Growing Pains

If you were to ask me what the biggest change of 2018 was, I could give you an easy answer.

This guy.






The change in Zac since he began 8th grade in the fall has been drastic. He started the year as one person and now half way through is a new creation.

Certainly we are not the first family to experience this kind of drastic change, but it is the first time for us, so it has felt earth shattering.

To be sure, he is rocking his life right now.

He won multiple cross country meets, and found a new way to challenge himself and see himself excel.

He had similar success in swimming, and won every event he swam in his most recent swim meet.

He also had his most recent play, Willy Wonka Jr. in which he played Mike TeaVee. Although it wasn’t the part that he initially wanted to play, once he wrapped his mind around it and embraced the part, he had a fantastic time with it. And I have found that there is truly something magical about seeing your child on stage!

We loved every minute.

Still, I haven’t loved every minute of this change. As with most big changes in life, it has involved some growing pains. As we are getting to know this new not child anymore, not yet adult, I am facing new waters to navigate. Not since he was a newborn have I felt so unqualified to be a parent and felt so unsure of my steps.

I have cried and mourned because that child that I have loved and adored and poured my life into is not coming back. I have seen and felt childhood fall away, and oh my it hurts.

I have been the one who has been pushed aside. I have been asked to drop him off around the corner as my mere presence became a source of embarrassment. I have faced new terrain as I saw hurtful words about me come across his phone in this new world where texting friends and complaining about parents has become highly important.

I have done what I know how to do. I have loved him. Oh how I love him. I love him so much that my heart could break into a million pieces.

I love him and I hold on. I know that as hard as witnessing all of these challenges is to me, enduring all of these changes is also hard for him as he experiences it.

I have faith that equilibrium will be restored, and I am seeing that on the horizon already. I can only write about this now because I can sense it coming. Even a bit earlier it was too raw to write about.

Even through all of this, he continues to impress me. He is thoughtful and kind. He wants to do good in this world and thinks about ways to do that. He challenges himself and works hard to meet his goals. He enjoys his cousins and siblings (sometimes) and continues to set a good example for how to live in this life.

I am proud of him. I a deeply deeply proud of him. I am proud of the person that he has been, the person he is, and the person he is becoming.

And I am forever grateful that he is mine, and I get to be a first hand witness to his journey.

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4 Responses to Growing Pains

  1. April says:

    I’m right there with you. Preston’s mannerisms and attitude has changed dramatically this year. Like Z he is still loving, thoughtful and kind but has definitely taken the turn into full on teenageism (my new word).
    I feel as we are too hard on him as he is changing but we are just parents doing what we can praying he always follows the right path and listens to that little voice in the back of his head reminding him the right way to handle situations.
    Times are so hard on kids with technology too.
    You are one of the BEST mothers I have ever known. Please never doubt yourself. I wish for just a day I could be as wonderful as you are!
    Happy New Year to all of the family! We love y’all with all of our hearts!

  2. Brea says:

    Oh, man, this is hard to hear, as I know we are on the cusp of these same changes. They haven’t hit just yet, but they are coming. You expressed your struggle and your mother’s heart so beautifully.

    I recently purchased this parenting seminar on parenting adolescents:

    John Cox is a psychologist who taught a parenting seminar at our church years back. He is brilliant (and hilarious). His overall premise is parenting with the “big picture” in mind. Highly recommend.

    The thing that stood out to me in listening to this is that in each developmental phase we have to understand what speaks love to the child. When they are little, that is often closeness.

    For the adolescent, that is celebrating their steps toward independence away from us. He points out how hard and painful that is – to see them growing away from us. But to the degree we can celebrate that, they will come back to us on the other side of it.

    I’m pretty sure this will all be harder than the little years. Growing pains indeed. Love and prayers to you.

  3. Betty Lynam says:

    My grandson, Harrison (Diana’s middle son), now goes to Milton High School. He has acted in several plays and is the chorus which will go to Italy this summer. He has always loved drama. You’re right – it is so fantastic to see what they can do on stage. This is a bumpy age, but it does have lots of pluses. Hang in there. Betty

  4. Donna Smith says:

    You speak right to my heart Emily! Love just hurts….so good. Don’t worry at all….he will come back to you with great love; trust me, I know from experience. It’s awesome to see your kids develop their talents. There were times I watched them in some play, sport or dance and thought–how are these kids possibly related to me?? They are both kind, thoughtful and decent people. We are truly blessed.

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