I have dreaded this week for a long time.
My last born, my baby starts kindergarten.
With the way God spaced out my “babies” this is the first time in 16 years that I have not had a little at home with me. My “present tense” is definitely changing.
Eliza has been my sidekick for nearly 6 years now. She has gone with me to work – my job is at her preschool. She has gone with me to the store, running errands and buying groceries. She has gone with me to lunch with my good girlfriends.
With her “late” birthday, she has been ready for a long time now. I have no doubt that she is heading into that big school prepared. The question really is whether or not that big school is prepared for her.
This milestone is just another reminder of how quickly time passes and to recognize each day as a gift. Yes, there have definitely been days over these 16 years of having a preschooler at home that have seemed especially L O N G, but this week I am wondering where those years all went. This week, they all seem especially short.
My oldest begins her junior year. We completed a university campus visit this past weekend. I look at her and wonder what happened to the 5+ years she was an only child. (I only thought I was busy then!)
My middle has her last first day of elementary school tomorrow. In many ways her excitement over her new backpack is at odds with her dread of returning to the days of assignments and homework. I get it. I get her. New school clothes are cool. Actually wearing them to learn is not as cool.
I confess that over the years, there have been many times I have wished for this week to arrive. But, overall, knowing this day would all too quickly come, I have intentionally enjoyed these days where I could procrastinate doing dishes and laundry to play princesses or Chutes and Ladders.
Maybe I will have more lunches with friends. I know I will be spending more time at Clarksville’s Hope Pregnancy Center. Without question, I am hoping to write more here.
Maybe the house will stay a little bit cleaner for a little bit longer. Cleaning with a small child in the house is definitely proves a futile as eating an Oreo right before you brush your teeth. Now there may be a chance of everything staying straight until at least 3:15, five minutes after we pull in from the afternoon’s car rider line.
Maybe I’ll read more. Maybe exercise more. Maybe the dishes and laundry will stay caught up . . .
For sure there will be routine and schedule. Bedtimes will be enforced and homework checked. Piano and ballet lessons begin again. Soccer season is kicking off too. (Did you catch that pun?)
As the new school year starts, I am reminded of New Year’s with all its resolutions and hopes and dreams. I have a new planner and have thought that now would be a good time of year to start regularly having those family devotions we always mean to have. This comparison is definitely not new, but for me, this year, this milestone makes it seem so much more significant.
I am sad to see this season of my life end. The days of little girls shadowing my every move is pretty much over. It has been a blessed time, a sweet chapter and a good ride. To be home more than at work, to have us all be healthy, and to get to this point shouts of God’s good, good grace. So, I will reflect with thanksgiving over the days of diapers, all the firsts, and the many good things that have brought us to this day.
Only God knows what this school year holds for my daughters and for me. I have to trust Him for even their safety as they attend their respective public schools. I also have to trust Him to give my days purpose as I find myself home alone for the first time in a long time.
I will make my plans, but I hope to hold them loosely, allowing the Spirit to guide my steps. He has already revealed some ways for me to be intentionally serving Him away from the house. Without a doubt, I know my girls are my main mission field. They are the ones I am called to serve and whom I am commissioned to love but I also know that He has more for me in addition to them.
This start of this school year commences a new chapter of what God is doing in my life. So, while I am sad that the old is gone, I am honestly excited about what is ahead.
I was asked today I how I felt about Eliza starting school. I have decided that is a loaded question with no simple or easy answer. This week is full of many blessings that I want to embrace and celebrate, but – all the same, it is challenging as well.
I am happy for her and sad for me. I am grateful for the days we had at home and I am excited for what awaits. I am curious about how she will do and I am confident that the Lord will watch over all three of the girls. I am stressed as my work is swinging into high gear and I am worried that I will send one of those girls to school without something I was supposed to either buy or sign. (There is a lot to keep up with!)
My joy in school starting is not from a sense of freedom I am finding, but more in celebration of how God has brought my little family to this place. It is intertwined with a sadness of seeing summer end with its days playing in the pool and staying up late with the little people who call me “mom” 80,000 times a day.
This week, this week I’ve been dreading, has a lot for me to pray over and to work through. It is FULL of blessings and reminders of God’s faithfulness. There are lots of big feelings that may seem conflict, but at the same time, the all just seem to fit together too.
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