It's 6:45. I just got back from leaving Leslie at her first middle school youth group meeting at Sunnybrook Church. And I'm praying. Lord, am I praying.
Lord, please let her meet nice girls. Some really, really nice girls.
Leslie's shy and so anxious. She's been nervous about this for a week now. "I don't want to go. Do I have to go?" Yes, you have to go. This is how you meet people. Try it for a few weeks, and if you really hate it, then we'll all talk about it again.
Girls that will ask her for her phone number, Lord -- because she won't ask them. Girls that will call her to come over and hang out -- because she won't call them. Please, Lord.
I made the mistake of going too early. Eastin's group started at 5:30. I thought Leslie and I could just hang out at the church until the middle school "social time" started at 6 (the actual activities begin at 6:30). But that just gave her (and me) too much time to get worked up, to see all the kids coming in and congregating in groups, kids that looked older and more confident than she.
Please don't let her be sitting alone and sad right now, Lord. Please let her be talking and laughing with some new friends.
Middle school is SO awful. Everyone is so uncomfortable with themselves, they have nothing left to help someone else feel comfortable with themselves. They don't mean to be exclusive and clique-ish -- it's just self-preservation. Sometimes it's the best they can do. But it can really hurt.
When I left, the middle school youth pastor had paired Leslie up with a small group leader, who was being friendly and leading her someplace in the room -- a huge room, with lots of kids, lots of noise, lots of things going on. Leslie didn't fight me about going in. There were no tears in her eyes (a good sign), just pessimism. I'm afraid she'll convince herself she had a lousy time no matter what, just to be right about it all. She's at that age, you know.
Please, God . . give her courage . . give her things to talk about . .
One particularly emotional and hormonal evening of my pregnancy with Leslie, I remember lying in the bathtub full of hot water (trying to get relief from the bellyweight and sore muscles) and crying. Someday, somebody's going to hurt this little girl. Some snotty little twit is going to be mean to her, going to make her cry. And I can't stop it from happening. And I can't stop it from hurting afterwards either. At that moment, the thought was almost unbearable.
It's 7:01 now. I pick her (and Eastin) up at 8:00. If anyone happens to be reading this during that time (or any time), please pray with me. And maybe you should pray for me, too.
Nice girls, Lord. Please! Let her meet some really nice girls.