I can’t remember a fall that wasn’t marked by getting ready for a school year. In elementary school, my mom would french braid my hair and I’d pull on a pair of stretchy pants (which I wore well beyond the time everyone else had moved on from the fad). In middle and high school, I looked forward to back to school shopping out of town. In college, there was the long drive back to campus with the music blaring. After that, I had the tradition of getting a cup of coffee (a really good cup of coffee, mind you) on the way to work and trying to be the first teacher to arrive so I could have the school building to myself for a few precious moments to pray over my classroom and students. One of my favorite things was that very first calm before the storm of nervous students. You never quite recreate that tense and expectant calm again; it’s part of the magic of the first day.
It’s hard to see the back to school pictures- children with hairstyles their moms clearly had a hand in, backpacks so new they look stiff even in the photos, teachers posting albums of newly decorated classrooms. I don’t want the familiar pang of longing to creep up. I don’t want to be reminded of all that I’m missing. I don’t want to face my own sadness in those smiling photos. I want this week to be over.
It has been painful to be on social media the past couple days and feel a tinge of regret for saying no to what was my dream teaching job. However, all I have to do is look down into my arms to see what the Lord is bringing forth in this season. Most mornings I brought my son to daycare, he would ask me why I was leaving him. Now I get to watch my own child learn and grow and develop. There is joy in the silly, grown up things he says and the questions about eternity that have been on his mind lately: “Are the ducks going to heaven? When will I see Jesus? Where is heaven? Mama, I believe in Jesus so I’m going to heaven.” Would I have missed these musings if I wasn’t around as much to hear them spoken in the moment? I can’t describe how good it is to see the little things unfold in front of my eyes instead of reading highlights on a daily log from daycare.
We were also able to accept a newborn placement yesterday. That is not something we would have been able to do if both my husband and I were working full-time, especially since baby became available and arrived in the first few days of a new school year. That would have been a disaster.
In a cool turn of events, this is the child we were suppose to pick up from the hospital last month. We didn’t expect to ever meet this tiny bundle, so the opportunity to wake up in the middle of the night and stagger around a dark kitchen to make a bottle is actually pretty darn exciting.
In the end, I think I can be alright with still getting that cup of coffee but this time bringing it home, enjoying it in the stillness of my living room, and being enveloped in small cuddles and the fragrance of baby powder. It’s definitely not at all what I thought I would be doing… God is kinda sneaky like that though.
My arms are full. My heart is full, and the scars are fading. Lord, thank you for today and for the purpose you have brought in my life. Be with those students and teachers, and be present in my home. Your will be done.