On the First Day of School
I took my oldest child to kindergarten last week; first child, first day of school. It was a little harder than I had expected. I gave her a hug and a kiss on the head and left her there, sitting on the floor with her classmates. She didn’t know any of the other students and I could tell that she was a bit overwhelmed and probably a little scared.
As I walked down the hallway of the little school toward the exit, I kind of felt bad for leaving her there. Was that the right thing to do? Will she be ok? Is kindergarten really necessary? Then, the gravity of the moment hit me – my daughter’s life is changing today. She is entering into a whole new world where my wife and I won’t be as close to protect her and encourage her and remind her of how much we love her.
As I stepped out the door of the elementary school and down the sidewalk to my truck, a flood of memories from my own school days came to mind. I can’t remember my first day of kindergarten, but I very clearly remember my first day of first grade. I was nervous and, like my daughter, a bit overwhelmed. I had gone to kindergarten at my church so my first day of first grade was my first day at the big public school. I was in Mrs. Carter’s class and I remember sitting next to Trey Hodge, who was wearing a jean jacket that day. I don’t think I had ever seen a jean jacket before and I was amazed by the fact that someone was wearing jeans as a jacket. And so, my journey of school began.
All along the way there was wonder, and happiness, and fun, and laughter, but also tears, and toughness, and pain. I know that my daughter will experience all of these things. She will have to learn how to be tough. She will have to learn grit and how to work hard, but then she will also learn the feeling of satisfaction after a job well done. She will make lifelong friends (by the way, I talked to Trey Hodge just the other day). She will play on teams, pass notes and invite friends over to the house for sleepovers, staying up giggling into the wee hours of the morning. She will break a few hearts and maybe even have her heart broken (by a foolish, foolish boy, of course). In all of this, though, she will learn, grow, and become the woman that God has designed her to be.
I think what I am realizing this morning is that Emery Anna is not mine; ultimately she belongs to the Lord. Ultimately, He is directing her and keeping her. Theologically, of course, I know this, but man it is hard know this experientially. And so last week, as Emery Anna begins a new journey, I am reminded that the journey I started back in Mrs. Carter’s class still goes on to this day. This is just one of those moments for me when the Lord is teaching me faith, humility, dependence, and maybe a little grit.