Transitions are never easy. Change will always come. I have found that new beginnings are usually scary. From a mother’s viewpoint? It is my job to be the buffer, the wind in the sails and the soft place to land when it gets a little rough. Sounds like easy/peasy job description huh? Well.. this year I learned some things.. about her and about myself. It “ain’t always that easy”
We began a new journey… one that was anticipated with smiles, and shopping, and all the things that we had gotten away from in the past five years of homeschooling. There were clothes to buy, lunch totes and backpacks.. and the endless list of school supplies. I think we had more on hand from the previous school years than most office supply stores – major “score” for this Momma.
I had taken the first day of school pictures, even during our home school years so I would have them for her scrapbook. Looking at these now, with her huge smile? serves as a reminder. No matter how much encouragement I poured into this girl of mine? Life has a way of knocking the breath out of you..it is here where we are taught the hardest of lessons.
During the first few days? I’m just going to be real here. I had a new realization of the term.. throwing her to the wolves. I felt like the biggest failure as a Momma. I had encouraged her that everything would be okay, it would be a hard transition but it would be fine. What my reality was… it wasn’t. I would love to tell you that this smiling sweet girl returned to me the way she left that morning. She didn’t. These words still haunt me and leave my heart in shreds .. “Please, Momma.. please don’t make me go back.” – I drove her again the next day. and the next.
Let me say this before I move forward. I do not regret one single year that I spent homeschooling. It was the best thing for us as a family. It doesn’t work for everyone. If I could have changed anything? it would have been to transition her during the middle school years – maybe. Academically? wow. She just continued to flourish. Her yearly testing proved for the majority of subjects, we were above and beyond our target. And no, she was not an anti-social kid..a weird home school kid..or an introvert. (Don’t even get me started on that one…Momma claws are coming out even as I type) My goal was for her to learn, not just academically, but as a student that knew what compassion entailed, being unselfish toward others and growing in her a root system that would be the basis to handle the “real world” – this part? was important and for the most part..the roots have taken hold..and still growing.
What I failed to teach as her Momma were these truths:
1. People are often unkind, cruel and selfish.
2. Hurt people… Hurt people…it can make people mean.
3. Not everyone is aware of the Golden Rule.
4. Life is almost always unfair.
5. Friends and family will cause your deepest of hurts.
What I continue to tell her is this… Be Kind Anyway. Offer Grace when it is not deserved. And no matter what? You are who God says you are. Be that girl. Stand up for the right thing, even when it is uncomfortable. Show compassion to those that need it most…even when it is not the popular choice. Don’t hold grudges, even when it is easier than forgiving.. that boundaries are healthy. Look for good in every bad situation.
Can I tell you that through all of the transitions? We were blessed with good teachers..and I did not take that positive for granted. Little by little, every day she learned what a hard job they had. Not everyone respected what she saw them battling on the front lines of a classroom. – empathy. check.
Fall soon disappeared and winter break was on the horizon. I could at least see some light at the end of the semester tunnel. Winter break would be here..her grades were good.. and we could regroup. That’s just what we did.
Looking back? I think it was the longest “winter” for us. Dark days, cold winds blew across my heart as a Momma. There were nights that I barely slept, my pillow stayed soggy and my knees learned what “real” prayer time consisted of. It was hard. Her Daddy would just tell me the same thing I told her repeatedly..It’s going to be okay. What I learned through these dark first days? I learned how to hang on to what her Pa always told her. “I can do all things through Christ that Strengthens me” – Philippians 4:13. I had to be determined in my own mind, that yes, it would be okay. eventually, although on the inside I was angry- just being honest. I was angry that we live in a world where people treated one another without regards to their feelings. I was angry that I could not “fix this” or shelter her from the ugliness of real life. Of course, my world didn’t change, and for the most part neither have the people in it? but what did change was me. I became diligent and real.
There have been many friends of mine and hers that have proven themselves over and over to the both of us. I would say “I just don’t know?” and they would say.. “yes, yes you do!” – they told me it would be okay. I am thankful that she has had some others at school that shown her kindness. They have no clue what a lifeline that had become.
So with every accomplishment? we celebrated.. You better believe it. Another semester down.. another one to go. Winter was disappearing and Spring was on the horizon. “I can do all things” we repeated to one another. Often times I would tell her it would be okay.. I promise.. only to hear her words “but how do you know.. you just keep saying that?”
I reminded her that I could say it now.. because I believed it, mainly because I believed in her…and I definitely have learned that God keeps His promises even more than Mommas do.
Spring would be busy with a drivers’ course and horse shows. Doing the one thing she loved proved to be another lifeline, another outlet that made all seem right in her world. So she rode, and slowly I watched the smiling girl in the picture, on the first day of ninth grade start to reappear.
I began to make new rules for after school pickup. Before anything else? I asked for one positive thing about her day.. just one. After that, she was afforded her rant about the other. Some days it was like playing Russian roulette on the drive home. Slowly, the sweet girl that I had thrown to the wolves, had managed around those wolves and her rants became less. Not all of the days were good, they varied, just as they do in this thing we call life, but when the drive home was filled with laughter and “awesome” days..I can tell you that this Momma’s eyes filled with tears on those too. Happy ones that you learn to cherish.
Next year, she will enter not as the new kid.. but as a Sophmore. Will it be easy? I don’t expect it to be. It’s change…transitions. But one thing I do know? She will be fine. I will continue to tell her the good things.. and be the soft place to land during the bad. She’s got a Momma’s promise on that one. I may need to get some knee pads somewhere along the way…but God is faithful in all things. always.
We are going to enjoy every minute of summer vacation… every sleep in morning.. and late night girl time. I have no doubt that she will develop lifelong friendships in the years to come, and look back realizing that every trial has something to teach us, every new experience only broadens her wingspan.
In the meantime? bring on summer…..we’ve been waiting for you.
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. – Philippians 4:13 (KJV)