With the smell of sharpened pencils, and the kerplunk of markers in a lift-top desk, our summer was officially considered over when we walked through the halls of school, met the teachers, hit the showers, said bedtime prayers, and tucked in night owls a couple hours earlier than "normal".
It's exciting. A little nerve-wracking. And swollen with anticipation that could burst into a downpour of confetti or a wild storm of growing pains--or maybe both.
Our brave kids walk into a sea of children--some familiar, some not. They trust their well-being to adults they have never seen--because Mama (and the principal) says so. And they wonder what lies ahead--with a little more maturity and understanding of all that could go right...and all that could go wrong. Partly from experience, and partly from imaginations much too large for their tiny hearts.
Oh, how I want to squeeze them tight and promise things I just can't promise.
When my son cries deeply because of the fear of losing his best friend to kids in another class, I want to scoop him up and agree to his plea, "will you homeschool me?" Well, maybe I don't want to, but some weak, fleeting thought may have considered it just for him.
When my other son worries about his new haircut, and begins to consider all the awful things that his friends might have thought when they saw him today, I want to squeeze him by the shoulders and say, "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?" But, I know he's not. Because He. IS. my. child. And this is more proof than a blood test.
And with the jittery excitement of a jumping bean, my sixth grader has surprised me with his attitude. I am so, so, so proud of this kid, who weeks ago, swore that he would only go to middle school kicking and screaming.
And it was all because of fear that he would be made fun of because of something he can't change-- his name.
At just the right moment, God led us to a study about Jabez that seemed written for my son. And I forced him to read it. Yes, sometimes mamas are easier to be around if you just do what they say.
Who knows if that changed his heart about this giant step. Maybe it gave him peace.
But he is human, and today, his confidence did wobble a bit when I asked what his goal was for this year: To not be made fun of.
My heart breaks a little, and I begin to rattle off comebacks in my head to the imaginary bully. Mainly, though, I think "please don't ruin this time for him."
Potential. So much potential.
I sit here and think how out of control I feel, and not just because there are papers strewn across the floor and unorganized school files waiting to purge old assignments and make room for new ones. And not because I forgot to buy Kleenex for one classroom, and I don't know where the water bottles are, and I haven't caught up on laundry.
I just feel out of control as a guardian for my kids. But in a way that I know I must, because it is during these times where my children get the chance to grow their wings. Through the pangs, through the heartache, through the desperate need of prayer. And I am just thankful that all three boys know the importance of at least the latter.
First day of school tomorrow. Arriving so quickly. Summer might be over, and there might be clouds ahead, but, I pray, the adventure ahead has enough sunshine to grow my children after the rain.