I am not one of those moms who wishes it was always summer.
I love those moms. But I’ve had to accept the fact that at this stage at least, I’m just not one of them. Last year I made one of those summer bucket lists for me and the kids—sure, it was on sticky notes, but at least I wrote it—and guess how many items we checked off?
I love a good list, but you know what I loathe? Not accomplishing anything on a list I made for myself.
So this year, there were no lists, no plans, no expectations. And summer has gone a lot more smoothly than I thought it would, until two weeks ago, when all the together time started getting to the three of us—the 2-year-old, the 8-year-old, and me.
Overnight, they were done with summer, and I was done with summer. My darling angel children were now kicking, picking, and yelling at each other. All that unscheduled time was starting to make me feel twitchy and prone to yelling too, and all of a sudden, heading back to school sounded like the Best Idea Ever.
It’s been like waiting for Christmas ever since. HOW MANY MORE SLEEPS? (That’s me asking, not the girls.)
It’s not the getting-the-kids-out-of-the-house part I’ve been most looking forward to—though let’s be honest, I do look forward to that. It’s the return of a schedule I can count on, and shopping for school supplies and new sneakers, and the promise of a turning season. I know it won’t cool off here in hot, hot Florida for a good long while, but I don’t care. When the school year begins, it means fall is coming soon, and fall is my favorite time of the year. Turn, turn, turn. Let’s get this show on the road.
But now I’m sitting here at the dinner table at 9:42pm thinking about tomorrow morning, when my baby—who was just born yesterday, wasn’t she?—will step into a preschool classroom for the first time. She’s been talking about it for weeks now. “I’m going to PRESCHOOL! I have friends and a TEACHER!” I know that those two days a week are going to be fun and valuable for her, and I know that God is giving me those precious hours to myself because there are words He wants me to write and goals He is pushing me toward, for my own heart and for the kingdom. But preschool feels so big.
And then tomorrow afternoon, after scooping up my toddler from her first day and kissing her smooshy little face off, I will take my other baby—wasn’t she just born yesterday, too?—to meet her 3rd grade teacher. Third grade. Third grade.
My mind is just one big pile of clichés about kids growing up too fast and savoring the moment and days being long but years being short. When more seasoned parents say those things to me, I roll my eyes. Yes, I know, I know.
But I’ve been weepy for days and just realized why. It’s because Christmas is almost here—we’re down to just hours away—and maybe I’m not quite as ready as I thought. What if they’re not ready? Have I prepared my daughters well for the next season? Cue the tears again.
Where else to go but to my knees?
God, hold their sweet, soft hands as they step into the new and different.
Make their hearts tender and sensitive to the feelings of others—both their peers and their teachers.
Remind them of Your Word, tucked safely in their hearts.
Give them eyes to see the child who needs a friend.
Make them bold enough to be that friend.
May they observe other potty trained children and take note (You know which one I’m talking about). Okay, I’m kidding. Kind of.
Help them to make thoughtful choices.
Fill them with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.
Help them to give themselves grace when they make mistakes. Guide them in their I’m sorrys. May they extend grace to others and forgive freely.
Help them to be kind-hearted and to serve, even when it’s hard.
Open their minds to all that You have to teach them this year. Help them to soak up knowledge and grow in wisdom and in their love for You.
May whatever they do—from fingerpainting and building with blocks to writing book reports and performing in class plays—be done with their whole hearts.
Lord, please make them brave girls.
Make me brave, too.