As I've watched the school buses go by this week, I've been thinking about all those mamas who are feeling the loss as their little ones don backpack and lunch sack to step into a whole new world. I'm sure you've shed some tears, as did I, mixed with the thrill of knowing your child will soon be experiencing the great, life-long joy of learning. I loved those years of being mom to two little boys and two little girls. Loved the fresh school books and cute haircuts, the untucked shirts and lopsided ponytails. I miss so much about those years. My children are all grown now, with children of their own. And too soon yours will be too.
These are the words that spilled out of my heart nearly 20 years ago when my son, Matthew started school. May you share the same immense joy that I have in watching your sons and daughters grow into men and women whose hearts beat for God.
Today my little boy went off to school.
He was afraid. I was afraid.
He was excited. So was I.
He was brave. I cried.
We chattered cheerfully in the van on the way to school. He looked so fresh and grownup in his new haircut, plaid shirt tucked neatly in, appropriately cool baggy pants and black suede tennis shoes. I took pictures in front of the flagpole.
Walking into the classroom, he gripped my hand in sweaty palm and sat oh-so-quietly at his pint-sized desk.
“Don’t leave yet Mom. Wait ‘til all the other parent go…”
I rubbed his back and labeled his supplies. Crayons, scissors, lots of glue, a binder covered in G. I. Joe stickers. I took a picture of my little boy at his desk.
Time for Mom to leave. One last squeeze of his shoulder. One last kiss on his cheek, and out the door.
That’s when the tears betrayed me. Unbidden, they pushed against my eyes, threatening to embarrass me completely. Gulping them back, I waved with false cheer at a neighbor and drove in my empty van to my empty house.
No chaos, no arguments, no laughter, no messes.
I have looked forward to this day. I haveplans. For years I have said, “When my children all go to school…”
Yet today I can do nothing. I grieve an end of an era. An era I have loved, filled with memories I cherish.
I did my share of complaining to be sure. “Can’t I even go to the bathroom alone?!” But I loved the unrushed morning cuddling with blankie and bear and my squirmy little boy.
I loved the Lego creations and the storybooks and Wee Sing tapes. I loved sidewalk chalk and popsicles dribbling down dimpled chins. Rainy days spent building forts in the family room with blankets anchored with encyclopedias.
Most of all, I have loved the absolute trust in his eyes. He knows Iam here for him to protect him, to be proud, to understand.
For I am Mom. Matthew’s mom. The Best-Mom-in-the-Whole-World.
That is who I was yesterday when I held him as a babe in my arms. It is who I am today as I leave him at his desk at school. And tomorrow, when he is a man, I will still be…
From my heart,
P.S. Who feels the same? That bittersweet, confusing mix of relief and sadness? I'd love to pray for you this week. And if any of you have children you're especially worried about, let me know and I'll pray as I did for my own.