Hello, Mini-Women! Before we go any further, can we just all agree that my granddaughter is the cutest baby EVER? Even covered in oatmeal (her first attempt at real food), she's WAY precious. On her, that "You have GOT to be kidding me," expression is priceless.
So, how come nobody says YOU'RE adorable when YOU protest that this growing up thing is far too hard? Why doesn't anybody run for the camera when YOU burst into tears because life is suddenly so full of stuff you just don't GET? What's up with that?
I don't know, because I personally think you're perfectly fabulous, even in your struggles. I've told you before: you're my favorite brand of kid. Which is why (in case you missed the post last week) we're going to spend the summer both talking about the things that are pretty hard about this part of growing up AND remembering to be kids at the same time.
You've been great about posting your three biggest struggles -- and isn't it FASCINATING that so many of you mentioned the same things? I definitely think we HAVE to start with, as ORH puts it, "All those feelings!" or we'll probably all explode at the same time!
Somewhere around age 10 (sometimes sooner, sometimes later-- because everybody develops at a different rate) most girls realize that their moods seem to be at a theme park, you know what I mean? One hour (or minute) you feel like letting it all hang out in silliness, and the next you're stuck in a funk. It's like being on a roller coaster. And sometimes, you're not even sure HOW you're feeling, right? At our house, we call that having the "I can't help its." You don't know why you're all restless or weepy or cranky -- all you know is that you just can't help it.
In a way, you can't. Some of that whole teeter-totter mood thing is caused by new hormones your body is producing. They're the same ones that are making your legs hairier and your pits sweatier. Lovely things, those hormones. Some girls are really thrown right OFF the roller coaster by changing moods, and others barely seem to notice them (the luckies). Eventually, everybody learns how to adjust to those changes, hopefully before you decide you're a total drama queen next to your best friend who never sheds a tear. In the meantime, the thing to remember is that just how your moods bounce around --or don't bounce around -- depends partly on the way you've always reacted to the things that happen around you. If you were born a sensitive baby, you're probably going to be extra sensitive these days. That was me, totally. I remember going through a lot of Kleenex when I was 11 and 12, and my mother used to say I was as bad as I was when I was six months old. Nice. If on the other hand you've been a little toughie from birth, you'll more than likely be a little short-tempered in these mood-changing years -- maybe more rebellious than your weepier friends. If you've been laid back since day one, that will probably continue. Basically, who you are emotionally will seem to be magnified about a jillion times in your tween years.
Now, before you start going, "Yikes! Do I have to be a basket case until I'm thirteen?" just remember that even though all these bounce-around feelings can be confusing, weird, and, let's face it, downright scary, you don't have to go it alone. You've got God, who designed the whole growing-up process in the first place. Even if you don't particularly feel like THANKING God for that right now, you can at least take some comfort in the fact that when nobody else understands (and nobody does ALL the time), God is always there to listen to you when you have complaints and doubts and fears about becoming a mini-woman. Jesus himself said that the Father cares about even your tiniest, most miniscule little worry . Get this:
"What's the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. He pays even grater attention to you, down to the last detail -- even numbering the hairs on your head." (Matthew 10: 29-31, The Message)
So, yeah, you do have to learn to deal with feelings you never had before. Friday we're going to do a fun thing with that (more on that in a minute). But for now, isn't it just kind of good to know that:
(a) just about every girl your age goes through this because it's part of becoming a woman?
(b) God really gives a rip about how you feel, even though all your friends are so busy trying to figure out their own feelings they don't have time to understand yours, and even though your mom does her best but doesn't always have TIME to listen to all you need to vent because she's like, running the entire house?
So here's what I think you should do today. Find a quiet place (if you can! How about a place where you won't be interrupted by a sibling for ten minutes?) Take a journal with you, or, if it's a far-away-from-everybody place just say it out loud -- and tell God everything you've got bottled up in you that is making you want to bite a pillow or sit down and sob or turn a thousand cartwheels so you don't have to think. Hormones make "everything" seem bigger and snarlier, and you can't control those; but venting to God can help you get a handle on the "everything" so the hormones can't use them like ammunition any more! (By the way, if you're not sure how to get it all out to God, try reading Psalm 109 out loud. You'll get it . . .)
If you would like to post today: tell us what happened when you laid out all your mixed-up feelings for God. You don't have to tell us what those feelings were or what caused them. (that's some pretty private stuff) But do share with us how you felt afterward and even how it helped. The more stories we have, the more we can support each other.
On Friday, you'll need that scrapbook we talked about last time, so if you missed that explanation and suggestions, go back and check that outin the last post. We'll do something fun with those feelings -- so be sure and get 'em out there.
And if you haven't listed your three (and only three!) top hardest things about growing up, there's still time. Yeah, it's going to be a great summer, Mini-Women!