It’s one of those days.
I just dropped my little girl off for her last day of preschool. Her last day. As in, the next time I take her to school, she’ll be in kindergarten. At an elementary school. For eight-ish hours in the same building as twelve year olds and oh, good gracious……I’m just not ready for this.
I’ve done the requisite nostalgic mama things this morning: I’ve posted a bittersweet status update on Facebook. I’ve texted a friend with sad-face emoticons. I’ve flipped through my Facebook picture albums to see the way she looked when she started school three years ago….. Sure, I’ve done all of those things.
Do they help? Not really. They do make me feel a little less alone, and seeing her sweet little two-year-old face grinning as she holds up her brand new Dora lunchbox reminds me that yes….maybe there is a reason to be sad. That little person with the adorable toddler voice is gone, replaced by a big kid who says the most intriguing and infuriating and entertaining things all the time, every day. There is a part of me that grieves not so much for the ending of an era as it does over the realization that every day, an era ends. It’s just on days like this that I realize it.
There are milestones that remind me that yes, I am moving. Most of the time, on those eternal afternoons and absolutely unending bedtimes and ridiculously long dinnertimes when favorite foods have become the enemy, time seems to have stopped. There seems to be no end. Surely the world stands still because this. will. never. end. But when those moments of significance pass by, though, blurring like interstate exit markers blurred in my back window, I can’t help but remember that we are moving. Oh, yes. I am moving. Time marches on.
And honestly, as I’ve been torturing myself this morning with self-indulgent reminiscing, I’ve thought over and over again: how do people make it through this stuff without hope? How do they go through these transitions in life – those times when nothing seems to stay the same and everything is uncertain and who even knows what’s coming next – without the constant assurance that one thing – the Most Important Thing – remains? How do they do it?
Because it has been my consolation this morning that no matter what happens over the next year or two or ten, God will remain the same. No matter what challenges face a school-aged child….no matter how many friends we have to say goodbye to…..no matter how hard school is for my girl or how sad she is when someone is mean to her or how badly I beat myself up for somehow falling short in my role as her mama, God will be there. God will stay the same.
The thing is, God was there the day I sent her to school for the first time. I remember the day clearly. (What mama doesn’t?) I remember driving away from her school, thinking, “Here we go, God. Hold onto her. Just hold her tight.”
And for the last three years, He has. He has held her through those days when that crazy kid flung sand into her hair and in her face. He has held her through the disappointment of missing field trips and class parties because of salmonella poisoning. He has held her tight when friends have moved away and new kids came in their place. He has held her when she had her first taste of bullying, and when she realized that not everyone is as nice as she is. He held her when she got left out of play dates and wasn’t invited to birthday parties. He was there in all of that, holding her tightly and loving her as only He can.
As I look around me today, I feel a little like the men on the road to Emmaus. I see how Jesus has been right there with my girl through it all, and I marvel at the things that have happened in her life. I am in awe of how she has grown and changed. I am in awe of how He has proven faithful to her…..and then it is as though He breaks bread in front of me and my eyes are opened. He was there with her, certainly, but He walked the road with me, too. He was there with me, too. He was there with me when I didn’t know how to handle kids being mean to my child…..or realized that maybe my child was the one being mean. He was there when I was sleepless and worried when she was sick. He was there to give me wisdom when addressing tough stuff like lying friends and bullies and the desire to quit when things get hard. He was there every moment of every day, walking with me as I blindly wandered the unfamiliar road of motherhood.
So I am comforted today. He was with her….He was with me….and He isn’t going anywhere. Life moves on. People move on, and things change. But my God? He won’t change, and He’ll be with us through it all.