Those men’s belts are way too big for my 12 year old. That’s what I decided last week while I was standing in the middle of WalMart. A 42 inch belt would wrap around Ethan’s waist twice.
Where do they keep the belts for 90 lb 12 year olds?
And so, I did the thing we all do when we need to solve a problem. I pulled out my phone and sent a quick SOS to my friend. “Help! Where do I find the belts for kids?” Magically, a hand-drawn map popped up on my phone and I was able to find what I needed.
I picked the two-pack: the one with one black belt and one brown belt. The fact that Ethan won’t know which belt to wear with which pair of pants crosses my mind. 3 minutes later, I find myself wandering aimlessly in the men’s sock aisle. What socks does one wear with school uniform dress shorts and dress shoes?
How did my little boy’s feet get so big? Wasn’t I just in the children’s section?
These are the problems I attempt to solve when the bigger questions linger just so in the back of my brain- the questions I really want to ask:
How did we get HERE?-
That place where Ethan doesn’t sleep in footy pajamas, but the men’s belts are way too big.
That place where the kid’s table is too little and the adults aren’t quite ready to give him a seat.
That place where I can catch glimpses of the man he’s going to be, but he can’t be bothered to remember to shower without prompting.
He’s planted right here on the middle line.
It’s like an amusement park ride that is equal parts exhilarating and terrifying.
Emily P. Freeman writes about this experience and says, “Welcome to mid-life, mom.”
I’m still coming to grips with this “middle world” where my oldest kids are hovering ever closer to the launching pad while I’m trying to make peace with my own life stage. Middle-school and mid-life. It seems there’s always something around the bend to shake up our complacency.
Every once in awhile, I hear something surprisingly smart tumble out of my mouth. Yesterday was one of those days. While sitting in our therapist’s office, she asked if I had any thoughts to add to the end of one of my child’s sessions. This is what I said:
“As I look back over the last couple of years, I see all the bumps in the road that seemed so big and overwhelming. We wondered if we would get over them. Surprisingly, every time, we did. We didn’t always recognize it as it happened. Looking back, I can see a whole line of things that we conquered. It gives me hope for the next big thing.”
She stopped me and made sure we all heard what I said.
There will be a next big, difficult thing, but we’ll get through it just like we have in the past.
I first thought that message was for one of my children, but I needed it just as much.
This is for the moms smack dab in the middle of mid-life and the kids in the awkward middle school years. It’s awkward and uncomfortable. It’s shopping in the kids section and the adult section while having a hot flash.
Maybe you need the reminder, too.
“I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil 1:6)