Back to School!

It's time.  We have done the thing.  We have been to the library programs and the movies and the pool and the beach.  We have visited family and played on the lake and cooled off with snow cones.  We have had fun.  But IT IS TIME.  It is time for these children to go back to school.  I'm not sure who will be the most excited tomorrow - them or me.  This past week when I have verbalized my desire to place my chicks once again into the hands of teaching professionals, I have said motherly things like, "they are getting bored, " and "they need some structure."  There is some truth to this, but if I am completely honest, THESE KIDS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY!

Whew!  It feels better to get it off my chest.  I cruised through most of the summer with a great routine, but these last 3 weeks have almost been the end of me.  I have't been able to work much, I haven't been able to write much - in my current tired state all I can recall is endless hours with the fruits of my loins.  When Shelby gets increasingly bored, she becomes more and more destructive at home.  She empties all of her dresser drawers, she unearths all of the toys without actually playing with a single one.  She takes all the condiments out of the fridge and lines them up on the kitchen counter.  And Calgon has not taken me away once!  And Allie.  My beautiful, growing girl.  She will start middle school tomorrow and has what I shall refer to as BSS.  (No, not BS, although there are times something definitely smells.)  Big Stuff Syndrome.  I realize this is not a rare condition.  Many of you can relate.  And it didn't come on all of a sudden.  I believe the virus lied dormant for many years and the symptoms have been slowly manifesting over the last couple of years.  But she now has a full blown case and I fear it will get worse before it gets better.  But people, if you don't know this already, there is no cure but time!  Don't you hate it when you have paid your co-pay and dragged yourself to the doctor to be told that it just has to run its course!  "Come on doc.  Give me a shot or a pill or something.  I just want it to go away!"  No such luck with BSS.

Apparently, one of the pervasive symptoms of Big Stuff Syndrome is a semi-constant state of argumentativeness.  There are sweet moments and good times, but an argument is always only one word or side-eyed glance away.  Although as parents, we try to take the high road, it is easier said than done.  We have argued about her tone of voice, we have argued about my lack of desire to be her full-time activity director.  We have argued about chores.  We have argued about the fact that SHE KNOWS EVERYTHING (come on parents - someone is feeling me on this one).  And although I always try for teaching moments, I often resort to defensiveness and sarcasm.  Those come easy to me.  Sigh.  I'm really trying to do better.  My Allie is creative and high-spirited and so very smart.  The last thing I want to do is squash those amazing attributes.

In my quiet time with the Lord, I have been studying Job.  No, I'm not comparing the trials of parenting a pre-teen daughter with the tragedies that fell upon Job.  But I have been comforted to see that, perhaps, God understands what it is like to parent a know-it-all child (and I can now see clearly that sometimes that know-it-all child is me).  When Job questions God on WHY he has allowed death and destruction into his life (any parent tired of answering the "whys" this summer?), His response in chapter 38 resonates with me.  He first accuses Job of using words without knowledge (v. 2).  If that's not a symptom of BSS, I don't know what is.  Then God puts Job in his place by asking, "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation?  Tell me, if you understand.  Who marked off its dimensions?  Surely you know!  Who stretched a measuring line across it?  On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone - while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?" (v. 4-7)  Whoa!  While I do think God wants me to lead my daughter with love, I think there are also times to put a child (say, one who is so spoiled she thinks she can't lower herself to ride the bus) in her/his place.

I am rejoicing that my darlings are headed back to school tomorrow.  Mama needs a break from their constant brand of love and attention.  But I am also praying more than ever before.  I am praying for my husband and I to control our tempers.  To have wisdom in decisions and dealings.  To love and not tear down.  And I'm praying for them to have an amazing year!