Gabe loves structure- a lot! He likes to know how things are going to go down, and when he does, he thrives! I think this is why me and him get along so well. For instance, after running errands, as we're pulling in the driveway, we work out a plan: "Gabe, I'm going to take Max to his bed for a nap, and then we'll carry in the groceries. I'll put them away if you'll wash the grapes and pick them off the stems, then we'll make the cookies." And as soon as we're in park, he is ON it!!
His mornings look a lot like that too. He has a white board in his room with a list:
1. Shower and get dressed
2. Brush your teeth and hair
3. Make your bed
4. Eat breakfast
5. Put your lunch and snack in your bookbag
6. Be at the bus stop by 7:15
7. Have a super day! (added by my mom :) )
So at 6:30am, Gabe's alarm goes off. He immediately jumps up and heads straight to the bathroom and runs through his list-- without fail. Sometimes he's a little faster and sometimes he's a little slower... but regardless, he's at the bus stop by 7:15, looking sharp, with a smile on his face. :)
We've got a good thing going on here, I know this. But you also know from this blog, that I have a hard time with how fast everything happens in the life of these kiddies. I swear, it was just last year that I met Gabe-- he was three but told me he was 5 for the day. His eyes were huge, as were his cheeks and his puffy wavey hair, and his hands still had the baby knuckle dimples. And now, he gets up on his own, he has his own alarm clock, and he gets himself ALL ready. Gulp.
Well one morning last week, I looked outside and he was standing at the bus stop without a coat. And it was in the low 40's. Problem! So I called him back to the front door, ran upstairs to get his coat, and put it on him. Then he headed back to the end of the driveway (his bus stop) and I went back to my morning routine. Well, about 5 minutes later, Gabe came back in the house and told me that a neighbor drove by and told him the elementary bus had already gone by. Gabe was NOT happy about this-- he was convinced that the bus flew by him while he was on the sidewalk putting on his coat. This cracked me up, because the bus is so loud, it's bright yellow, and it has a large blinky light on top... I was pretty sure it didn't fly by us without us noticing! I figured out pretty quickly what had happened-- this was the first day after daylight savings time-- and he always uses the microwave clock to determine when it's time to head outside-- and he goes out right at 7:15 because the bus comes by 7:17-- so obviously, whoever changed the clock, didn't make it exact, which would cause a glitch in the bus stop timing. I asked Chad what time his phone said: "7:25" and then I looked at the microwave: "7:22"... so his missed the bus way before the whole coat incident.
But Gabe would just NOT take this explanation. I got Max dressed and drove Gabe up to his school, by this time we were also about 3 minutes late for school, so we had to sign him in. The lady at the desk greeted Gabe, and he didn't make eye contact or respond. So I bent over and whispered to him, "Gabe, when an adult speaks to you, you need to make eye contact and answer them clearly. That is how we show respect." So he looked up, and started to tell the lady about the morning's saga: "Good morning, but for me, it wasn't a good morning, because while I went to get my coat, the bus flew right by me, and I didn't even know it even though I was outside. Then this lady stopped her car and I thought she was going to steal me, so I started running to the house, but really she just told me that I had missed the bus. Can you believe she (pointing to me) made me put on my coat and miss the bus?"
Then he took the pass she had written for him, and walked to class. Instead of saying anything, I just chuckled and left too.
A couple days later, I went to bed early feeling sickly. And I also went to bed without fixing Gabe's lunch or his snack. So the next morning, when he got to step 5 on the list, there was nothing in the fridge to put in his bookbag! So Chad talked him through packing his own lunch. And his own snack. And after everything was said and done, Gabe looked at his Dad and said, "Now that I know how to do this, and fix my own breakfast, I don't even need to see you all in the morning." He was NOT disrespectful at all when he said this, he thought this was a great plan.
And as if that wasn't enough, this morning, Gabe came in our room is his handsome brown boots, navy cords, and a striped rugby shirt with a collar and I told him he was looking so good that he might get a girlfriend today. Do you know what he said to me? He said he already knows who he likes. Excuse me. EXCUSE ME! Not too long ago, I was his girlfriend, and anytime that word was mentioned, he would let anyone know that-- but not today. No, the words 'Lauren is my girlfriend' didn't even enter his mind, instead, it was Kelsey. Kelsey, Kelsey, Kelsey.
This caused me to flair up- it caught me totally off guard... he's really growing up. He not only gets himself ready and can fix his own lunch, but he also helps unload the dishwasher and takes care of Max while I fix dinner. He forms his own thoughts, and troubleshoots to find a better way to do things-- he speaks to adults well and explains situations clearly, effectively, and usually with humor! And he wants to do things on his own-- he's ok with the idea of not seeing an adult in the morning-- he's ok being Gabe, and he's very comfortable and confident in his abilities. And he likes a girl. GULP!
Dear Lord, teach me to let go and let him grow up accordingly. Teach me to encourage independence from us and the world and social norms, yet point him towards dependance on You. Guide us on how to train him and equip him to be a responsible, respectful man with impeccable character. And God, help me to love ole what's her name, all the what's her names to come, in a manner that shows respect for Gabe and leads him to make wise choices about relationships and his heart. But God, if you want to keep all girls from him for about 20 more years, maybe even rekindle his affections for his first girlfriend (me!)- one that promises not to break up with him or lead him on or manipulate him, or any of those other nasty things girls do- then that's fine by me! Amen!