David is going to preschool three days a week this year, and Mary Virginia is going two days. So on Monday, we spent all morning rushing around, fumbling through our new preschool routine, and also explaining to Mary Virginia over and over and over that David was going to school today, but she was going to stay with Mommy. She would go later, but today was not a school day for Mary Virginia.
In response she threw herself on the floor and screamed, “BUT I’M WEARING CLOTHES!!”
David is wearing the same shorts he wore for every first and last day of preschool since he started. Until now, it’s just been a coincidence. This time it was on purpose. Over the summer they got a huge hole in them, so I stashed them in his dresser for this photo, then I planned to change his shorts.
We took a photo, then rushed to the van where his sister and brother were already waiting.
I didn’t realize I’d forgotten the “change his shorts” part of the plan until we go to school. Which is how David ended up wearing split pants on the first day of preschool.
Mary Virginia’s first day was David’s second day. After watching her brother stand on the porch for photos, she knew the drill. (In the two days between David’s first day and Mary Virginia’s first day, we potted mums.)
David has never told me anything about school, ever, and that hasn’t changed. I asked him pointed, specific, open-ended questions and eventually he snapped at me, “MOMMY, I DON’T KNOW WHO I SAT BESIDE DURING SNACK!”
On the other hand, when Mary Virginia saw me she shouted, “When the music stops you stomp!” and since then has been talking about her day non-stop with accompanying hand motions and occasional pauses to laugh because the memory is so hilarious. I know which teacher helped her go potty, that they sang “If you’re happy and you know it,” they read a story, they ate pretzels, and GOD MADE ME!
I’ve already heard more about Mary Virginia’s first day of school than I’ve heard about David’s entire education.
For some reason I felt a little apprehensive on David’s first day of school, and I couldn’t quite figure out why. David loves school, and has always thrived in the environment. He enjoys the structure, activity, and has always made friends easily. Plus, we love David’s school. We have strong relationships with other preschool families and the school staff. And more importantly, we truly believe in the school’s mission and vision. But still, I worried.
On the first day I was walking David to his class and pointed out the hook where he was supposed to hang his bag. Each child has a name tag over their hook. David’s is blue.
My first thought was, “Oh no. I wish his name tag was red! David will be disappointed. His teachers from last year would have known he would want a red name tag.”
(David didn’t seem to notice.)
That’s when I realized, my apprehension is centered around wanting David to be known and my reluctance to entrust my children to the Lord.
My kid is an individual with unique needs, and though I know the teachers will care for him, they don’t know how much he loves red! Or that he might feel sad when he’s not the line leader! They don’t know his heart.
My intellectual desire for my kids to be known is met easily; their teachers will care for them and get to know them.
But my deep, heart longing for them to be known and loved completely is met in the person of Christ. He knows their hearts and exactly what they need, completely. (And He knows that sometimes they need a blue name tag and to take turns being line leader.) When I drop them off, He is with them and covering them with His love.
My hope and prayer as we begin a new school year is that my kids — and I — will grow in our trust and knowledge of God’s great love for us.