A good day in tweendom

It’s so hard to be 11, almost 12. It’s so hard to be a mom when your kid is 11, almost 12.

We are firmly into the tween experience around here and wow . . . just, wow. Not unlike realizing that no one but me was going to care for that tiny newborn, entering this phase with my son is a lesson in parenting humility. I know as little now as I did then.

My younger son’s kindergarten teacher told me that kids at this age (11-12, middle school) are going through the same amount of rapid brain development as an infant. It stands to reason that they are about as emotionally adept too. Seems to be the case here.

I don’t have a clue what to do, and it’s time to start looking for guidance. All I have is this sweet story that gives me hope that we’ll make it through.

Exhibit A, below:

Picture 1 is Owen dressed and ready to go volunteer at our church’s Diamond Jubilee, an annual event for our congregants age 75 and older. Owen’s Grandpa Jim (one of the pastors at Gloria Dei) leads a service, followed by entertainment and dinner. This year, they requested youth volunteers to serve the meal as waiters. Owen’s grandparents asked and I said yes for him. He got all dressed up and I took the photo to send to Scott, who is out of town for the weekend. I had to make him smile.

owen volunteer collagePicture 2 is on the way to church. He took the sad selfie and sent it to his dad, along with the note “I only smiled because Mom made me.” He was so nervous — what other kids would be there? Is it dorky that I’m wearing a tie? Am I going to know anyone? — and it broke my heart a little. I remember how awful junior high felt. He went in, though, ditching the tie in a nanosecond (only one other boy had one).

Picture 3 is after the event. He also sent this photo to his dad, with this caption: “I’m not faking this smile now. It was fun!” He got compliments from the other event organizers, his grandparents were thrilled, and I basked in his reflected glow.

Scott and I told him we were proud of him, of course. Gushed, in fact. But the best part is he was proud of himself.

It was a good day in tweendom.

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