I sit on the lawn, waiting for the Kate and Will to get off the bus, squinting in the sunshine.  The girl waiting with me, she’s working things out.  I hear in her words how she just wants to do the right thing.  It’s easier said than done.   I’m glad she’s talking, but I sure don’t have the answers.  So I listen.

There always seems to be an incoming text on my phone.  Some days it’s during the school day, sometimes it’s in the middle of the night (but hardly ever in the early morning).  I keep my volume up just so I don’t miss it.  I want to be available.

There are a few teenage girls who make their way to my house a few times a week.  I prayed for them for a long time and then they just started coming.

I love it.  Love it.

I pick them up from school an hour before my kids come home and we just get to hang out.  Sometimes we talk about deep things– hurts and hopes and pressures they face.  Most of the time we just talk.  It’s good for me and I hope it’s good for them.

I realize it’s way more fun and way less pressure to be their friend instead of their parent.  Because don’t we all remember how one day we decided that there were other people we listened to and tried to emulate? I had a great relationship with my parents during my teen years, but that didn’t mean that I wanted to be with them all of the time.  It was a few years later that I realized oh yeah, my parents may actually know what they’re talking about.  

As I pray for these girls, I pray for my own kids.  That one day, when my voice fades into the distance, they will seek out counsel from others who are godly and wise.  Someone who will invest in them and be willing to ask the hard questions.  Someone who my kids will trust to ask the questions that they’re wrestling over.  I want to be sure that those people share my beliefs and love for Christ and are trustworthy.  Not to replace who I am– I will always be The Mom– but to come alongside me and be a trusted voice during the most tumultuous years.

It pains me a little to write that.  I like to be on the side of the equation where other girls think I’m the cool one.  I’d rather not be the Mom watching my kids seek out others.  But I also know that it’s important for them to not just be a cookie cutter of me– they need to widen their circle to explore who they are going to be.   And truthfully, Peter and I can’t parent alone.  We need others in our kids’ lives.  It happens now, and it will happen more as they grow older.

If you could choose five people in your circle to be an influence your kids, who would it be?

 It’s a question I’m praying over for my own kids, as I pray over these girls who make their way to my table each week.

P.S.  When I need parenting advice, one of my favorite blogs is Orangeparents.org