I have been blessed with three beautiful daughters. I am simply in love with the attributes that are unique to each of them: Kellie-Laine's muscular figure, Landrie's sparkling eyes and fair color, Emerie's dimples and round face. Of course, ultimately I pray for beauty that comes from within: a heart of compassion, mercy towards others, pursuit of God, humility, boldness of spirit, strong moral compass, etc.
But today my post focuses on physical beauty. Primarily, the physical beauty of my almost-thirteen year old. Here she is:
I know that in the depths of our mother's heart, we ever-so-slightly desire for our kids to be pretty (or handsome). It's a truth that isn't easily admitted. It's also a truth that is at the bottom of a long list of things we wish for our kids. Nevertheless, beauty is on the list.
But just yesterday, I found out that beauty can have its drawbacks.
This week is Youth Week at our church....a week filled with daily activities and a time to welcome the incoming 7th graders, which includes Kellie-Laine. I was so excited the week before thinking about how fun this new phase of her life will be. I have some fond memories myself of youth groups and youth camps, and since I didn't grow up in a christian home, these groups and camps were a significant part of my spiritual journey towards a relationship with Christ.
So Monday morning was the youth paintball tournament, and I woke up and found myself struck with fear. I was worried on so many levels, but the main fear was that I was sending my first-born child into a group of 7th through 12th graders....girls AND guys.
Let me back up and explain for a moment that up until this point, we've had Kellie-Laine in a pretty tight bubble. She attends a small,private school with peers she's known since Kindergarten. While the normal guy/girl relationships have increased as the kids get older (I'm talking, like, one couple in 8th grade--out of the whole school), it's still a very immature process. These guys feel like brothers to the girls, so there really isn't much "coupling" as I like to call it. Aside from summer camp, Kellie-Laine doesn't have much interaction with those of the opposite sex. She doesn't IM; she doesn't own a cell phone; she doesn't have email. The one short-lived "relationship" she had at the beginning of last year consisted of nothing more than a few hand-written notes and lots of ignorning each other in the hallway. Nothing says "I really like you," than being ignored, right? As soon as the relationship started.....it ended, and you best believe that mommy and daddy were VERY involved in the "relationship".....(I shudder to even call it that.)
So, back to paintballing.......after I picked her up, she reported that she didn't like paintball all that much, but did spend a good deal of time talking about a boy and a few of his friends who were trying to convince her to "go out" with the aforementioned boy. Are you kidding me? I tried to listen with an open mind, but I kept thinking how weird this feels to listen to my little girls talk about these boys crushing on her?....macking on her? What do you call it these days?!
I know it was innocent, and I know this is totally normal behavior for this age. I don't want to sound like a crazy momma....but I called our precious youth minister to get his opinion, and he was very kind and patient with my crazy ramblings. (I'm certain, however, we will not be invited to future youth activities.)
So I know I'm kind of rambling about this, and my sister thinks I'm completely naive....but I need to ask you readers a question. Please give me some feedback here. As I'm approaching this new territory with my almost-thirteen year old.....what kind of advice/rules/guidelines/boundaries did your parents give you regarding dating? What worked and what didnt'? For you mothers who have gone before me: what advice can you give me that you currently use with your own children?
I had very lenient parents who didn't impose many rules on my sister or me, and I've got numerous mistakes to prove it. While many of the trials I went through as a teenager proved to become character building opportunities, I do not plan on using their same leniency with my own girls. Times have changed, and I adamantly feel parents need to be more involved now than ever before.
So I'm asking you all for some mom-to-mom advice on what worked or didn't work in your own lives or in the lives of your kids.
I'll be twiddling my thumbs in the meantime waiting for my beautiful daughter to return from the youth group bowling party.....