Tag Archive | high school

Guest Post: Demons

Sometimes my 18-year-old son, Nathan, surprises me. He balks at traditional education and procrastinates writing for his classes. Then he shows me poetic masterpieces that absolutely blow my mind. The first one that captured me was composed several years ago for a class project. It was about Yellowstone National Park. It’s still one of the best things I’ve read. I’m keeping it forever. Maybe someday I’ll share it here.

He handed me the following yesterday and gave me permission to share it with you. Enjoy.

shadowy figure

Midnight comes and midnight goes

He tries to go to sleep but his eyes won’t close

His mind is in turmoil as he tosses and he turns,

He longs for some release but the nightmare returns

No peace can he find in the comfort of his bed

For no comfort can drown out the war zone in his head

He tries to cry out but his mouth won’t open

Desperately he searches for something to put his hope in

He’s drowning in the tears that are streaming from his open eyes

Screaming as his demons escape and start to terrorize

He knows that alone he is too weak to defeat this

Too weak to beat the demons with nothing but his clenched fists

So with pulsating veins and eyes turned upwards

He tries to find the strength to formulate enough words

To call upon the only one who is strong enough to save him

The one whose power is enough to cause the mountains of fear to cave in

And in the suffocating darkness he gasps and he wheezes

His dry throat only able to choke out one word: Jesus!

Now it’s the demons who scream and run away to hide

And he’s filled with such warmth and peace inside

Cause the one who conquered death is there to guard his rest

And the weight of all his fear is no longer on his chest

Now midnight comes and midnight goes

But his mind is finally at peace… and his tired eyes close.

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Nathan Reeves is a senior at Colonial High School in Orlando, Fla., where he is a student in the Cambridge Program. In the fall he will be attending the University of Central Florida, Burnett Honors College. 

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Graduation Day!

IMG_0329Today we celebrated Justin’s graduation from high school. I wish I had been better about chronicling this year, but most of the time I was living it instead of writing about it. Or maybe I just didn’t know what to say. So, here is the biggest thing I learned this year: Letting my son work out his own decisions means he’ll own those decisions more. We were always there to talk through aspects of different decisions that he might not have thought through thoroughly, but ultimately, he needed to make his own choices.

I wouldn’t have chosen for him to have a girlfriend—especially one 5 years older than he—during high school, but he thought otherwise, and so Steph came into our lives. Because I have a heart for 20-something girls, I embraced Steph as someone I could pour into spiritually. We have had long talks many times, text frequently and have lunch together every so often. I treat her like a daughter and love it when she seeks my advice. His choice; our support.

I wouldn’t have chosen for him to work split shifts at 2 different Chick-fil-A restaurants while still going to school, but he wanted the challenge (and the money) and so he did it for a couple of weeks. I was concerned about how little sleep he was going to get. He said he hadn’t crashed and burned yet. I said it was only a matter of time. He said, Nah. He did it and he survived. But I think he learned that he didn’t really want to do that again.
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I didn’t like the idea that he only had 2 classes on his campus, and a couple on the local community college campus through the dual enrollment program. That left him with a lot of time in the mornings most days, and I wondered if his motivation to attend those few classes would wane over the course of the year. He’s never had as many unexcused absences as he had this year, but still he graduated with better than a 4.0 and a ranking of 10th in his class of 600+. He kept telling me, “Don’t worry about it.” I guess I should have listened.

When he talked of moving out of the house when he turned 18—5 months shy of high-school graduation—I told him he was out of his ever-loving mind. Probably not the best approach. So I backed off and gave him some compelling reasons why he shouldn’t: he wouldn’t have access to the vehicle he’d been driving, and he would lose the college fund we have for him. When he questioned why I would say that, I told him that he was making a foolish financial decision, and I wouldn’t support that. He saw the reason behind that and dropped the idea. Now, all I can do is point out that he would have a hard time making it financially if he moved out and really needs to keep up with school so he can keep his scholarships, but ultimately, the decision to move out when he starts college is his. We’ll see how that one turns out

IMG_0311Some of the dearest words to me this year have been, “That’s a good point.” Yay! I’m glad he listens to us even though he’s independent and likes to beat his own head against the wall. He says he doesn’t like people telling him he isn’t able to do something. He wants to find out for himself. I want to keep him from failing, but I’ve learned failing is probably the only way he’s going to learn.

Just like a toddler saying, “I do it myself!”

And he most often succeeds when he tries.

Congratulations, Justin. I love you to the moon!

Time Keeps on Slippin’, Slippin’, Slippin’

I sent my baby boy off for his sophomore year of high school today. He won’t like the fact that I called him my baby boy. Plus, he’s taller than I am now. But it doesn’t matter. He doesn’t read my blog anyway. Sigh. Last night I asked him if he wanted me to get up and say goodbye to him in the morning (which is a BIG sacrifice for me, since he needs to leave the house at 6:45 or so to catch his bus at 6:52). He said no. Then he added, “You can if you want to.” So when I woke up at 6:47 and asked my husband if he had heard him, and he told me he hadn’t, I went to his room to check.

Yep, there he was snoozing away. 5 minutes until the bus arrived at a 3-minute-walk-away bus stop. Wasn’t gonna happen. So, being the kind mother that I am, I drove him. Got him there 3 minutes before the bell for first period. I don’t think he made it. But, I was guessing they were giving grace on the first day of school. But what a way to start.

So, my big, strong Air Force officer wannabe son still needs his momma. Whether he wants to admit it or not.

My desire to hang on, to make sure he has everything he needs for the day, that he hasn’t left anything behind, is hard to break. Last year I stopped myself from checking that he had his athletic shoes for an ROTC field day that he was attending. He had to wear his uniform there, but then change into PT clothes later on. Turns out, he forgot the shoes. The result? Major blisters and torn skin on the soles of his feet for his error. Lesson learned? I think so. But it’s hard to see your children suffer the consequences, isn’t it?

But what’s that saying? What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger? I bet he won’t be forgetting his shoes again.

When we go to a restaurant, my husband is telling me, let him ask the questions. Don’t baby him. But not asking the right questions can have physical consequences as he is severely allergic to dairy products. And I have more experience knowing what to ask. And what if he doesn’t have his allergy medicine with him? And, and, and.

Let it go. Cut the apron strings. He’s a big boy now.

Wrong. He’s still my baby.

Thankful today for:

561. growing independence

562. a new computer coming

563. approaching fall