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First Day of School
Photo: Tim and Annette
Today I enter a new season of life. For the last nine years I have had one or more children home with me for the majority of each day. But today it changes. Today, my youngest starts kindergarten.

From now until they move out of our house, I will only see my children from 3-8 p.m. Of course there are weekends and summers, but generally speaking, they will spend more time away from me than with me from now on.

I’ve been flooded with a variety of reactions:

1. Cartwheels and fireworks: Toddlers/preschoolers are not really my favorite age group in general. I actually prefer teenagers, and so this last season has been hard for me. I’ve struggled to be a good “little kid” mom and I’ve learned a lot along the way. But I survived it (and so did they) and we are moving on to the next stage. Someone get me a well-deserved manicure!

2. Tears: Okay, so it’s also a little bit sad. Everyone says time flies and they’ll grow up so fast, but when you are changing your 5000th diaper and having to buckle everyone’s seat belts, it really feels like it will never end. But it has. We opened the door to her classroom and she confidently ran in to this new experience. I’m so proud, but couldn’t help but notice she’d run away from me.

3. Guilt: Ahhh, my old friend and a parent’s constant sidekick. Did I fully take advantage of the years they were home with me? Did I teach them all I should have? Did we play enough? Will it matter I never taught them how to use a napkin properly? Should I have done more?

All of those reactions are normal and honest and hard. I’ve tried to embrace them all today and to focus on the fun of these next years instead of allowing myself to be caught in a should-I-have spiral.

In times like this I’m always encouraged by wise ole’ Solomon who said there is a time for everything. He reminds us that life changes. That the path that the Lord has for each of us has its peaks and valleys, its forests and desserts, its snow days and its sunshine.

I choose today to boldly move forward into this next season. To embrace what the Lord has for us around the next corner. To listen to His voice as I navigate this world of homework and parent-teacher conferences and after school activities. I choose to “be strong and courageous” (Joshua 1:9).

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By Joelle Yamada. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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