I am sitting here, having tucked my kiddos into bed, reflecting on how quickly the past 7 and a half years have gone. My oldest, Owen, will be starting 2nd grade, and Gracie will be starting Kindergarten in ‘2 sleeps’ as we say it. Kindergarten! She is so ready, and I know deep down, that it is good and right. But, there is a small piece of me that would like to keep both of my children young. Freeze this moment in time. Partly, because I love where they are both at developmentally. They are so funny and cute and sensitive and innocent. Untainted by the world.
We have been talking a lot about going to school lately. Gracie asked Owen if it is okay to sit by him the first day she rides the bus. We have been rehearsing what it will be like having lunch at school. We’ve practiced saying Mrs. Grebinow’s name. I’m not even sure that is how you spell it, in fact, I’m pretty sure that is not the right spelling. (I better get on that.) We’ve talked about how important it is to listen to the teacher, to respect her and others who may be helping. How when you have to use the bathroom, it is okay to politely ask the teacher. We’ve talked about needing to go to bed earlier to make sure they are rested for a full day of school. We’ve even had the talk about strangers, as well as safe and unsafe touches. (Qualify that with remembering I all sorts of crazy stuff at work).
I think I am doing okay with everything… getting Gracie off to kindergarten. Mainly because she is so ready and excited. Even still, I know there will be some tears shed on that first day. Tears of sadness for my little girl (and boy!) who are growing up so quickly. Tears of joy, as I know Gracie is off on a new, exciting chapter of school years. I pray my children are safe, that they are treated kindly, and that they are nurtured. That they are corrected when needed in a firm, but loving way. I pray that God will guard their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Maybe I am still in a state of denial, but I don’t think any of my tears will be out of pure worry. Or at least I pray they won’t be. Sure, I’ll have a jittery stomach, for all the reasons mentioned above. But God tells us not to be anxious about anything. (Phil. 4:6) Oswald Chambers once said this, “Worry is an indication that we think God cannot look after us.” That would go against the core of my beliefs! I think his quote is a little simplified (as we are only human), but for the most part true. Don’t you think? I hope that my faith is strong enough to leave the worry behind.
So Gracie, when you step onto that bus on Wednesday morning for the very first time, and you see your mom and dad staring back at you, know this. We love you, and are so very proud of you. The tears you might see will be happy tears. Have so much fun; you have been looking forward to this day for a long time! We know that God is going to be with you each and every second of the day. We’ll be waiting with big smiles for your return!
And Owen, you are an amazing big brother. We know that even though you sometimes are annoyed by your little sister, you have an amazing heart and will watch out for her. It was only 2 short years ago that we stood in our front yard waving at you as you drove off in that big yellow bus for the first time. Oh, how time flies. Have a great year, buddy. We love you, and are so proud of you!