sweet woman talked me down.  We allowed the girl to go and all was well.  Whew.  I really like that mom!


And the first crush.  Goodness.  She was 12, ain’t no crushin’ going on with 12 year olds.  But, there was and we talked through it all and as fast as the crush began it ended….I think.


Nothing brings me more satisfaction as a parent than checking the girl’s phone.  It’s just an awesome feeling of authority and control. 


My prayers are wider, deeper and longer…much longer.  I have had to let go of circumstances that were out of my control.  I have had to get over things, things I wish I could have changed or resolve things out of my hands, things from under my authority.  I’ve had to leave them at the foot cross and trust God’s heart in them all.  That’s hard for a mom.  But, it’s right.


My heart rate and blood pressure sky rocket at ball games.


I have fallen in love with the girl’s friends and their families.  I adore the girls who sat around our table eating dinner together after basketball games.  I love listening to middle school girls share their pure, raw, unfiltered heart.  I love watching silly videos they send each other and picking up on their inside jokes.  I love watching them splash around in the pool or jump on the trampoline as if they were five again.


I have sat in awe {most of the time in my car, because middle schoolers need a full-time driver} thinking of all of the things the girl has done to put herself out there.  She has met new people, tried new things, punched fear in the gut and lived up her middle school season…just as she should.


Bottom line is that all those middle school feels taught us both some things.  My insecurities are not hers and vice versa.  As much as part of me wishes to control, manipulate and…control that’s really not my job.  Helicoptering is for pilots not for parents.  This season is part of life and there is just nothing I can do about that.  So, we all do our best to navigate each moment, we try not to panic and we continue on in this journey of trust.