Im not even going to pretend Im a soldier. First day of school is hard for me every. single. year!
I am “that mom“. You know, the one with mascara running down her cheek in the carpool line at drop off. “That mom” who is peering in the class window and waving at my kid after the bell rings. “That mom” who arrives 20 minutes before pick up time. “That mom” who wants a full report from the teacher (whom Ive run a background check on) at the end of the day on what friends my child made and what they ate for lunch in the cafeteria.
I’ll own it, Im that mom, so this isn’t entirely out of character for me…..but that being said, I think I need some Xanax before Monday! My Evie girl is going to school.
When Monday rolls around, its going to be all “first day of school, new backpacks, sharpened pencils, put on your big girl pants and game face” pep talk going on in my head, but tonight…..tonight Im sitting in the quiet of my home with my melancholy musings raging!
Its different this time. Its harder. From the time I realized she was going to survive her first 2 years of life, I started dreading the day Id have to entrust her to someone else’s care. Last year I deliberated putting her in kindergarten. We were new to Bangkok and I knew the importance of making new friends. But the thought of having her away from me for 7 hours a day was incomprehensible. As I toiled over the decision to homeschool her last year or enroll her with the other kids, my dear friend asked if I would have regrets if I didn’t have one more year with her at home. That made it easy. YES! Decision made. She’d have a year at home with me!
Instead of school, I put her in a ballet class once a week. Friends for her, check. Stretch for mommy, check.
And I am SO glad we had last year. I think Evies “love language” is quality time, and time we had. Lots of it. But then it dawned on me somewhere halfway through this past year. One year wasn’t going to change how I felt. I was never going to be “ready”.
Its such an out-of-control feeling to let someone care for your child who has no idea….. no idea what she’s been through, what a miracle she is and what symptoms to look for. They won’t understand that she’s slower reading, but she has come so far from the days she had speech therapy to learn to talk because of the trauma that caused delays. They won’t know that she was “failure to thrive” and that the massive steroids she had to take to keep her lungs clear for years could have stunted her growth. They will just see a tall-for-her-age brunette and will be clueless to the fact that she’s a walking, breathing miracle. No one will understand her anxiety over silly things like storms that are PTSD symptoms triggered by feeling out of control as a repercussion of being forcibly held down for countless procedures and over 100 blood draws. She looks so…..normal. And she IS by the grace of God! But when you as a mom have held a fragile life in your hands and set alarms through the night for months on end to make sure that drug doses are administered at precisely the right time round the clock to ensure her tiny heart kept beating, then you feel a gravity of responsibility that is different than you feel with your healthy kiddos.
But I can’t hold on another year. To do so would stifle. Would impede her growth, her opportunity. The best thing for her right now is for me to release and usher her into a new stage. With JOY. With gratitude that she IS healthy enough and has come far enough that she is ABLE to go to school.
And I remember Ive felt this way before….listening to the echoing click of a team of doctors footsteps walking toward the surgery room with my wee babe being wheeled further and further from me down the stark white corridor. Its all I can do to keep from running after them and whisking my baby off the sterile stretcher. I want to hold and protect her from needles and scalpels and surgical saw blades. From scars and tears and pain. But to do so would be selfish and would obstruct the life saving surgery she needed.
This feels a little bit the same. What I want and what feels good is not what she needs right now. Im reminded once again that its not a team of renowned surgeons…..or even an institution or teacher I am entrusting her to….its God. Once again Im being asked to trust. To loosen my grip and release control….because its not mine anyway. Our kids are a gift, on loan. And to each parent, that responsibility looks a little different. I wish God had led us to homeschool. I wish we had the opportunity for private Christian school education. But we don’t. And God has provided another opportunity that leaves us in no doubt that He has led us to this. But even knowing God is in something doesn’t mean its easy.
Letting go leaves me with a very empty hollow hand. Letting go means I need to grasp a little tighter to Him.
So on Monday, Im going to take a deep breath and hand her over once again, entrusting her to Gods care, because truly, He loves her even more than I do and His hand is not too short to reach when mine cannot. And I might cry a little. But Im determined they will be tears of joy, that she is at this juncture. That God has seen fit to sustain her life and has a purpose and plan for her that He has already set in motion. Praying that our Evangeline, our “bringer of light” will shine brightly in this new place!
But!!…but if she says again when I drop her off what she whispered to me at bedtime tonight, then there might be an ugly cry!!
“Mommy, I don’t want to go because I just want to be with you. But, I will pray that you won’t cry if you will pray that Ill make a friend”
……puddle over here!!