I've done "the night before the first day of school" before. A whole lot of times. In fact, I'd say ... if I had to count ... I've personally not slept through about 20 of these types of nights.
Last year, I wrote about what I thought would be my last first day of school. I was super emotional.
Last year was nothing compared to this.
Tonight isn't my own "night before the first day of school."
Tonight is my daughter's first "night before the first day of school."
And so, (since it's my blog) ... tonight is my "first time as the parent of a child on the night before the first day of school."
Do you see what I did there? Do you understanding the nuancing? I'll spell it out just in case.
Tonight is the last night that my daughter is simply my daughter. Tomorrow, she also becomes someone else's pupil.
She's basically gone forever.
Big motherly sigh.
Oh get it together and tell the story, Katherine.
You see, I'm mostly being dramatic with all this heaviness. In truth, tonight was not one of the most gut-wrenching nights of my life. In truth, it was rather fun.
Samara and I had a few last minute details to attend to. This included a trip to the grocery store to pick up apples for her teachers, because ...
"Kids have to bring their teachers apples."
Oh really. Don't we already have apples in the fridge that you can take?
"No, these apples have to be the reddest of red."
Of course they do. And who gave you this information?
"The Little Critters book."
So, out we went to purchase the reddest of all the red apples.
At the store, Samara
1. found the child-size cart in the corner,
2. chose the apples,
3. set them on the counter for the cashier to ring up,
4. (I paid.)
5. carried the bag to the car, and then again into the house,
6. placed the apples in the fridge to keep them cold,
7. and threw the plastic bag into the trash can.
Friends, I think she's ready!
As I gave Samara her bath tonight, washed her hair, helped her lay out her new dress for the morning (and hair accessories), tucked her in with an extra long squeeze, I wondered to myself ... am I?
Am I ready to trust someone else to spend this amount of time teaching my daughter?
Am I ready to spend this many hours away from her?
Am I ready for her to understand the words I slyly spell to her father?
Am I ready for her to have so many new and interesting experiences that I'm not around to know about?
Am I ready for time to just speed up and get away (as all seasoned parents have warned me that it does from this moment on)?
I mean really people, we are one step away from college.
Wait a minute, I'm being overly dramatic again.
Her teachers are awesome, loving, and intentional.
The hours at school will fly, and she'll be home everyday before I know it.
It'll be a while before she can spell.
Experiencing life on her own is part of independence and growing for both of us.
Time passes whether she's here or there, and she will grow up and leave, but not quite yet.
God is sovereign and good ... and she was never mine to begin with. She has always been His.
In fact, Samara (which is actually my daughter's middle name) means "guarded or protected by God." She was aptly given the name after a terrifying emergency birth. A TEB (terrifying emergency birth) in which she came out unscathed. A TEB in which she was perfectly guarded and protected by God.
From the beginning, Mark and I have been aware that Samara is a gift and a responsibility that we have been entrusted with. In parenting her, we are merely serving the Lord.
We love her. We think a lot about her. We do our best to do our best. But ultimately, the Lord loves her more than we could ever even fathom. His will for her life is perfect for her good and His glory.
His will includes her heading out to school tomorrow.
Away from me.
And it will be good.
What a sweet and hard thing it is to be a mama!
I best get some sleep now. I have a big day tomorrow.
Lesson Learned: Who knew "the night before the first day of school" was more of a rollercoaster ride for the mama's than for the littles? Say a prayer for me?!?!
* Linked up at Living Well, Spending Less