Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Ah, bittersweet words for this momma. At some point, I am sure I will write about our journey with Noah. For now, I'll just say we've decided preschool is the right decision for our firstborn.
Along with the difficulty that every mom experiences the first time they usher their child into the care of a school, I know I am bringing my own distinct perceptions that have me awake nights or tearing up at what lies ahead.
I was homeschooled, so it has been drilled into my head that that is the better way. That better parents homeschool. My mom did a miraculous job homeschooling the 10 of us--to such high standards that we were always ahead of our peers in the area of schooling. That being said, the social, dreamer part of me always longed for the magical element of having my own lunch bag and locker. Of bumming around a school with my very own gaggle of friends. Although the reality of school would probably not have lived up to my young dreams, I still know I was interested.
I also worked in a public, inner-city school for over 3 years, a school that served Pre-K through 4th grade. And I worked for about a semester as a teacher to 2 and 3 year olds in a private, Mexican school. Each time, I would pity the youngsters whose "selfish" parents would shuffle them off to school at the tender ages of 2, 3, and 4. "Let them be babies!" I would think to myself, "Nothing that we are teaching here are things that you can't teach them at home! They need to be with momma!"
So, with this background--I approached parenthood. I knew I wouldn't be a "die-hard" homeschool mom, but on the other hand... I knew I wouldn't send my kid to daycare or preschool.
Enter Noah. The boy that constantly teaches me that the point of parenthood is to prove you wrong. To reveal all those sneering attitudes I may have had towards other parents, and then cause me to gulp as I find myself in the same situation. To cause you to re-open issues you thought were closed, and to see people as individuals instead of "one-size-fits-all". To toughen up sensitive areas, and soften hard, snobbish views.
While we feel that we are making the right decision for this child, I am at a constant tug-of-war inside of myself. Should he go to preschool 2 days or 4? Should he go this year or next? Is it really the right decision for now?
I think I have found in the last few weeks that one of my biggest fears really is the fear of failure. I fear--or should I say... I am learning not to fear--failing at what I do. I fear failing as a friend. I fear failing as a wife. I fear failing as a mom, a role model, a child of God. Even as I write these words, I can feel the familiar icy grip on my heart. That same dreadful pressing that pushes me to commit to things I shouldn't, that whispers that I'm not good enough, that urges me that what is nessessary is far beyond my reach.
I know I am not alone in this fear, but facing that fear head-on has been prying open the lid to an old, dusty trunk hidden away in a corner of the attic. Rather frightening; perhaps a little smelly. But it has ultimately been very revealing and freeing.
I am a failure. There is no way I can succeed or be a success. That's where Jesus comes in. Since it is in our wiring that we will fail (aka "sin") or make short-sighted decisions (aka "succomb to our finiteness") it is imparitive that we look only to our perfect and all-seeing God for our sense of worth and direction. This was brought home to me a week or so ago during the worship center at our new church. As God's presence moved in me during the praise and prayer, I felt God asking me what was burdening me. What was causing me to feel that, no matter how hard I pedaled, my wheels were spinning in mud? What was scaring me so much that even words were failing me?
Fear of failure dropped into my heart, and then the floodgates opened. I bowed my head and opened my hands as I spoke those words back to God. I confessed to Him my fears, I handed Him back my treasured son. I told Him that I was scared for my baby, I was scared for our family. That I didn't want to fail, and that I often felt that I didn't have what it took to do what I needed to do.
And that's when God sat back and smiled. You're right, kiddo. You don't have what it takes. You will make mistakes. You are weary and looking for escape--but you are looking in all the wrong places. You need Me. In Me you will find that reassurance you keep trying to find in people. In My hands, even mistakes can be redeemed. My providence is unending, My wisdom is infinite. And, by the way, your family is Mine."
Deep, huh? I thought so. It also caused me to walk around with tear-swollen eyes for the next day or so, but that is just the goodness of God.
So, as the days between us and Noah's first days of preschool grow ever fewer, I continue to bolster up courage. I continue to dialogue with my Maker (and Noah's).
And, Noah shows me ways that he is readying for his new chapter in life:
Yay! Hand-control is coming!! Noah's first drawing of people... chalk on the front driveway. He made sure to draw in hair, ears and chins... even if they do seem to still be coming in for a landing. ;)
A foray into finger-painting the other day. He wrote the whole alphabet, his version I should say.
A, B, C, D, E, F...... (he did ask momma to write the "B" and the "F"... the rest are his though).
F, G, H, I, J, K, L....
M, N, O, P, Q, R, S....
T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z and a happy face. Because every alphabet should end with a happy face.