We just got home from California last night and tomorrow will sweep our kids off to school. I've gone through all iterations: have driven down the 55 blasting the radio to drown out the chorus of complaints, skin crawling, ready for nothing more than structure; and have sat on the yellow couch, long after the house was asleep, and written down doubts, fears about placing them in the wrong hands, about how I will miss them, and how my heart crushes when they grip my arm and don't want to say goodbye.
Perhaps as mothers we always have "that one" that tugs our hearts right out of our chests. I would guess that "that one" changes with seasons and stages, friendships, teachers, struggles. This fall, my one is the tender-hearted son.
All summer I've been hoping he will have a different year this year, one of ease and encouragement, sweet friendships, a teacher who engages him. But as we've moved into this week, I've had to admit fears and pray the truer stuff -- that the struggles he has sitting at the table with pencil in hand will eventually build his confidence, that the unkindnesses slung his way won't bowl him over or even touch his true sense of worth and worthiness, that he'll be buoyant, that he'll have courage and know when to speak, that the words spoken and unspoken to him this year will serve to build his character, that I'll be patient and unhurried, that somehow God will give me grace to hold the big picture as I navigate the minutes.
Backpacks are by the door, packed with lunches, shoes laid next to them (we can at least start strong), First Day of School zucchini bread is in the oven for the parents who will gather after drop-off in a mix of elation and devastation and each rung in between.
And like every year, we will be the enthusiasts for the morning, for breakfast and the bus, for the mismatched under armor outfit Silas has laid out on his floor. And like every year, we will act like kissing them on the blacktop and walking away is breezy, because what we want to tell them they can do it.
As I sit here with a cup of chamomile tea, hoping jet lag wont' sink everyone first thing, I'm reminding myself that yes, these little resilient beautiful creatures, can do it. They are made to do it, to navigate this world that some days is cruel (and many days is breathlessly fun). I am reminding myself that this year will be part of their story that none of us knows yet, a part of what makes them, a part we haven't gotten to read yet. Tomorrow's simply the current that will pull of from summer's eddy, push us the only way we go in this life -- on ahead.
So my sweet Silas, as you lie in your bed, what I pray is that when you open your eyes, your heart will be assured that you, my boy, can do it; you are made to go ahead.