Monday, August 19, 2013

We have a Kindergartner!

Pin It Having been in education for seven years before the girls came along, I have seen many first days come and go. I watched as the Kindergarten parents walked their little dears down to the classrooms: tissues in hand with red noses and bleeding mascara. Most of the time I thought to myself that will NEVER be me! Even up until last week, I still felt that way...then it happened. My husband offered to go with us to take Elena on the first day. I lost it...I mean, ugly cry lost it...then never really got it back. I have been an emotional wreck since then, crying "happy tears" as we call them around here, each time I thought of letting her go.

I'm a planner...not because I feel like it always has to be just so, but more so I can be mentally prepared for what may happen. God is teaching me some things about that and today was one of those days where He showed me just how much I need to work on letting go and trusting Him instead.

I began my day in Romans 12:9-16. This is my prayer for Elena and her class this year. Then I poured out my heart to God (pretty sure I stained that page in Romans with some spilled coffee and tears as I prayed). I confessed my lack of faith and pleaded with Him to lift me up today. Before I was ready, it was time to wake the girls and get the morning under way.

Per Elena's request, we had home-made blueberry pancakes for breakfast. I started working on them then went into the girls' room to wake them. She bounced out of bed, made her bed without complaining and got herself dressed (I'm not snowed into thinking this is how it will be every day, but I'm glad today was that way). She insisted I put her hair up and she wear a bib so she didn't get syrup in her hair or on her new "music" shirt. (Then she asked that I not comb her hair because it looked BEAUTIFUL just the way it was). It was unintentional, but that's just what happened! I completely ran out of time to brush her hair and put it up again so she went with a funky pony-tail of un-combed hair this morning. She was happy as a lark, and I am learning that happiness is sometimes more important than having a perfect appearance.

I know that every good parent's goal is to have their child grow up to be a responsible adult who is able to think and do for themselves. That begins with allowing kids responsibilities and choices, sometimes earlier than we would like. Elena picked out her outfit, dressed herself, designed her book bag, and packed her own lunch for this morning...and I have NEVER seen this girl more proud! Tough for me to let go (and none of the choices I would have made myself), but totally worth it to see the satisfaction on her face.

I'm STILL not used to getting three kiddos ready and out the door to go ANYWHERE (much less trying to do it about an hour earlier than we ever have before, without Daddy in the house to urge everyone on). We got to school later than I would have liked, in the rain, without a rain coat. We arrived at her classroom door where I was hoping to snap a couple of pictures of her with her teacher, maybe get a shot of her with Patrick and me, and be able to have a minute of hugs and well wishes for the day.

Instead, there was a MASS of kids, teachers, and parents in the hallway, all trying to go different places and of course we couldn't get anywhere with a baby stroller and 3 year old in tow. Elena walked into the classroom on her own (after a few questioning glances to me about what she should do while I returned her looks with uncertainty myself), the teacher's assistant helped her put her things away and a clump of parents huddled together near the door snapping last minute photos as their little ones gathered on the carpet and the teacher waved to us.

And that was it! In that flurry of activity, my little girl officially started her job as a student. It wasn't until I got to the car that I realized I never even said goodbye to her. I worried about whether I caused her to be nervous, if my insecurities affected her, if she knew how very much I loved her. Then I got home and loaded this picture onto my computer:

And again the tears began to flow. But this time, it was because of what the Lord revealed to me through this image. In SO many ways, this picture tells the entire story. She wasn't looking at me. She didn't need to look at me. She was intent on her teacher. She had a smile on her face and was excited about what lay ahead for her, never once looking back.

Though our job is FAR from done as Mommy and Daddy, today has taught me that we've done pretty good this far. She is a happy, confident, responsible little girl who knows she is loved and knows she has a job to do. That was evident in the way she walked into the classroom this morning, and evident in her prayer last night, "God help me to show love to my friends and teachers in my class and help me to put others first." I think I am truly learning what it is to have your heart outside your body today. But as much as I love this girl, I know that God loves her more. She isn't mine, she is His, and He has just entrusted her to us for a short time.

Thank you, Lord for this precious, crazy gift of parenthood and for teaching me so many things through my children. Thank you for being faithful and answering my prayer today. You were there with me the entire way. You reminded me of her sweet and simple prayer last night that so perfectly mirrored my own prayer for her this morning and even when the master deceiver tried to trick me into thinking I had it all wrong, you blessed me with this beautiful image of this strong 5-year old little girl that belongs to you.