Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Perfect Book Bag

If you walk into any number of stores, the smell of new crayons and paper products will quickly assault your nose.  Colored folders, pencils by the hundreds and glue sticks...we can't forget the glue sticks!  Yes.  Our summer vacation is quickly coming to an end.  While the big kids have been filling their days at Winshape Camp this week, I took the little girls on an outing to pick up some basic school supplies.  This was their first time being able to help and they were oh-so-excited!  There was also the promise made that we would look for the prettiest lunch box we could find.  After all supplies were gathered, we searched the store...up and down each aisle to no avail.  It seems they had not unpacked all of their inventory.  Seeing the little frowns on their lips make me abandon my plans for the rest of the morning and we decided to check yet another store.  Low and behold it was empty of the little treasures as well.  I suppose everyone is a little behind schedule this year.  No judgement from this gal, I feel behind most of the time!  The one thing we did get to check out were a few little book bags.  We saw Hello Kitty, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, and some other sparkly ones that I didn't recognize.  For the girls it was love at first sight...over and over again.  For, not so much.  So, I set about the task of explaining to these two smitten little girls, while these are very pretty bags, they are made of plastic and would rip very easily.  I continued to say Momma didn't want to spend money on something that wasn't going to last very long.  Durability is a tough concept to grasp at 4, huh!  If only I had a camera ready to capture their faces.  First was the look of confusion, then came the look of "but I want it," then came the frustration when I shook my head no.  Sorry Charlie, but we need to find the perfect book bag. 

It's not unusual for me to be filled with some trepidation at the beginning of the school year.  The newness of it all, the babies!!!  However, this year is going to prove to bring an entirely different set of emotions.  Four of my children will be facing some big changes.  Ethan is headed into 6th grade.  He will be changing schools and will now be an official middle schooler!  Christian is moving up to the 3rd grade and will also be switching to a bigger kid school. 
  ***Here they have the children separated into the Primary School (preK-2nd), the Elementary
      (3rd-5th), Middle, and High School.***   
Each move will prove to be challenging as they all require more responsibility and dedication.
As for the twins?  Well, they will be starting all day Pre-K.  That's right, this year will also mark my very last first-first day of school.  They will be my last little Pandas to enter the halls of Perdue Primary.  It makes my heart full to think that this school and many of the teachers in it have watched my children grow.  I love walking in and being greeted with smiles and being asked how V,E or C are doing or seeing them get excited when they find out they will be getting to see the little girls very soon.  It really is a great school filled with warm people...they're just not me.  Selfishly, I want to continue to be the one who makes my little girls smile, who teaches them new things and introduces them to new concepts.  I want to see them from the time they wake up to the time they go to bed (minus the grumpy moments.  Truly, I could do without those).  Signing them up for Pre-K was so difficult for me.  I would have been perfectly content to keep them in a half day program at our church for a few mornings a week.  However, Mike and I decided, after very much prayer, that we would turn in our paperwork and if the girls were chosen to go to school then that would be God's decision, not ours.  I reluctantly agreed.  The next couple of months were filled with prayer.  I poured my heart out to God on why the girls should stay with me and then I would always conclude with ,"but You know best."  I sounded just like a child trying to plead my case to my Creator, as if He didn't know what was best for everyone.  The day their acceptance letters came in I cried like a baby.  Mike held me and the big kids celebrated with the littles.  I knew I had to pull myself together, but a small part of me felt a loss, as if a part of me was being ripped away.

From that moment on, hesitantly at first, my prayers have had to switch gears.  I have approached the Father with a grateful heart.  I am so grateful that God has allowed Mike and me to become parents to 5 amazing children.  I am so grateful to my husband for working so hard and allowing me the opportunity to stay at home and spend every moment with our kiddos.  I love all the boo boos I've been able to kiss, all the lessons I've been able to teach, all the nails I've been able to paint and all the bike rides we've been able to go on.  Truly, I have nothing to complain about.  God has been so good to me.  Rather than be sulky about my imminent feelings of loss, I am choosing to turn the page and celebrate this new chapter!  I am praying my little girls get the "perfect" teacher for them.  I want this transition to go as smoothly as possible and I know a good kindhearted teacher would help ease them (and me) into it.  I am praying for their behavior.  Although there are two of them and they play with others and pretty good at sharing, they both can have very strong personalities.  I pray that God will calm their hearts and allow new lessons to flow in. 

While we purchase our few remaining back-to-school items, I just know we'll find the right lunch boxes.  There just have to be beautiful, sparkly My Little Pony ones out there somewhere.  As for me?  I'm still in hot pursuit of the perfect book bag. 

 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17


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