First Grade Jitters

As parents there are endless choices and decisions to be made.  It starts with what you feed your children, moves on to what you are expose them to and eventually you have to decide how you will educate them.

There were unexpected tears at the end of Kindergarten last year ~ not from my oldest daughter but from me.  First grade starts tomorrow, and the jitters have come and gone for weeks.  We are headed into the public school realm, and I’m not sure which way is up or down.

Fortunately, there are so many that have gone before me.  A sweet friend has a daughter my oldest’s age, and her daughter did kindergarten last year at this school.  I have never been so grateful to have had someone go before me.  The amount of Voxer messages I’ve sent her with questions is embarrassing.

Part of our decision just doesn’t make sense. The school we chose is not in our neighborhood.  We have a great neighborhood school less than 3 minutes away. The school we chose is public not private. Many of our friends are doing a private co-op Classical Conversations school where they will see their kiddos 3 days more than I will see mine.  The school we chose is Title I, and our feeder school is not. However, my daughter was accepted into the applied learning program at the school we chose. There are smaller classrooms in this program with more freedom in the learning environment. It is beautifully diverse and represents unity that my heart longs for.  I fully believe it is where we are supposed to be…yet I have some real jitters.

Will my daughter make new friends? Will she be safe? Does her teacher love to teach and can’t wait for this next year? Will I connect with other moms and feel connected to the school?

A few weeks ago my sweet friend (the one that has gone before me) asked me if I would be interested in helping her with a teacher luncheon for the PTO committee she was heading up.  I’ve known up to this point that I was going to have to be intentional and put myself out there this year to be involved in my daughter’s education. For whatever reason, though (like I’ve mentioned before), I tend to crumble when building relationships with other parents.  I have an instinct to lay low… I don’t want to compete or compare AT ALL about anything. So I knew when she asked me to help it was the perfect opportunity to put myself out there, and I needed to respond eagerly. It is my desire to be more engaged with school, but navigating all the other people, their thoughts and expectations, feels vulnerable and overwhelming. Serving in this capacity is my passion, though…this is a place of comfort for me.  I love a good theme, decorations, and making something feel special.  A teacher luncheon was the perfect place to start and get my feet wet.

The luncheon went great, and my friend did a fabulous job (and worked her tail off!).  I met lots of other moms and PTO members and made some fun connections.  It wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought.  The highlight was meeting the new principal, who immediately stood and hugged me upon introductions. Her spirit was precious, and she is most certainly a light. My spirit was able to breathe a sigh of relief…

We’ve bought school supplies. (My oldest shares my JOY and importance of this event.) Uniforms are organized and have been modeled. 🙂 I’ve helped with a teacher luncheon. I’ve filled out a volunteer application for the school. We have met our teacher whose spirit is also precious. My excitement and anxiety reminds me of childhood. I want my girl to have a fabulous year, and yet I have very little control over what and how that happens.

But I do know that God is with her all the time ~ the Holy Spirit resides with her. He cares deeply about her and ALL the children at that school. I want wherever we are and whatever we choose to be a place of sanctuary and sanctification.  As I move through this parenting journey, I find myself caring more about the heart of my child than I anticipated. Yes, I want her to be successful and have skills that take her through this life with opportunities that use her giftings and bless others. But at the end of the day, I want her to love people well, put others before herself, and find the value of other people no matter what.  Straight A’s, top of the class, and perfect attendance are far secondary to my girls having Jesus-eyes.

My heart still feels jittery and anxious, but I am realizing part of that is my heart dying to my ideals and expectations. The jitters are actually sanctification. Motherhood challenges and changes me more than I could have ever expected or projected. I am not the same woman my husband married 10 years ago, and I’m not the same parent I was when I started this gig 6 years ago. I am grateful.

Here’s to first grade! (And all the other beginnings for everyone!) God is with us. God is with our kids. God is moving. May we move with Him. My prayer for this school year for my daughter is that she is part of bringing the Kingdom to Earth.  May she be an instrument of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness and a LOT of self-control. 🙂

P.S. There is more to this story that will come next week. Part of my anxiety is centered around the Total Solar Eclipse of 2017… Talk about dying to yourself…

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