Three weeks ago, we started school. Like real school. Kindergarten.
You guys remember praying for that little baby we so badly wanted six years ago? NOW HE IS IN REAL SCHOOL. With bells and a teacher and little desks and lunch in the cafeteria and gym class and the whole shebang. And he rides the bus.
It’s been a good, hard, frustrating, exhausting, bittersweet three weeks. Because school. But also because my husband got a new job. Which was a HUGE GIGANTIC BIG-TIME answer to prayer.
It’s a great story, actually, but todays story is about school because I didn’t want my kid to go. I didn’t want summer with him to end. I didn’t want weekday trips to Target to end. I didn’t want to give up control of his influences and information. I didn’t want to listen long enough to God’s leading to actually hear what He had to say. I didn’t want my kids’ freewheeling childhood to end.
Nobody can say I don’t have a flair for the dramatic. 😉
And because none of those were reasons to keep him away, away he went. And I still don’t want those things to end. And I’m still grieving the end of a chapter, a five-year excerpt from a lifetime. And that’s ok. The grief isn’t helicopter mothering. The grief isn’t frivolous. The grief is real and raw and I’ve cried in the shower about it. The grief is also very temporary, because in this case, the benefits vastly outweigh the brief pain. On the first day of school I took a step too. I threw open my front door and invited friends in for coffee, donuts and a shoulder to rejoice or cry on. We had like a zillion children running around as we laughed, teared up, offered sage advice and a safe place to land. It was a wonderful way to start this new chapter! And Sam has come home every day plum worn out. He loves eating school lunch. He’s made a new BFF who lives across the street (that’s the dream, right?!?) He lives for center time, math, library and PE. After school he hugs his sisters and runs into my arms and eats snacks and dinner with gusto. So I’d say kindergarten is off to a good start.
Before school started, I wrote something for you. Two somethings, actually. A little dose of courage. Of ‘we got this’. Of ‘He’s got us’. Of ‘He’s got them.’ A little like an espresso shot for your heart. And a prayer, just for you, back-to-school mom. So take a moment and breathe. Rest. Tear up. Take a moment of quiet, just for you.
He stood with us in the aisles of picked-over school supplies. In the middle of the kitchen, surrounded by labels yet to be stuck on dozens of items. In the minivan driving away from a college dorm room, now stuffed with instant mac & cheese, twin XL comforters, and our whole heart. At the bus stop for the very first time. He stands with us, and He stands with our kids.
We’ve worked and prepared and packed and prayed for these days. The backpacks are full. The lunches are packed. Alarm clocks are set and outfits laid out. Bags have been stuffed and books have been bought and forms (so. many. forms.) have been filled out.
Some of us are elated. Some of us are fearful. Some of us are teary. Most of us are all of the above.
It does my heart good to remember that God goes first, especially into the places where parents cannot. He goes before. He’s ready and waiting for our kids. They do not walk through those doors alone.
I find myself questioning what more I can send with my kids into school to give them peace, love, assurance and confidence. ‘If I read that book they’ll remember. If I send a note in their lunch they’ll remember. If I go with them to college and don’t leave, they won’t be able to forget.’ 😉 But the only One who can accompany and provide everything our kids need is standing by them already. With our love tucked in their hearts and God at their side, we have done all that we can do to prepare them for this beginning.
And we hold their hands while walking into that big brick building, while leading them to the homeschool table, while walking them into the dorm. We hold their hands and He holds them close.
I’ll be praying this back-to-school month: for your heart, for my own heart, for the hearts of our kids, and in thanks to the One who gave them to us.
And here’s a prayer for you. If you need a visible pick-me-up for your heart, a prayer for you to pray as you send your little (or not-so-little) ones off to school in the morning… click here to download the prayer I wrote just for you.
Read that prayer, mama, and take a moment of peace.
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