Monday, September 1, 2008

A New Chapter

Tonight was a big night at our house. I kissed Katie good night for the last time as a Kindergartener. Tomorrow, she starts first grade. She'll make that huge transition from 1/2 day kindergarten and naps every afternoon to staying at school all day, skipping nap, and completing homework when she gets home. I have no idea how she'll stay awake past 6 p.m. each night, but I'm sure she'll adjust. In her class of 25+ students, she knows one kid, Connor, who is super cute and lives down the street. She met Brian, the boy who sits next to her, when she dropped off her school supplies. He speaks Spanish only, so she's excited to teach him English and to learn Spanish from him. We were talking about the big switch to a new school tonight and she said, "I feel kind of happy, kind of sad. You know when I rode my scooter down the slide at the park? I was standing at the top of the slide, and I really wanted to do it, but I was nervous and excited at the same time. That's how I feel about going to school tomorrow."

As her mom, I feel the same way. Katie has always been my sleepy head, who takes a nap every afternoon, is a helper, and a delight to have around. Her presence will be significantly missed in my day, but I'm thrilled for her to make new friends and continue in her education. Her bedtime prayer was sweet, "God, help me to make new friends at school and help me to teach the kids who never went to a school that teaches about Jesus who Jesus is by my actions."

Grant will leave first-grade behind and start second grade in the morning. He said for months that the thing he was most nervous about when we moved to Oregon was starting a new school, but he is remarkably relaxed about it. He got a tour of the school soon after we moved here and was able to visualize the layout and meet a couple of teachers. He liked his teacher when he met her last week and LOVED his classroom because it had a huge ocean display and he loves science. The Lord was gracious to us and over the summer Grant has met 5 of his classmates already, so he feels pretty confident about his first day. I feel so relieved for him! He usually struggles with big transitions and my heart had been heavy for him. I really didn't want him to have anxiety about this and God has answered that prayer.

It's funny. As the kids get older, the first day of school seems to sneak up much quicker and with a whole lot less thought. We hemmed and hawed and researched and agonized over which preschool to put Grant, our first-born, in. Alli, our third-born, will start preschool next week. I interviewed two schools, picked the one that said they had a teacher who lovingly enforced boundaries (what Alli needs) and sent in our registration papers the next day. We bought school supplies so late in the game this year that I had to go to 3 stores to get everything on our lists. Grant had a major growth spurt and we realized yesterday that he doesn't have one pair of pants to his name to wear to school. Thank goodness it's supposed to be in the 70's tomorrow and he can wear shorts. I called a neighborhood mom tonight to find out if second graders need a snack and I forgot to stock up on lunch food staples when I bought groceries last week. In so many ways, we've learned to let go and relax about school.

But each year, I'll always get nostalgic. When my 6-year old sweetheart leaves me for 8 hours a day, I get a little misty-eyed. When my kids desire for their peers to see Jesus in them, my soul rejoices, and I get a little misty-eyed. When I see my change-resistant son relaxed and not anxious the night before he starts a new school, my heart is comforted and I get a little misty-eyed.

Tomorrow, Grant and Katie start a new chapter in their life and they have a blank slate to write on. My prayer is that in everything they say and do, they radiate Jesus and that God would use them to change their first and second grade world. And when I pray that prayer, I get a little misty-eyed.

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