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.