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.