It happens every year. The knot in my throat. The pit in my stomach. The big hugs and “I love you” as she slowly walks into her new classroom—all the while glancing back for my reassurance, all the while taking a huge piece of my heart.
One would think I would have adjusted by now, but I haven’t! The beginning of school gets me EVERY time. I mean seriously, by 3rd grade I should really have this thing down pat by now, but instead what I am learning is that goodbyes are never easy. Whether a day in elementary school, a semester at college, or the day she leaves the nest and spreads her wings and flies (gulp), I have no doubt I will enthusiastically cheer her on with both excitement AND tears. Such a dichotomy, but all part of the process and all part of the journey of loving her, training her, and releasing her to live out the exciting dreams God has for her.
So, beyond being a crazy emotional mamma on this first day of school, I have also spent a good part of this day thinking of what I can do to help my girl have the best year possible. I concluded that with some defined goals, we can create an environment in which she can flourish. My list includes some things we already do and also some new things we are going to commit to this year and is as follows:
- Every night before going to bed, we will set out her clothes and pack her snack and lunch.
- Before packing her napkin in her lunch box, I will write an encouraging word, a Bible verse, or an “I Love You” on it. It’s a small way to let her know that I am thinking of her and cheering her on, and the memory will last a lifetime.
- I will make an effort to go to her lunch a number of times throughout the year. Not only am I doing this for her, but it also gives me insight into her friendships and into the dynamics of her little world.
- I will be a good steward of my time throughout the day, so I can be “all there” in the evening for dinner, homework, meaningful interaction, and bedtime.
- I will do my best to prepare healthy meals and to eat at home as much as possible on school nights. With some preplanning and a crockpot, this would be a healthier option.
- I will make sure bedtime is early enough to allow for enough sleep while at the same time giving ample time for girl talk. Some of our sweetest times are while we are lying in bed sharing every detail of our days.
- I will work hard to stay ahead of homework assignments. With so many extra curricular activities and distractions all around us, it is important for me, as a mom, to help my daughter stay focused on her responsibilities and to make sure everything is completed on time and done to the best of her ability.
- I will make sure she gets time to play and exercise each day. After sitting in class all day, that little body needs to get outside and play.
- I will plan for family fun on the weekends. We’ve just said goodbye to summer and to all the fun family times we shared. The school year doesn’t have to be just about grueling school work; we can still do fun things together such as apple picking, hiking, biking, baking, 4-wheeling, and lots of playing!
- I will PRAY for her and all her teachers every day. It’s hard not to be with her throughout the day, but how comforting to know that God is ALWAYS with her and He loves her even more than we do. I saw a great post this morning on Facebook for those of us leaving our little ones in other people’s hands:
Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you (them). He will be with you (them); He will neither fail you (them) or abandon you (them). ~Dueteronomy 31:8
So that’s my list and my prayer is that we can all encourage one another in this whole parenting thing through sharing our hearts and ideas and being a support to one another. The reality is, we all have different situations— some moms work outside of the home, while others are stay-at-home moms; some have 1 child, while others have 2, 4, or even 6 or more; some have preschoolers, while others have elementary students, middle schoolers, high schoolers, or even college students. But as moms we all have 1 thing in common—we are in this thing together! It’s not always easy, but it is profoundly worthwhile. So, let’s inspire one another to be the best moms that we can be to these little ones that God has entrusted us with. Let’s laugh, cry, and cheer each other on as we pass each other in the classrooms, the ballfields, and the corridors of life together.
Oh, and by the way, my daughter came home from school today skipping and whistling and chattering about the AWESOME first day of school that she had. I had to laugh especially when I pulled this paper out of her backpack:
Apparently, she forgot ALL about the tears, fears, and nerves that we worked through for hours last night and which remained heavy on this mama’s heart today as I thought about her, prayed for her, and even blogged about her pretty much all day. Isn’t it funny how that works? But the truth is, minus the tears, I wouldn’t want it any other way!