Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Finding his way

As he left the car and walked into school, I couldn’t help but think about how far we have come and how much further we have to go. He had a field trip that day, and he had put his own outfit together. This in itself, was amazing. A year ago, he would have thrown on whatever he found on the floor or whatever I had laid out for him, but not today. Today, he had put on his favorite football jersey, “flat-billed” hat, perfectly matching “Elite” socks and “Nike” socks. He had even sprayed himself with cologne.  He strutted into the school feeling good, dare I say “cool”.
In my mind, I couldn’t help but reminisce about the many years I had hoped desperately for easier times as he timidly walked into school, a place of insecurity and unacceptance. A place he hated.
Now, in these treacherous years of middle school, he is somehow finding his way. No, these years are not the easiest. Most days at home are tough. His hormones are raging; his voice is changing; he’s growing at a rapid pace, but he has found comfort amongst friends he has made at school. He feels like part of something.
Sometimes I fear that his safety is false. I know that many of the friendships he has may not be true blue friendships. Middle school can be brutal. I contemplate how hurt he might be if or when he finds out that these kids are using him or making fun of him behind his back. For now, however, he feels like “one of the guys” and that is important.
 I have not fallen prey to the idea that some cools socks, shoes, and hats will help him fit in with the other kids.  I am not naive enough to think that these things will help them overlook the social clues he misses or the other ways he does not fit the mold. I just pray that in these years of turmoil, when he is fighting and clawing his way out of childhood into the changes the teen years and adulthood will bring, he will glide right through without a scratch.
 I know I am fighting a never ending battle. I will fight the battles as they come. On this day, my  battle was to make sure he was excited about the field trip and that he felt good about himself. From the strut he had walking into school, I would say we won this battle!