An Open Letter to Our 12 Year Old Son

Jacob Ryan,

I know you're sick of hearing how fast you've grown up. You're sick of me squeezing your face and kissing your cheeks. And if you paid better attention you'd be sick of me staring at your mustache slowly forming above your lip. I mostly look at it when you are staring at your phone. I have tricks. 

So look bud here's the deal. I'm your biggest fan. No one wants you to be awesome more than I do. Well maybe your dad but that's beside the point. I carried you IN MY WOMB for crying out loud. I win. 

I love your sense of humor. I love the way you build up your brothers with kind words and hugs at just the right times. I love your ability to make people smile without drawing attention to yourself. I love the quiet confidence you have about you. I love the vulnerable side of you that is revealed when we see through your old soul personality into the pre-teen with awkward feet and screwy hormones and goofy thoughts that spew into words sometimes before you can catch them and control them. I love that you still giggle at dumb jokes. 

I love you exactly the way you are. 

And now you are changing. 

And I'm not an expert on this pre-teen mom business. I have some reading to do. A lot more praying to do. Some hoping and dreaming and guiding to do. I don't want to mess up, Jacob. This is such a crucial time in your life and this parenting gig ain't easy. We have a long way to go together. I can already imagine you OWNING manhood and all that comes with that but we aren't there yet and I'm a little anxious about it. 

So here's my prayer.

My prayer is that every time you hear me cheering for your 3 point shot...every time you hear me praising a great grade or encouraging better ones...every time we have tough conversations and stumble over discipline decisions...and every time we have to take your phone or your freedom...I pray you know you are loved. Not just by us, the parents. But by a great God who has given you boundaries to keep you safe and make you the best YOU that you can be. The Jacob Ryan Politte He created you to be.

I know you love Jesus, Jacob. I am so thankful. And because of that I see in your heart and mind SUCH GREATNESS. I see a young man made in the image of God. A young man growing in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man and I cannot contain my gratitude that the JOY over who you are and all that God is doing in you overwhelms the fear in my heart of what the future holds and how we might handle it as your parents. 

I have great hope, Jacob. Even in the hardest moments. Even when I see your broken heart and defeated face. Even when you don't make a team that all your best buddies made. Even when you bomb a test because you played games on your phone instead of studying. Even when you make a terrible choice to blatantly disobey.....I have great hope. 

Because every failure points you to Jesus. So we don't have to fear. We don't have to shelter you [as much as I'd like to]. We don't have to run and scoop you up and save you from this cold world because God made  a way for that already, bud. I am SO GLAD HE DID (and I know you are too) because my first instinct when you fall or when you fail or when you hurt is to FIX IT!! With a phone call or running onto the court (God forbid) or an email or a passive aggressive Facebook status. But God says

"Shea. Let me make him into a man. 

Let him fail.

Let him hurt.

Let him fall down.

Let ME pick him up.

Let me create a man who can stand tall in the face of adversity. Let me hold him. Let me build him back up. Let me chip away at the hard parts and stir up the sweet spirit in him and use his life to draw others to ME.

Rest, mama. I've got this." 

I surrender. I'll just point you to Jesus. 

At this awesome age of manhood and all that lies ahead for you, I want you to know that above all, Jacob, I trust God with you. I'm taking deep breaths and backing off a bit. It isn't easy and I will need your patience with me as I learn how to be a mom to a young man instead of a little boy. But I have great confidence in God that He is at work in you for your good and His glory and that makes my mama heart relax a little and just enjoy the ride. 

You're in good Hands, my little man. 

I'll love you forever, 
Mom <3