The school year has begun and we’re back into routine. Our newsfeeds were inundated with First Day pictures of neatly dressed children, immaculately combed hair, and beautifully artistic chalkboards announcing the new grade. Our family’s very first “First Day of School” occurred last year. I’d been monitoring the newsfeeds for years and had heard all my friends’ stories and read the blogs about this famed day. I had tissue stuffed in my back pocket just in case, because I was told I’d need it. I wasn’t so sure.
Allow me to explain. I love being a mom. It’s exactly what I had hoped for and dreamed of since I was a little girl, almost from the beginning. I’m the kind of mom that enjoys reading stories to my kids (for a defined period). I enjoy going on hikes with them (when they’re not complaining about it the whole time). And I enjoy watching movies with them because I love movies.
However, I really enjoy how my house feels when it is clean and everything is in its place. A cluttered house in mayhem leaves me paralyzed. So huge craft projects and the like? Let’s just face it – 9 times out of 10, it isn’t happening in my house. When I do cave and get out all the watercolors, I usually just leave the room so I don’t have to watch the destruction unfold in front of me. I’m not spending hours in the kitchen developing a ton of nutritious, creative snacks. I don’t enjoy it and they won’t eat it anyway. And I’ve been counting the hours for six years until I could experience free time on a regular basis, in a quiet, clean house.
So these stories of tears and struggles watching their kids go off to Kindergarten didn’t seem to apply to me. I assumed these mom friends were wired differently than I and have the patience of Job, tirelessly crafting with their kids. Well, the truth is…I did cry watching my tiny, “big” boy trot off with his teacher. And what surprised me is almost every day thereafter (when I wasn’t screeching in to the school drive to avoid tardiness), I would watch him trot off into that building and each time a part of me would die inside. The tears were always waiting to spill, just inside my lids. Another year has rolled around and I have all three of my kids in some sort of school. I couldn’t sleep the night before my oldest daughter started Pre-K. I’ve been through this before. I should be a pro. I’ve been craving this quiet, clean house all summer. And still a part of me died when I left her in that room.
I now realize it’s the part of me that is supposed to die. The part of me that wants to control everything around them to keep them safe. The part of me that wants to make sure nothing ever hurts them. The part of me that desires a place of prominence in their lives. And that part of me needs to die, because it’s not my job to manage everything around them. And while I play an extremely important role, I shouldn’t be the most important thing in their lives. They belong to God and they have from the very beginning. I’m simply a fiduciary, charged with loving them and guiding them to our true Father. I must die to myself and allow my God to guard them, protect them, and show them who he is as THEIR God. He is the most important thing in their lives. With every milestone, I’ll continue to die with each step until I drop them off at college and see them get married and start their own families (for the record, I am NOT ready for that yet…baby steps). My God is faithful and I can die to myself and trust Him.