School has begun...again. Back to early mornings, quick breakfasts, lunch boxes, and getting dressed before noon. Back to backpacks, homework, projects and lots of time in the car. Sigh...time is going too fast!
I was reminded this week of how quickly the last year has flown by. It seems like I just took Hailee to her first day of Kindergarten...but that was a year ago. She struggled last year. The adjustment was so hard. My sweet baby girl in a great big public school. She was scared and we dealt with day after day, week after week, of fear. Terrible fear that would bring her to tears at bedtime, dreading the next day. Fear that would bring on immediate tummy aches and panic the moment her precious, hazel eyes opened in the mornings. It broke my mommy heart. So I would find myself bribing, hugging, yelling, worrying, ignoring, praying, comforting...trying anything I could think of to get her through the day, praying the next day would be better.
One particularly bad morning as I pried her fingers off of my arm and unwrapped her ankles from my leg (I had seriously begun to wonder if she was turning into a monkey!) in a pointless attempt to leave her in her classroom, I made a terrible promise. A bribe really. The kind that you regret immediately. I told her that if she would just stay in her classroom I would come back and have lunch with her in a couple of hours. She thought about it for a moment, and I thought about it for a moment (Are you crazy? Why did you tell her that? Now you're going to have to come back and listen to her carry on like a dying hyena AGAIN when you leave after lunch! Mental note: drop her off and LEAVE! Don't come back until 2:45. The teacher is a professional...she's a brilliant woman who has magical powers to make Hailee endure the day. What have you done???) Once I was through with my mental lecture, I found my 5 year old nodding her head, conceding that this plan (bribe!) would work.
I came back at lunch. Having me there was at least enough comfort for the child to eat 3 or 4 bites of food since most days she'd bring her entire lunch home (the fear was so great that it apparently paralyzed her teeth and they could no longer chew food!) Then the bell rang. Lunch was over. Now I was supposed to kiss her goodbye, get a hug and a sweet smile as she followed her classmates out to the playground. Yeah right! Instead, the tears began again. Oh the tears, the pure Kindergarten terror. It was at this moment that I looked at her teacher hoping she could read the apology written on my face since we both knew I would be leaving her with a basket case for the 2nd time that day! So so sorry!
I smiled and waved as I walked out of the cafeteria hoping my fake good attitude would trick her into some positivity! No such luck! I headed out toward my car and turned the corner of the building just in time to see my sweet Hailee crossing the street holding the teacher's hand. I couldn't see her face, but I could tell by watching her shoulders that she was still crying...HARD! I stood there and watched her, wishing with all my might that she would believe me when I told her it would be alright. Wishing with all my might that she knew I would never purposely put her in harm's way. I stood by the corner of that building, watching my little girl, thinking, It's ok, Hailee. Mommy's right here. You don't see me, but I see you. I would never hurt you. You're safe. I'm right here. Please don't be afraid.
And there it was. The still, small voice I hadn't heard in awhile. The still, small voice that I had been missing in that season of my life filled with lunchboxes and homework and car rides. That still, small voice was calling out to ME! It's ok, Jaci. I AM right here. You don't see me, but I see you. I would never hurt you. You're safe. I'm right here. Please don't be afraid.
I was having a God moment at the most unexpected time. A God moment that brought me to tears. Because in all my effort to be strong for my child, to be the rock that she needed to run to when she was afraid, I wasn't leaning on my Rock. And that day, after weeks and weeks of tears and drama, I desperately needed my Father to wrap me up in His arms and remind me that He was right there and that He could see me. That I was safe...that my babies were safe. The only difference was, He didn't have to drop me off for 8 hours. I could keep my fingers wrapped around His arm and hold on with all my might (and show Hailee what it really looked like to be a monkey!) I didn't have to let go or accept a bribe for lunch. He was with me all the time.
He IS with me all the time. He is with each of my little girls at their great big school. Through each season, through each school year, that is a constant I can hold onto. He's right here, with me, with them, with you. We don't see Him, but He sees us. He would never hurt us. We're safe. We don't have to be afraid. We just have to quiet down and remember to listen for the still, small voice...our Father's voice.