Our lives have been filled with many firsts lately. When I thought about writing this post, I was thinking more about the firsts that Gage has been experiencing - outdoor school, middle school dances, mainstream classrooms, but the more I thought about it I am experiencing firsts as well. It's amazing how easy it is to lose sight of the newness of life when you are going 90 miles a hour ahead into the unknown.
Gage went to outdoor school this past week. He was so excited about it. As long as I have known Gage, he has talked excitedly about outdoor school. His older cousin Jonah got to go a few years ago, and I think that is probably when the seed was planted in Gage's mind. He would bring it up randomly, but more so when we were preparing to go camping or were actually camping. He would hypothesize what it would be like to sleep away at camp with strangers, or whether he would like the food. Sometimes he would talk about the stuff he would like to do including archery, swimming, food fights and general tweenage fun.
When the time came this year to actually go to outdoor school, I was a little worried that he wouldn't enjoy it as much. I know what it's like to build something up in your head so much that there is no humanly way possible for it to come true. I really hoped it wouldn't happen this way for him. So when I saw his sweet face debarking from the school bus last Friday, I was excited to hear how it went.
For nearly two hours he recalled all his adventures, shared stories of hiking, archery, new friends, bugs, two desserts a day, short showers, dressing in sleeping bags, earning beads for leadership and all the other fun he had. After he finished up, I asked him if it was everything he thought it would be. His answer was no, but that he would do it again if he had the chance.
That response was another first for Gage. He has rounded the corner heading full steam ahead towards maturity, and we have been working hard to help him realize that life isn't always going to be the way you want it. However, you do have a choice in how you respond. You can either stew on what you don't have, think you deserve, didn't get and want to have or you can enjoy the ride and know that maybe next time it will be different. It's a hard lesson for anyone, but he's getting it.
It's moments like these that are firsts for me. I feel like I am really contributing to the wellbeing of this sweet child. Occasionally I have moments where I feel frustrated or unsure in my role. I am not his biological mom, but I am responsible for his wellbeing, both physical and emotional. There are things that if I had it my way, I would have done differently. However, at this point it's neither here nor there. So I sit back in my role as step-mom and do my best, hoping some of my good qualities will rub off on him too. I can't wait for more firsts and being there to share them with him.