In just two days, my first-born will be starting full-day kindergarten. Many of you know that I have wrestled with this decision for about a year, and we came to the conclusion, as a family, that we would be sending him to public school. It has been an incredibly difficult decision, but one I still think is the right one for now.
I am prefacing what I'm about to say with these statements (thus freeing myself to emote and journal my thoughts hereafter): I know we made the right decision. I know he'll be great. I know this is going to be really good for him. And I realize I may sound irrational when I say the following things.
I am worried. Worried that he won't do well. Worried that he won't fit in. Worried that he won't be treated with love and compassion. Worried that his love for God will be hindered. Worried that nobody will respond to him when he needs something. And worried that he'll be negatively influenced by the kids in his class that don't share our values.
To only name a few.
And as I sit here in my home while he and daddy are at church (we have a feverish toddler today), I remember that God commands us NOT to worry. I could list at least ten verses that come to mind.
My favorite is this: "You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You." --Isaiah 26:3
When Cody was a baby (and even through toddlerhood), I used to always rock him and sing him a song from my all-time favorite Twila Paris lullabye CD that repeated the above verse. It brought me such comfort as his mama, and those quiet moments while he had his little head on my chest are some of the most precious memories and ones I will cherish for as long as God allows me to live on this earth.
Today my sweet Lord reminded me that I must focus on a God who has my little boy in the palm of His hand, who will never leave or forsake him, and who will watch over and keep him in perfect peace. All of His promises are STILL true, regardless of our schooling choice. The year ahead will reveal whether or not we made the right decision.
The pastor of our previous church put it this way: "When your children are born, they are literally tied to you with a cord. That initial cord is cut, but as newborns, toddlers, and pre-schoolers, a new cord is tied between the two of you. That cord has very little slack at first, and you keep those little ones very close to you. As they get a little older, you begin to loosen the slack a bit and give them a little more space between the two of you. You give them opportunitites to learn about the world. You continue to teach them and raise them with Godly values, but you give them some space to make their own decisions. Your hope and prayer should be that as you continue loosening that slack, and that cord gets a little longer between you, your children will have learned how to remain in the world but not be OF it."
I think that picture of the cord between Cody and I lengthening is what makes this so hard. He's my first-born. I love him with a love I couldn't have imagined before I became a parent. We've had an awesome five years together and the thought of him being gone all day, five days a week, is so hard to imagine. People keep telling me it's going to be okay, that he's going to be wonderful and that he'll love school. They also remind me that this will free up precious time with Caden, to lay a good foundation for him, just like I was able to do for Cody. And they tell me that this is only kindergarten, and we can change our mind at anytime. I am sure they are right. But today, from this emotional heart, it's hard to choose trust over worry, joy over sadness, and confidence over apprehension. But I know that with God's help, I can.
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."