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First Day of School
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“The first day of school isn’t about the kids,” my co-worker (a teacher) and seasoned parent told me. “It’s really about the parents.” He was comforting me. Just an hour earlier my son walked hand in hand with daddy up his school steps; his backpack hanging low, while his stuffed monkey peeked out, taunting and daring me not to cry. This scene, now frozen in my memory bank, blind-sided me with a heartache.

It was his first day of school. It was OUR first day of school. I had not been naïve about it. I was sure that I had mentally braced myself for the morning and evening routine changes. I was ready for the inevitable outside influences. And I was aware I was going to feel some sadness. 

But I was ready. I had earnestly prayed to God to help us find a good school that was close to my work, close to home, one that accommodated our work schedules, and, most importantly, one that supported our values. Finding that school was God saying, “go.” 

And so I put on a brave face, reassured him I’d be back soon, and willed myself not to dwell on what all of this meant. 

But as I walked away from his school, hand in hand with my understanding husband, I could no longer ignore the deep, crescendoing ache welling up inside. I let it out. 

New Season Challenge

As parents, we’re challenged by each new season we stumble into. We might think we’re ready. But often, the feelings we thought we were prepared for can be more overwhelming than we anticipated. And suddenly we’re filled with a longing. We wish life had a “rewind” or “pause” button so we could linger a little longer on the night we last rocked our child to sleep. We wish the last time he called us “mommy” or “daddy” was a moment we could catch, bottle, and store away in a treasure box. We wish we could frame the image of our tween hugging and kissing us goodbye in front of their friends. Afterall, it may not happen again until their wedding day.

It’s been a few weeks since our first day of school and I’ve had plenty of time to reflect. I’m still sad. I’m also still excited. It’s a hard paradox to live with. But I’m appreciating the conflict, thanking God for this growth, and comforting myself. It’s good to know this heartache is familiar to millions of parents that have gone before me. It’s good to embrace and lean into the discomfort and fear that comes with all change. It’s good to find those silver linings and focus on what is great. And, most of all, it’s imperative I remember that my son is God’s child first and mine second.

We’re so blessed to be entrusted with these precious little people; so curious, eager to love, learn, and grow. Let us trust God’s plans for them and let us trust His plan for us during the ever-changing rhythms of parenthood.

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By Liesl Vistaunet. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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