Every year, I write you on your first day of school.
I’m overwhelmed with so many emotions today.
The times we live in.
The way you’re going back to school.
The fact that you GET to go back to school.
Little did we know when we flew off for our Grand Canyon Spring Break trip, you would not return to school for five months.
You. Are. Amazing. Each of you are such extraordinary humans.
This has been a hard five months. Distance learning. Life shut down. Sports canceled. Friend play dates ever so rare. So many days of the same. A mommy who lost her patience a long time ago.
And still. You rose to the occasion. You’ve had hard stuff to face in your young lives. You came into our world as tiny fighters. You’ve grown a lot, but you still fight and your resilience puts mine to shame. Bagging up your belongings at the age of 7 because we thought our house would flood during Harvey. Watching, and helping, your city rebuild. Then, just a couple of years later, seeing the news report deaths and crisis and unrest and dissension. Living through a pandemic.
But you, you each found joy. You each laughed and ran and played and fought and lived life so fully. I continue to be overwhelmed with the honor of having a front row seat.
I have less advice this year. You probably could give me some.
To you, my oldest: You are brave and competitive and persistent and passionate. You marshal all of those incredible God-given talents this year. I know there were some disappointments thrown at you, and you’re carrying some of those right now, but throw them off. That’s right. The year is on now. And you are going to shine because you have proved over and over that you work so hard to cross the finish line. Just like I told you last night when we were visiting at bedtime before prayers, you were the first one to climb out of the crib, the first to learn how to turn the door knob and escape, the one most committed to succeed at swim team even though none of you could get to the other end because the pool was oh so long and cold. You push through kiddo and that will equip you to thrive this year. I know we butt heads darling boy, but it’s only because we both speak our minds. Do it your way. Forge your own path.
To you, my darling girl: I am utterly smitten with the young woman you are growing into. You are methodical and curious and patient and introspective and massively creative. Your creativity is going to serve you well this year. When you crash into a hard wall, you just create your way around it. Find a different path. Learn a different way. What a gift God gave you with a teacher who knows you already and who is crazy about you and sees your talents and gifts. This year, it will be transformative. And you will bring such joy and laughter and conscience to that classroom. You, the one who took the only counterpoint in a controversial debate assignment last year, will be the one to speak your mind. Driven by justice, you will just grow more and more socially conscious and you will bring people to Jesus because they will see Him shining in you. Just. Be. You.
And to you, my baby: Ha, you are so far from a baby now, it must drive you nuts to own that moniker. Your deep insight and intellect and ability to see beyond what people say to what they feel and what drives them is going to give you such a talent for thriving in 5th grade and all the grades to come. I know it makes life hard sometimes, to feel so deeply what others feel; to pick up on hurt and loss and bear some of it on your own soul. But you are so very strong. Not just physically strong, but emotionally strong to your depths. You crave knowledge. That will grow into wisdom and you will bring insight to the classroom. You will share others worries too. Don’t hold on to them. Let the worry fall away and hand it over to Jesus. You thrive because you were born to learn and grow and share and lead. I couldn’t be more astonished at who you have become.
During my prayer time this morning, I was listening to Elevation Worship music. Praying The Blessing over each of you. And then Resurrecting came on. This line is in one verse: The fear that held us now gives way, To Him who is our peace.
I know this masked up, classroom isolated, year can look a little scary. But we serve a God who is in the resurrection business. He will be your peace. You follow the rules to keep you safe, then make your own way. Grow, thrive, learn, and I’m right here, praying for you and rooting for you and wildly proud of you!