the cost of education

Dear Rylie,

I thought I would be the mom who made a warm breakfast every morning, who had art projects planned strategically throughout the day, and rotated books with the seasons.  Maybe I would home-school, maybe I would Montessori… but either way, I’d wear long flow-y skirts and a cowgirl hat and we’d feed the chickens in-between lessons and talk about where our food comes from.

It’s a family joke that I have the child who must touch, must lean, must shadow.  Me, who needs a personal space barrier of 2 feet at all times.  It’s a proof of genetics that I have the child who can be more sullen, feel more emotions, and carry more anxiety than her five years should allow. ‘Payback!’ I hear more than I care to.  It’s true… I know.  But there is more.  There was always more to you.

Deep inside, there is a girl struggling to be understood… quite literally.  There is a girl who absolutely cannot stand to be bored.  There is a girl who is content with direction and approval.  This… this was not me.

For me, words flow easier than relationships.  For me, singing in front of thousands is more comfortable than eye contact with your father.  For me, freedom is a blessing  and I bristle when someone tells me exactly how to do something and when to do it.  You?  You have more social skills now than I ever will.

It is the beauty of a new creation.  In Christ, we are all new creations made in His image.  You and I share a history and a family and a future… but we are our own.  Same, but gracefully different.  Let’s both try to remember that, ok?

You will start kindergarten next year, Rylie, and you will be going to school.  Real School.  You have grown beyond what I am capable of handling on my own.  I simply don’t have all the tools to be everything that you need.  God has rigged it so that you would have to fly and I would have to ask someone else to help you land.  I know you… and you know me… too well.  We need to expand the village.

I am terrified.

What if you get lost?  What if you can’t get to the bathroom in time?  What if your teacher can’t understand you?  What if the other kids laugh at your jeans that are always too big?  What if they don’t invite you to their birthday parties?

Oh, it will all happen.  I know.  But what if you notice?

Your dad and I have looked at 4 different school districts and 2 private schools.  We have emailed, phoned, and met with principals, resource team leaders, and bus drivers.  One… one… called immediately.  One asked how they could serve you.  One met with us before the sun came up to hear your story and show you around. One praised your progress and prayed for your development.  One cried as they talked about the potential to work together to bring out Rylie we don’t know yet… the child of God within.  

There is no question that you will be safe here… where they answered questions I did not voice.  Where there are students like you and students not like you.  Where the staff will pray for you when my voice is hoarse.

I’ll be wearing my long flow-y skirt and cowboy hat… as I pick you up from the bus stop every day.  And I will beg for information and snippets of song as clues to your day… as we feed the chickens.  It is not what I pictured.

Perhaps it is more?

The cost of education is great, and it has nothing to do with money.  I will pay the tuition… but that’s just a matter of re-budgeting and discipline.  No- I will pay in the distance, in the giving over, in the requirement of trust, in the absence of you.

And I will celebrate in the freedom, in the peace, in the pride that will return… in your joy of adventure, in your excitement for that yellow bus, in your pages of practiced letters and lines.

I will pay.

I am glad to have a little time to save up.

Love always, Mom

About texasnorth

TexasNorth is a little farm in Western Michigan. It's home to 5 chickens, 25 longhorn cattle, a coonhound (Banjo), 1 barn cat, a husband, and 3 ridiculously funny children. The mom of this zoo has been known to mow the lawn in a skirt and roast marshmallows after dark. View all posts by texasnorth

24 responses to “the cost of education

  • Jim B

    Awesome. Glad u found the one.

  • Jess

    Wow! What a blessing. To find a school just right for that sweet girl. So excited for you guys!!!

  • Julie

    Once again, you have put into words what I carry in my heart. I am so thankful you have found the perfect place for your precious Rylie. I understand the struggle to find that perfect place and the bittersweet heartache that comes when it’s time for them to go.

    I am so thankful for you and your blog. You have no idea how I am blessed each time I read it.

  • Cara Davis

    this is beautiful, just like you and your little girl!

  • Kelly Bates

    It’s so hard to spill your guts to total strangers. So happy you have found the perfect school. I know the struggle all to well. Recently a grandmother at speech therapy asked if we had been going there for a while. When I sat back and thought about it, it has been 7 years with Haleigh……not what she was expecting to hear. And, 2 other children have used her services. It’s so hard explaining to people your child’s disability, when they appear “normal”. I think of you and your struggles often. God Bless.

  • Natalie Mulder

    Seems to early to be spilling over with tears…but so perfect and beautiful! Thank you my friend.

  • Amy

    Oh sweet lady, it IS hard to send them off and stay behind and hope that all is well….the first of many steps we must take to fully free them from the next (and then hope they come back often to visit).
    So thankful you found a school that will love your daughter!!

    Will be thinking of you…

  • lisahudson

    Oh, hallelujah! Tears of joy for you, my internet friend. Tears of joy!


  • Leslie

    My children didn’t have the challenges of yours, but I still prayed as I sent them to school. “Like Moses, Lord, let them learn those things they need to become all they need to be and protect them from all that would draw them away from You. So they would choose to serve the Lord, instead of the world.” God has been faithful, and I’m so thankful.
    He is just the same today, for you.

  • Mandi

    So glad you found the right place for Rylie! Praying for a smooth transition for you both and sending lots of loving thoughts your way.

  • shanda

    It is the Holy Spirit working through you. Working through you with Rylie, with your family, and with all of us: your extended family. In James God promises to provide wisdom for us and to give it to OVERFLOWING. So thankful that the wisdom was overflowing to you and Curt. You continually touch this mama’s heart. 🙂

  • Stephanie

    My heart is so glad that you have found someone you can trust with your sweet baby girl! I have accepted that the reality of Mamahood seldom matches what you had pictured in your head. (But it still pisses me off! I want to wear a flowy dress in the garden toooo!) And regardless of the child’s ability, all Moms posess a sharp awareness of possible offenders of their baby’s heart. Kids are so honest and can be downright cruel. You are a woman of great faith! You know that God will take care of your Rylie girl and help her through any inevitable physical struggles as well as the social pains that every child experiences. Love!

  • zoe

    Hooray for finding the right school. Praying for a wonderful year for Rylie and you too!
    Also, I LOVE the pic of the 3 of them. Seriously, gorgeous children!

  • Kim Aguilar

    Tears. Only tears. Holding back the sobs, actually…I *just* put on my mascara for heaven’s sake.

    But really. You touch my heart and soul, Katie. You and your Rylie girl. You touch my soul.

  • Margie

    Katie, you are simply not allowed to write posts this touching, this moving, this…emotional. Rylie will treasure these. But even those of us who aren’t family have lots to learn from them. So much more to learn than I want to admit. You. are. amazing.

  • Kathy R.

    Katie- Your words on this one touch me on so many levels. One of the great mysteries of parenting is the realization that our children do not come out thinking/acting like us. There are not a number of “mini-mes.”

    Allowing others to join you in teaching Rylie takes great courage and trust. The absence of Rylie in your day is truly a part of the cost. While there are painful moments with Rylie’s expanded world, she will also be stretched, encouraged, and held. I pray Rylie’s year is an amazing one She is in great hands! Blessings.

  • Kathy R.

    Oops- sorry. I think I am just a bit too tired to “talk” clearly tonight. I accidentally deleted part of that first paragraph– I will try again. There are not a “mini-mes” in my family- My kids are more like reflections in a lake- wiggling and a bit unclear. I don’t know why I thought my children would be a bit more like me or my husband. Thankfully- I was wrong.

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