#TheDghtrUnit is now in her second year of college. Sophomore year, y’know.
She continues evolving into a neat person. The kind we’d like to hang with even if she wasn’t related. Among our many blessings is that we have lots of hang-worthy folk in the generational gene pool. Naturally, we’re a little more elated that she has so evolved because we were in the trenches of her development when all of us wondered if we’d make it.
Those of you elated to be expecting a child, or now celebrating Baby’s First Christmas, take note: Parenting Isn’t Pretty. That little infant whose photos you spladow! all over Facebook and Instagram will grow up to be, as our friends Kurt and Pam discovered when their lad reached age two. (Or maybe age 6; or maybe age… you inhaling the coffee beans here?). Pam, having gone through the motherhood experience a couple of years before, balanced our parenting euphoria warning us the day will come when we cry: “Dear God, he’s becoming one of THEM!”
And don’t be fooled by manger decorations, nativity Christmas cards or Sunday school pageants. Sure, the song SAYS “the cattle were lowing, the baby awakes, and Little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes,” but think again, Weedhopper! Jesus was many things at birth. A mime wasn’t one of them. No doubt with cows and sheep dipping all over creation, rest assured Jesus made SOME kind of infant sounds that made his parents wonder what they had been gotten into.
Don’t be confused, either, that by the Scripture that says, “Jesus wept,” didn’t occur until he was in his 30s. That doesn’t mean he never cried until then. As fully human, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jesus was a cholicky baby. And, as fully human, I wouldn’t be surprised if he turned into ONE OF THEM! And He was one of THEM! at least twice — like He did an encore with the two loves and five fishes.
Trust No One Over the Age…
The first THEM! was maybe his Terrible Two-moments (maybe as a result of the barnyard birth, or having to high-tail it to Egypt because Herod wanted him dead). Think back: substitute “The Baby Jesus “for, say, “Thy Baby Will.” Terrible Twos working for you? Ok.
The second time Jesus became one of THEM!, He was 12, a tween. This was is the first time we hear about Him after He was dedicated and given His name; and the last time we hear about him before He starts His public ministry at age 30. (Thirty, the age which folks in the ‘60s — the 1960s; not my chronological decade — said was the age no one should be trusted. Ponder.)
By the time Jesus was 12, you may note, Mary and Joseph had had lots more kids. Jesus had so many sibs his parents lost track of him on a family field trip at Passover. They almost got home, then had to go back to Jerusalem to hunt Him down. They had an idea where Jesus may have been found – church (in this case, synagogue) – which itself is something of which parents could be proud. You HOPE your child is comfortable going to church when you’re not together. When they found Him, Jesus was holding court; jaw-jacking with the rabbis. (All of this is Luke Chapter 2.)
Jesus and Them’all
Now, if you’ve ever been in a mall and lost your kids, you can imagine how Joseph and Mary felt running around looking for Him. For three days. You can imagine what they may have said. Mary, no doubt, would have called His name so often it would have sounded like…well, when you say, “Jesus” over and over, how does it sound? Then when YOU FOUND Him, what would you have done? What would you have said? What did you want to hear from Him? And what did you get from Him? What did Mary and Joseph get? Lip.
“Didn’t you know I had to be about my Father’s business?”
Did somebody say Gospel 9-1-1? (Actually, read Luke 2:41-52.)
Joseph disappears from the gospel accounts after this, and here may be a reason: How would you, Dad, reply to your ‘Tween son had he said to you, to your face: “Didn’t you know I had to be about my Father’s business?”
Several responses are valid, and we’ll just reduce them all to Joseph reminding his son, ”I’ll show you your father’s business.” Just remember, Joseph was a carpenter before Jesus came along. Carpenter’s have woodsheds. I don’t know. I’m just saying.
I do know that verses like “train up a child” and “no discipline seems pleasant at the time…” and “God disciplines those He loves…” keep coming to mind. And I do know that once they found Jesus, the whole family promptly goes home and Joseph disappears from active duty in the Scriptures, leaving us to imagine Mary as a single-mom with a house full of kids, the oldest of whom is seems to be becoming One of THEM: a soon-to-be synagogue sophomore, a TWT — Teen with ‘Tude.
Which brings me back to #TheDghtrUnit.
Confession is Good
Among the reasons she’s becoming cool is she’s discovering the brilliance of our parenting. She’s even said, more than once, words that surpass any gift she could buy (don’t try it; buy it): “You guys were right.” Thank you. Jesus.
College has allowed her to reflect on her high school years. She has come to this conclusion: “Sophomore year, I was a jerk.” Yes, and amen. We nibbled on the edge of full disclosure that junior year wasn’t much better, but when she admitted there was some jerky residue we…encouraged her accuracy. We did, however, add that part of our brilliant parenting was getting her to college: not the paying tuition or even driving back and forth parts. We meant “getting her to college” as in, “we didn’t take you out;” as in, “you lived to make it to college.” She discovered, through new collegiate classes and relationships, that our grace was sufficient for she.
We deduced that this 15-year-old THEM-thing is something kids go through as sophomores. All of us have to become ONE OF THEM in order to become ONE OF US, whoever we are. In one of our 15-year-old squawks she unleashed that essential teen quip, “If you could remember when you were my age…?”
Fresh Earth, Wind and Fire
The problem, I told her, is that I DO…too well. When I talked her off the virtual ledge – this debate was a hassle over social media content and its potential to follow or haunt you for the rest of your life (“Hello, Senator! Hello, Congressman! Um, Adjust the angle of the selfie!”) – I shared with her my 15-year-old debacles. Similar attitudes of burgeoning adulthood and conflicting emotions of lingering innocence. It was the beginning of storytelling friendship.
When brings me to the actual reason I sat down to compose.
In the course of holiday decluttering, I’ve found several scrapbooks from my high school days: sports stuff, academic stuff, and stuff I wrote for the school newspaper, for creative writing classes and extracurricular clubs. Some of those I’ve been posting in another blog serial. There were a couple of items, though, that caused me not only to remember what I was like when I was 15, but to revisit my revelations in print. So now I ponder: dare I unwrap and publish my Christmas @ 15 musings now…or wait until Dec. 25?
You make the call. Here is a peak from when I was 15: The Shortridge Christmas Echo.
Read More: The Christmas MEMo Collection