It's a funny thing, parenting. It's quite taken me off guard. I don't think I'll ever be one of those parents whose lives' are consumed by their children and it's all. they. can. talk. about. But yet...raising my little girl has definitely shifted something deep in my heart and being her mom makes me more happy than I ever dreamed I could be. It's given me a special, wondrous kind of fulfillment. All the clichés about parenting are true, people. It's a glorious gift.
Even though SaraRose was in Preschool a last year, there was something different about her starting Kindergarten today. It's a milestone. It signifies a growth happening in her, an independence of spirit that I know will only keep her moving forward...and farther away from me. And that makes this mama's heart really sad. Like every other mother in the history of mothers, I don't want my baby to grow up. I want her to always need me, because--let's face it--I like being needed. Many times as a parent, the level that your kids need you is exhausting. And for me, with my back pain, it was almost crippling sometimes; I couldn't always meet the demands. But yet, I didn't realize how much being crazy vital like that in a sweet little person's life is actually hugely fulfilling as well. And I just don't want to let go of it; I want to continue being a stay-at-home-mom. I don't want to think about doing "real world" work anymore. I just want to be home and with my kid and have her asking me for a snack and if I'll play with her and if I can help her get her shoes on. It's a comfortable, sweet, fulfilling (if at times tiring!) role and I just might hang onto it forever if I could.
It is also in times like these that my struggles with having an only child rear their ugly head. I sit around marinating in the lie that if I just had another child to care for, I'd be fine right now. I wouldn't be hurting, I wouldn't be so sad. I start telling myself that God's being unfair. That He has asked too much of me in recent years, and that taking away my ability to have another child is just plain mean and hateful. How can I trust Someone like that? It's all His fault I'm sad right now! (As you can see, my mind [and who are we kidding, probably Satan] really milks this thing.)
I said to my husband this weekend that if someone set the perfect Home School curriculum in my lap I would 100 percent do that instead. But I know that decision would have had little to do with actual Home Schooling and everything to do with me just trying to stop time, me trying hold onto SaraRose, me hoping to keep my eye on her every move and her every choice and every person she encounters. It'd be about ME, essentially. And control. And call me crazy, but I'm not sure those the healthiest reasons Home School. Shoot.
Here's the other interesting part of this story: it's very clear that God has led us to put SaraRose at Keswick. It's a special place-- cozy and sweet, and is the school from which I graduated. It was special then too; I know first-hand the benefits of attending there--I was more than prepared for college academically and it played a pivotal role in my walk with the Lord. It gave me precious mentors and amazing friends that I still have to this day. In fact, God even went to some pretty drastic measures when I was in high school (I studied at another place for several years only to quickly realize that not all Christians schools are created like Keswick, and LONGED to go back) to prove to me how set apart KCS really is.
I always wanted my children to be able to attend there someday, but alas, when time drew closer, we didn't have the money. But last year, in an surprising act of God--that can only be described as the single most significant miracle I've ever seen with my eyes--He provided Andrew a job to work there (which included free tuition). It's a job he loves and thrives in and it delivered him from a job he didn't enjoy. Not to mention that his office is literally steps away from SaraRose's classroom door--AND, the very room she's in this year is the same classroom I had as a 5 year old Kindergartener (I mean, really.). And it's a just a fact (a fact I don't love, but still a fact) that having her in school all day really helps with my pain levels. I can rest and be way more refreshed and ready to go when she comes home. I could keep going on with this stuff but you can see where I'm going here...This is one of the few times in my life that God has really gone out of His way to assure me that HE'S GOT THIS, HE LOVES ME, HE IS TAKING CARE OF EVERYTHING and THIS IS WHERE WE SHOULD BE.
And yet, even with all of that, I still struggle. I'm so sorry God has to deal with me and my unbelief sometimes. The Old Testament Israelites and I would get along really well. Much like their doubting and complaining, I could win an Olympic gold medal in worry and questioning whether God really knows what's best for me. Sigh.
I want to be able to trust. I want to be able to have faith. I want to be one of those good, strong parents who prayerfully, but appropriately start to open their hands and start to let go of their children as they get older, trusting God is there when they can't be. I want to walk that delicate, brave balance between sheltering SaraRose and equipping her to fly.
I do not want to parent out of fear (like I feel I am right now); I want my daughter to see faith in me, even when the road ahead doesn't line up with my feelings. God's given me plenty of reasons to rest in this path, I just have to step into it believing. And if this is the perfect plan for SaraRose and for Andrew, then it is the perfect plan for me too.
In closing, I will add this visual aid to the aforementioned (HE LOVES ME and HE'S GOT THIS). It's a little gift SaraRoses' teacher (who, once again, I know personally and is the prefect Kindergarten teacher for her) placed in my hand as I walked out the school door this morning.
(She gets me.)
Help me, Lord.