She needs a friend.
She searches it out in me, her Mama.
The one who sets the rules, makes her brush her still falling out baby teeth, tailors her curriculum, disciplines, and tucks her into bed at night.
I look forward to the day where I am less parent and more friend, but that is a good decade or more in our future. She desires it now...and it makes me wistful that I cannot yet gift it to her. For the time being, I am charged with shaping her heart.
She needs a comrade to pal around with, giggle, and share secrets...with which she can be a goof.
Her soul, sweet and tender, often bruised by the unkindness of those around her.
She’s always been
In one-too-many ways, grown-up before her time
Being incredibly intelligent doesn’t help things; other ten in less than two weeks eleven year olds don’t enjoy better yet prefer conversations with adults or consider those three to four years older “peers”. Most of the tweens she knows are into Tiger Beat magazine. She’s never flipped though the glossy pages. She prefers discussing our Compassion Child to chatting up Justin Bieber. Her heart is heavy, even troubled, with the weight of the unknown for missionaries she holds dear to her little heart. She’s able to pretend that I can do anything because I once did...effortlessly in her eyes. She doesn’t want to see my limitations. I’m often asked to push them aside so that she can continue to perceive me as completely whole because the reality terrifies her.
She has “friends”. I’d consider her popular, both with parents and peers. More individuals than she could count on both hands and toes consider her a buddy. Her laughter is shared and multiplied and her shoulder is often used. Like a magnet, she draws people to her with sweetness and an open, beautiful heart. But where does she place her burdens? Like a kettle, she holds them till steam comes out and the whistle blows. Everything falls apart and she feels alone.
My rational heart knows that this is a trying, difficult age. I’ve navigated not always successfully this maze she’s in and I wouldn’t voluntarily experience it again. Okay, in honesty, I’d rather have all of my toes amputated than be her age. At eleven I was heavy with the weight of steroids and medication, rode a short bus, and used a wheelchair, all while attending a public school. It was a time I’ll forever refer to as “the dark years”. I’d rather be almost any age than eleven. I, of all people, get it. But she’s not me...she’s beautiful and petite and well received. Her eyes sparkle and her smile warms. She thinks she’s okay going it mostly alone, but she’s not.
I’ve been there.
So, I pray. I ask God to give this girl of ours, the one with the sweet, feisty, tender heart, a friend. A buddy. One who will accept her where she’s at, cheer for each and every accomplishment, and support her through thick and thin. I’m asking Him for a girl who shares her interests and her faith.
A big request? You betcha.
But I’m counting on it being filled, for it’s His desire that we’re in community with others...whether we’re eleven or four times that number.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another...” Proverbs 27:17