I woke up this morning with a spring in my step, joy in my heart and hope for my soul. I can only conclude that this means my kids start back to school tomorrow. Don't get me wrong. I love my kids. And I love spending time with them. But it has been a long, hard summer. This is the longest stretch of time since Shelby was 3 years old that she has not been in school at least 3 hours a day. She has been mine during these hot months. Nowhere for her to go so I can grocery shop, clean, project or think. And when Shelby is around, you probably know by now that you have to be on your toes. It is exhausting to be constantly anticipating the next disaster. Inbetween messes, I have enjoyed my share of Shelby laughs, loves and cuddles - and I treasure them. But I am looking forward to having longer periods of time between messes for a while. Allie is another sort of mess altogether. She has gone through some changes and growing pains these last few months that have made our time together difficult on some days and downright unpleasant on others. As much as I love her, it is time for her to spread her wings into more of a schedule. And I am looking forward to doing a lot of the same chores and errands I have been doing, but in peace and quiet. And I also plan to feed my spirit with things like girlfriend lunches and daily yoga again. AHHHH. So if you see a mama doing the happy dance for the entire half mile back from Grapevine Elementary School, there is a good chance she will be me.
As anxiously as I have been anticipating this day, God has laid a couple of important things on my heart these last couple of days:
1. Not all families are starting back to school in the same manner we are. Chuck, Allie, and I had to privilege yesterday to volunteer at 6 Stones' Operation Back to School. What an amazing event! I could not, however, believe some of the statistics I was hearing about the need in our area. 52% of the families in the HEB school district are currently applying for some kind of assistance. Over half don't have the basic necessities! Right down the road from us. I would never have imagined this. And even in Grapevine, where I live, the numbers are growing. I must never forget that some mamas haven't taken their children back-to-school shopping - not for the same reason I haven't (I have the pickiest child on the face of the earth and she doesn't like anything) - but because they can't afford it. While Allie spent half the afternoon today planning and packing her lunch for tomorrow, we must think of the mamas who couldn't feed their kids today. I hope the event yesterday was only the beginning of a lifelong quest for our family to seek out those less fortunate to help - and to have hearts overflowing with gratitude for what we have been given.
2. I am reminded that the teachers I am handing my darlings off to have a hard job. That they have chosen to pour themselves out day after day to make my children better. What a gift! What a calling! But what a challenge. And I pray I don't forget that many of them will work long hours at school and home and still have to get done for their own families the tasks and chores I will - starting tomorrow - have some uninterrupted time to do. And I realize how draining that can be. So I pray that my daughters (Shelby to the extent she can) will be the kind of considerate, disciplined students that will make their jobs easier. And I pledge to try to find ways to show appreciation to them and help when possible to make their jobs lighter. Teacher friends, I am praying for you. And I love you. And so I hope you will forgive me tomorrow as I try to say ever so softly, "Yipee