Thoughts on watching kids grow

Watching kids grow up can be a terrifying idea when you are a parent. You have this responsibility to keep this child alive. But more than that, you have to nurture and love them. You have to teach them and model life for them. You have to let them go and let them live. All of that is tough. All of that requires patience and strength. It's all hard. None of it is easy. And no matter what, we tend to mess up our kids one way or the other. While doing the best we can (most of the time), we can just hope and pray they turn out.

I used to think so often that I wasn't the right way for Caleb. I didn't pull out the crafts or sing songs with hand motions or make him instantly laugh at any time like I have seen others do with him. I just kind of...chilled. I was around. And we would go out and walk and sit at the park. We would read and hang out. I felt like I had to be more, do more, be this other person that I am not. Because I am not a kiddy type person. There is no sign of Mary Poppins up in here. Unless she does dance parties. I finally decided to just be myself. Even if it seems bland or boring or less exciting. Caleb's dad is like a big toddler. I am more serious. And that's okay. Caleb seems to be okay with me. 

Today Caleb told me that he doesn't like his friend Mark because "he tends to be a pirate." I asked him what he pretends to be, and he told me a jet. A firefighter jet. Then he explained what these do and how they work. When I picked Caleb up today, he and Mark were playing and shoving and laughing  They were beaming while they sat together on a bench. I regretted once again, not having my camera with me.

I enjoy watching kids of all ages interact with each other. It's amazing to see them. They are like an ongoing sociological study. Each age group acts so clearly typical for their developmental stage. I remember back on each phase, laughing to myself as I compare how similar we all are as people. We are all different, yet go through some of the same stuff. 

I know I mentioned this in my 26 bday recap post, but I was watching elementary aged kids play at a park on my birthday. They automatically teamed up, boys versus girls, having never met. They were out to get each other and hurled so many unkind words at each other. I was actually seriously not a fan. The meanest things they could think of, they said. They threw sand and looked for each other and ran and seemed angry yet kept going. 

Then I watch the middle school kids. Boy or girl crazed. Infatuated. And the younger ones trying to be on the same page as them. They sit around, clearly trying to be cool with their technology devices and music. I remembered doing the same thing. I thought I was so cool because I was listening to MXPX as loud as I could. I thought the adults thought I was cool. I wasn't. Really, I should have been embarrassed at myself. Now I just think it's funny. 

Yep, high school Reb right here.
Working at the theater.
The high school kids are always the same. In their different groups or walking with their specific friends, they usually have some style going on. It is so familiar for me to see the punk boys with their tight pants, crotch patches, mohawks and studs. I had friends like that in high school whom I love to this day. And the emo girls and the urban outfitter type of people, etc. It's just amazing to watch all these people in all these different ages, grow up and develop in different ways. We each live such different lives, and in some ways, can still identify with each other. Even across these age barriers. We can look back and recognize where the younger people are at. I know for me at least, I am often amused at what I see. Or I feel like I can relate. Each stage presents humiliation and humor all wrapped up together. For people like me, that just doesn't end. My general person will guarantee a few things: pictures, enjoyment of food and dessert, and that I will embarrass either you or myself at some point in time. Anyway, here's to growing up. It's kind of a trip being on the opposite end now, as a parent.

Random pictures with my little growing boy:

3 years old. Caleb & Abbie. I lived with Abbie's mama Heather since I was a Junior in high school, up until I went to college at APU. Her and her husband Darren are like apart of my extended family.
Here is Caleb in mid tunnel from yesterday. Jessie and I are the tunnel. He would dash through us as fast as he could while chasing Jessie's dog, Indie. 
Stuff a three year old does: Wreak general havoc, become anything from a firefighter to a panting dog in a matter of moments, and leave their crap all of the place. In this case, random assortment of blankets on the couch, toys, and Tigger were left. Oh, and who knows what he used that laundry basket for. Or maybe that was just me...doing the laundry. 
As a side note, growing up for me often felt like an isolating experience. Until recently, I had always felt like I raised myself. While I have felt alone for so long, I had friends and community along the way. I was never truly alone. I also had God directing my path. But when you have the absence of the warmth, love, and safety of a family, growing up is just a very different This isn't to say that I don't have a nuclear family with my mom, sister, and dad. I do. I lived with them until I was 17. But it wasn't a healthy environment, and it damaged me deeply.

Sometimes, I would stay at different people's houses. Eventually, I would still have to give them back the key to their house. This always saddened me because it always felt like a symbol that I was not actually in their family. They were like family, but I was still on my own. And actually, until recently, I have always dreamed of marrying some guy who would make his family my own. I felt like maybe then, I would finally belong and have a home base. I would finally be apart of a loving, stable family. However, I have recently realized that this hope that I have had has been misplaced this entire time. My home isn't in some future person I may or may not meet. It's with God. It always has been, even though I have felt like a nomad. And my home with him is eternal. I have had other pseudo family along the way, the first being with the C. Street Crew (Amy, Christy, & Heather). But my home base is here, with God. I may not always feel this, but it's true. And it's about time I realized this.