It’s back to school day. And I’m excited for them. My kids are older now, more independent. They all have their favorite friends to hang out with and have constantly been in and out, in and out. The revolving door has been heavily used, is ready to retire for another year. So, now are the days of picking out their outfits, washing laundry at the last minute, sitting at the table or on the couch ten minutes before bed time trying to scribble out the forgotten homework assignment, cleaning out the backpacks to find the piece of paper that needs to be signed by the morning, football practice, volleyball practice, Travis or me taking forgotten assignments, lunches and books to the school office when they are left behind in the morning rush out the door. Yes the revolving door of summer is gone. Part of me is sad. I’ll miss the morning snuggles on the couch as we watch Ryan’s shows – Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Chuggington, Jungle Junction. I’ll miss the games of volleyball in the backyard, smores over the fire, trips to McDonalds for a Dt Coke with Sidney, the consant sleepovers, baking with each of the kids, wet towels hanging from the deck railing, ipods and phones left on the couch and table, sweaty kids who have been running around the neighborhood all day with friends, sunscreen and aloe vera. Yes summer is a time I cherish. But it’s simply a season and each season holds its own joy and special memories.
And this school year brings lots of change. We no longer have a child in elementary school (OK Ryan, yes, but it’s not the same with him. He gets taller but doesn’t age developmentally). Trevor heads to jr high today with Sidney, and Brad is off to high school. I look at these three sweet kids and wonder where the years have gone. I used to count time in expectations – my baby sitting up, saying their first word, walking, counting to ten, the first day of preschool, riding a bike without training wheels, starting kindergarten, the first sleepover. Now I look ahead and see that I only have four more years with Brad before he spreads his wings and flies. I look at the maturity and growth in each of the kids and stand in wonder and amazement at the overflowing blessings my heart can no longer contain because God has blessed Travis and me with three fun, loving, entertaining, relational young people who love Jesus and have the most compassionate hearts. And they are all so very smart. I am so proud of the blessing each of them has brought to my life. My heart is full and every day is a gift. It’s hard to watch them grow, but at the same time, it’s so very exciting to realize they are evolving into their own identity,weaving their own story and experiencing the joys and heartaches of real life while we are still able to comfort and love them through it. I am not deserving of the blessings Brad, Sidney and Trevor have bestowed on me as their mom. It’s a gift from God, and as they head back to school today, I am keenly aware that my job is to keep teaching them that life is not fair and often not easy, but the real joy comes in finding something to be thankful for every day, in doing your best, in scattering kindness on everyone you touch, in being comfortable in your own skin and standing up for what you believe is right. So today as the kids shut their car doors and walk up to the entrance of their schools, I will smile and be thankful for the road God has blessed me with – one with its own share of heartache and trials, but more importantly, one filled with the grace and love of three beautiful people I am privileged to call my kids.