How did we get here so fast?

I’ll just start with warning you that this is one of my top 5 emotional weeks of the year…. We’re approaching 7 years, and it is still hard. February 11 would be my Gran’s 87th birthday- the whole reason this blog started. February 12- 7 years ago that my mom suddenly passed away, leaving my world spinning. February 13- Jeff’s birthday, the day instead of celebrating my husband, we spent planning my mother’s funeral. February 14- Valentine’s Day, to this day, I don’t really care to celebrate- all I can envision is the hundreds of people that came out to show how much they loved my mom. I am grateful for each one of them, but I’m still not big on celebrating Valentine’s Day. So, if the rest of this post sounds like I am an emotional basket case, or a psychopath- either could be true.

Last night was our last basketball game for Lexi Kate to cheer. I haven’t posted about what happened, and I won’t for awhile, but Lexi Kate transferred schools in November. One of the greatest blessings has been the friends she has met at her new school. She had friends at the school already, but her best friends she has developed are new. Making the basketball sideline cheer team created an instant bond with several girls, and we could not be more grateful. After the game, of course all the kids were hugging each other, celebrating a huge rival win, and taking pictures together. Because, you know if it isn’t on instagram it didn’t even happen. Anyway, of all the pictures she took, the picture Lexi Kate posted was this:

Y’all this boy is not a surprise. I even like the kid. I like his whole entire family. Trust me, he’s a good kid or he wouldn’t even be within 5 miles of my daughter. But, the reaction in my heart at seeing this post was “How in the hell did we get here?” Pull the emergency break, jump off the train! HELP!!! Why is my daughter hugging some boy, and no one is doing anything about it? Just last week I was snapping a picture of my baby girl kissing the neighbor on our back steps because he shared his popsicle. Yesterday, Lexi Kate was having her first crush and relationship, whatever that means for 7th graders “in love”. But, something about this picture hung differently with me. Maybe it’s because I have freshman orientation next week. Maybe it’s because my heart knows that when I was 14, I was starting a 4 year relationship that totally shaped my high school career. Maybe it’s because my babies have people in their lives, given the choice, they would chose to hang out with them over me?

Or, maybe it’s because God is answering the prayers I have prayed over my children and I’m not convinced I’ve prayed hard enough for all the things. Have I taught them all the things they really need to know? Are they decent human beings? Do they know how to conduct themselves in relationships? Do they have appropriate standards? Are they willing to communicate and advocate for what they want and deserve? What if they aren’t ready? What if I didn’t pray for the right thing? What if God is momentarily busy trying to hold this nation together? Mommas, pray over those babies’ hearts and step back and let God work. And, I am having to rest in this for myself. I’ve parented real hard up until this point. We are all in, at all hours of the day and night. My kids know I am here for them. But, they are growing their own wings. And, as much as it hurts, they don’t need or want me around as much. I will not clip their wings, because they were born to fly.

For us, that means letting them have these middle school and high school relationships to help find their way. And, while we know these people aren’t likely to be the ones they are with forever, I pray over them none the less. These are the boys she’s learning to trust her heart with, these are the boys she’s learning to set boundaries with, these are the boys she’s learning the importance of common ground with. To me, it’s super important she learn these lessons while I’m still close enough to coach when she looks over at the sideline. I will say both of the boys that have held part of our little girl’s heart have been a true answer to prayer. I couldn’t have picked better boys. (I actually think I may have picked the first one, or at least heavily encouraged it. Control freak, much?) Anyway, they have amazing parents that have great standards and expectations, and I love them both to pieces. Seriously, I can’t think of anything I wouldn’t do for them…. But, they both also know I would absolutely chop them into 5 million pieces if they hurt my baby girl. Have there been tears- yep months of them. Has my child been the one to cause tears- I’d say probably so. But, they are learning. Those prayers I’ve prayed since before my kids entered this world, they are being answered whether I am ready for it or not.

And, sweet Sam. I’m not leaving him out. It’s just that he is more innocent and clueless than the older child. He has a “girlfriend” and she makes him giddy. Super love the fact that because of said girlfriend haircuts and showers take much less bribery from me. She’s an amazing kid with amazing parents too. Again, an absolute answer to prayer. My boy is learning how to treat girls. We may still have some work to do in teaching him how to talk to girls that he’s not interested in, but that’s a post for another day. This week, we are focusing on helping him get brave enough to schedule a Valentine’s Day present drop off. We’re encouraging him to text her parents and ask permission to bring it over to their house. Because, even though he’s only 12; in 2 blinks he will be 16. If the girl he is interested in has parents that require a boy ask their permission to date their daughter (And I really hope she does), I want him to be ready for it. I want him to be able to look a father in the eye and that father know he is a respectable young man, and he will have respect for their daughter. My boy doesn’t lean in to me for much coaching. (Although he did let me wrap his Valentine’s Day present, because he doesn’t have that skill.) I’ve got to model so much more for him than my words say. The way his father treats me is the way he’s going to treat the ladies in his life. They way I treat his father is the way he is going to expect to be treated. And, now it is suddenly occurring to me that I am going to owe his wife a huge apology. I do everything for my boys. They are super spoiled. Oh, geez. Please Lord, don’t let him be a brat! Dear Future Daughter in Law, I will come cook for you and do laundry if Sam doesn’t help, because that’s all my fault! Yikes!!!! He’s super cute and sweet though, and he gives great gifts! He also gives the best hugs! I regress…..

Anyway, how did we get here? Middle school and “in-love” times two?!?!?! I don’t know how it happened so fast, but I do know we have prayed over and prepared for this moment. Maybe I should do more to put a cap on “young love”. But, I think back on the Bob, Kyle, Jamie’s of my middle school years and realize what a safe place those kids were to learn about myself and life. (And, if Lexi Kate is ever dumb enough to secretly get off the bus at a boy’s house instead of ours and ride 4 wheelers all afternoon, then run across a state highway to get home before I do- I will kill her! I still wonder if my mom knew I did that?) I’m grateful for their parents and mine guiding us along the way. I’m grateful for a 4 year relationship in high school. For the things that weren’t great about it, the lessons that came from that were worth it. I pray that my kids and the kids they are involved with will look back in 30 years and say they are grateful for these relationships and the lessons learned and how well they were loved by the Woodfords.

Until then I am going to be wiping tears, holding my breath, and hitting my knees like never before. These babies sure don’t keep. But, mercy I am so proud of the people they are becoming!

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