Mama’s getting schooled

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We are nine days in to the new school year, and we are having a rough time.

Last year our eldest started school and had the most glittery, soft, grandma’s-bosom type of introduction to public school. She loved her teacher, loved her new friends, loved life all the more.

This year, she is in a new school with new kids and a new teacher. Let’s just say if last year was a parfait, this year is an onion.

She is in a kindergarten Spanish immersion class: all Spanish, all new, all the time, and it is a thrown-in-the-deep-end experience. For a kid who has always been at the top of her game, it is unsettling to not understand and to be unsure of whether you are understood. She is usually a confident little girl, and I have never seen her less sure of herself (and consequently, take innocent remarks so personally). Added to that, there are some social dynamics amongst her peers which have me on high-mama-alert: (“I wanted to eat on the grass at recess, but the ruler of the table said I couldn’t.” What? There is a self-appointed 5 year old Ruler of the Table??)

I’m trying not to freak out. I’m trying to listen well, ask gently, give grace, work it out with her and the teacher. But the mama bear in me got so worked up today I had to shampoo the carpets with extra fury: my excuse to hide my not-so-poker-face from my sensitive child while I processed all she had said.

Of course, it’s better to pray than to steam clean.

And so, at some point, I began to pray steam-cleaning kind of prayers: venting hot little bursts of frustration to God, and feeling the soul-dirt begin to lift.

As it turns out, my daughter may be the one going to school, but I’m getting schooled in the process.

I’m learning how to trust God with the hours I don’t oversee.

I’m learning that my daughter takes her emotional cues from my primal responses, and so I need to draw deep on God for forbearance, wisdom and patience when she tells me about her day.

I’m learning how much I need to learn as an encourager and ally of my daughter and her teacher.

I feel like I am in the parenting-immersion class: all new, all the time, and it is a thrown-in-the-deep-end experience. For a gal who has always been at the top of her game, becoming a parent has been the most unsettling experience of all. I have never felt less sure of myself, and never felt more prone to taking things personally.

But I have a Father who sees the end from the beginning, and He knows that immersion programs work. He is with me and for me as I figure this mommy-school thing out; and He’s teaching me to be with and for my daughter as she braves a new day tomorrow.

Roll on day 10. And day 11. And day 12. And day 13.

We can do this school thing. Bring it on.

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16 thoughts on “Mama’s getting schooled”

  1. Loved this one. Oh my, loved it. Yes, parenting the first one through is especially unsettling. I still have the same “feeling schooled” feeling with my eldest, who – based on his age – is always in the role of ice breaker and parent-trainer.

  2. Bronwyn, reading your post tonight resurrected many pleasant memories for me, of the years my children were in school. I must admit that there may be even more challenges today than when my kids were in elementary school! A perfect illustration was posted today by a friend, whose son is about your daughter’s age. She remarked how her son was very frustrated doing a word search with his spelling words, exclaiming how he wished he could do it on the computer, where there was a “hint button.” His mother explained that unfortunately, real life does not have a “hint button.” I have to admit, that I could have used a “hint button” a few times along the way myself. Lol

  3. Bronwyn, I just entered the “school” of retirement a couple of months ago. I would never have thought there was much to learn here… but alas! One never knows what lessons the next stage of life will plunge one into until one Gets There. Thanks for this brilliant reminder that the Father is still there–and it is actually He who has thrown me into this “deeper end” that looks deceptively placid from the top. My mama is home with the Father now; and I know that from her new perspective she is not worrying about me here in this, my new school.

  4. Wow! Sounds tough…..for your daughter, and for YOU!

    I have never heard of Immersion classes, so this is a totally new concept to me.
    Are all the children learning Spanish as a second language?
    Excuse my ignorance on this topic.

    With heartfelt hopes, prayers and wishes that each day will gradually become easier….

  5. “Trusting God with the hours we don’t oversee …”

    That’s a lesson that we continue to learn as our children move from being at school for a few hours to traveling overseas on their own for missions trips. Sure, they went with groups that had done this before at first, but then they started doing it on their own or as leaders of the missions teams themselves. There was a whole lot of God-trusting going on with that, I can tell you!

    1. Às I typed that sentence I had this moment of realizing this was the beginning of the rest of my life as a parent: many, many hours of hours I don’t oversee (but thankfully, God does). sheesh. This parenting thing is a trip!

  6. Bronwyn- thank you for this honest post. Not sure who this 5-year-old-ruler-of-the-table is and if my girl has met him/her yet but I know that she comes home just as tired and (for lack of a better word) insecure as yours is.
    Every day is a new conversation about “being special” or “not having as many pretty things as the other person”… I realize that this 5-year-old-Dad is also going through a new stage of maturity. Sometimes our little ones tear down the complicated lives we have built up with a simple question. Sounds like a middle-eastern rabbi I know who breaks down my pretty little palace with simple questions like “who do you think I am?” and “why are you so afraid?” and “which of these three do you think was a neighbor?”
    And like you– it takes all I have in me to not take any words or actions from her personally. And I am sad to said that my record ain’t that great. But in those thin moments when I have consciously sought him, I have found God’s quiet presence chuckling a little at my frailty but simultaneously giving me what I need to give to her: a question, a word, or sometimes just a hug and kiss.
    See you tomorrow

  7. Somehow, this post made the idea of public-schooling my child (because if I’m honest, I don’t know if I could do what my mom did and homeschool my future children, even though I really really want to) wayyyyyy less scary. You’re right that God’s always with us. God is in the classroom, whether it’s at home or in a school. No matter who else is in the classroom or how big it is or what the adult supervisor/teacher is like, God is there in the classroom.

  8. Pingback: What I Love About Public School | bronwyn's corner

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Bronwyn Lea

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