Some nights. Fun (the band) sings all about them. I’m here to write about them too.
See, some nights are just plain old hard. The night before the first day of school is one of them. There are nerves which somehow always work themselves out by just plain naughtiness. There are tummy aches and there are tears. There are I don’t want to’s and there are thoughts of not falling asleep so that tomorrow will never come. And these are all just from me, nevermind the kids!
I’ve never been a mama to mourn the first day of school though I’m not one wishing my kids out of the house either. I love summer and I love them home and I love not having to pack lunches but just throwing some crackers and apples into a bag and hitting the beach when we feel like it. So I’m never happy when summer’s over and I have to loan my kids back to their teachers and coaches. I like when they feel all mine so much better.
But this first day of school was a first for me. I cried.
I didn’t cry when my first child went to his first day of kindergarten. I didn’t cry when all of my kids went off to school. I didn’t cry when they didn’t get that teacher they wanted. It’s just not really my thing.
Until now, apparently.
I couldn’t shake it this morning. The tears flowed quietly while I still lay in bed. They streamed as I read some passages of scripture early in the morning. I tried to be chipper and gung-ho as we readied ourselves for the day but every now and then I’d have to turn away to wipe the trickle on my cheek.
Once they were all out of the vehicle (3 kids, 3 schools, respectively) I didn’t even try to stop them. I became a gushing mess. My heart was heavy. It almost felt as though I were grieving and I think in a way I sort of was.
Grieving the end of summer.
Grieving the loss of my kids to schedules and sports and music and friends for another whole year.
Grieving the loss of just having them close.
I watched my boy walk into his first day of high school today without even a glance back. He’s not the nervous type and his eyes simply darted around, scanning the crowd of giant children that were practically men, hairy and drinking coffee, for the first sight of a friend. And then he was lost in the crowd.
I’m grieving his childhood. It’s sort of over.
I’m grieving the so many mistakes I made in his younger years wishing I could go back and just talk calmer, be more patient and always snuggle him for an extra few minutes when he asked.
I’m grieving the loss of reading him stories and having him cuddle up on my lap with a blankie.
He’s a grown boy. He’s in high school. It’s a new leg of this journey and it feels a bit like the beginning of the end. Our last 4 years with him before he’s 18 and does who knows what with his life.
Because each boy is at a separate school this year (elementary, middle and high) and their first day schedules all varied I had time between the various drop offs and pick ups. In my melancholy state I was prompted to walk the track at each school and just pray.
I prayed for this new year. I prayed for each boy specifically in this place that they would be spending so many hours over the next year. I prayed for the teachers that would influence each boy. I prayed for strength and courage for the challenges that they would face. I prayed for the relationships that would form, that they would be honouring and appropriate. I prayed for the boys and that they would treat every other student with respect. I prayed for the girls in these buildings who may one day be my boys girlfriends. I prayed that Christ would be honoured in these places through words, actions, and motivations of the heart.
I prayed for safety inside each of these building walls but not at the exclusion of growth. I prayed for challenges to be met and wisdom to be given above what my boys could possibly possess on their own. I prayed that God’s kingdom would be built in these places, yes – in these public schools. I prayed that my boys would grow in these places to become life long followers of their Saviour, knowing that may not be easy. In fact, assured that it would not be easy.
These times of prayer at each school, over each building, for each boy and for every student and teacher behind the walls at each specific school lightened my heart.
I know I can’t control what happens in these places my boys spend endless hours each day but I can be sure that I’m petitioning God to lead them and guide them. I know that I’m only loaning them out and next summer they’ll be mine again. Most importantly I know that God is only loaning them to me. Above all else, they are His.
I think I’ll walk those tracks more times throughout the year. Pray right there beside each school. For each school. For my boys in these places. A new first day tradition, perhaps.
What do you do on your child’s first day of school? Do you have a tradition? Are you a crier or a rejoicer?