The van stops in the school parking lot. It is the last day of school and the teachers have planned a fun day for my boys and they know they just have this one last day to go before summer vacation.
I made my last lunches for the year, nicely tucked them in their lunch bags and put them in backpacks – ONE MORE TIME.
The old school is closing its doors this summer and a new school has been built a few blocks over to accommodate all these children who need to learn and grow and play and laugh. We gather our things from the van and walk towards the old school – ONE MORE TIME.
Josiah leaps out of the van and races ahead, he’s always racing ahead, eager for the next thing. He’s such a carpe diem kind of guy and I’ve always loved that about him. I’m forever trying to keep up with him and I hope he never stops giving me reason to try.
Josh takes goodies he baked in to the teachers and blesses them with his thoughtfulness – he does that a lot for people, mostly his family – Thank God for that.
As Elijah goes to jump down out of the van, I grab him in a bear hug instead. I hold him close to me, his ear hovering near my lips. I want to joke with him and keep the day light-hearted – I know he will be sad as the day ends and he’ll miss his friends and teachers and super-cool classroom. His whole school experience so far, his whole 2 years was spent in the same classroom with the same teacher. He gained another teacher and new friends this year when they began the Early Learning Program in our district. Next year means a new school, new classroom, new teacher and new friends. That’s a lot for anyone to handle, not to mention a 6-year-old boy. But I know he can do it, I believe in him, I believe God’s got wonderful things planned for my sons and this is just a part of the big picture.
I whisper in Elijah’s ear so close to my face I don’t want to take you in. This is my last day of being a mom to a kindergartener and I don’t want it to end. So how about I just take you home and you don’t go to your class – ONE MORE TIME?
We laugh, he puts up with me, I tell him I love him and put him on the ground. Elijah is more of a saunter-er and takes his time at life. His pace is much easier to keep up with on the tired days, though he loves to try to keep up with Josiah just as much as I do.
As Elijah and I start along the sidewalk – ONE MORE TIME – and get closer and closer to those big blue doors that stand at the entranceway to the school, I catch a glimpse. A glimpse of Elijah all grown up, awesome , the man God made him to be. The glimpse is not an actual picture in my head, but more a feeling in my heart, a reassurance in my soul. God is working everything out for my sons to get them where He wants them, when He wants them and how He wants them. One step at a time. Closer to growing strong men of faith and noble character. This school was one of those steps.
I am utterly encouraged. I can utterly trust. God speaks gently to my mother’s heart. He knows my boys are growing up way too fast – always too fast. He knows I’ve been opening my treasure box of motherhood and looking through the contents. Rocking and nursing tiny baby boys. Feeling their fingers around mine as they fall asleep. Or them playing with my hair as they fall asleep peacefully in my arms. Their baby-gazes up into my eyes as I nurse them. Their toothless smiles, their baby laughs, always new discoveries and me getting to share it with them. Crawling, walking, running, climbing, jumping, SOARING out of my reach. Once I got used to letting go I loved to watch them in all their boy-ness. Then the words came, they spoke, they understood, and life’s discoveries were shared all over again, in different ways. We no longer communicated with just with eyes or expressions, but now with words too.
So many treasures to cherish from motherhood. So many gems I’ve kept ( I learned, slowly but surely, to find some good in the bad, put that good in my treasure box and chuck the rest as far away as I could). My box is full to the brim. Then God makes it bigger, somehow, as only He can, and whispers to my heart that there is so much more coming. He says I won’t want to miss it. And if I stare too long at the treasures I already have, I might forget to add the gems that are coming next. He doesn’t want me to miss a thing. He wants to give me so many gems for my treasure box of motherhood. But I have to keep accepting them as I find them. To find them, I have to keep looking.
I see it later that day as I watch Josiah get awarded for Academic Achievement and Track and Field and Battle of the Books and see the young man he is becoming. Later still as the brothers give flowers and cards to their teachers. And I think back to Elijah this morning and how I didn’t want him to walk through those big blue doors. But I’m so glad I got to hold his hand and walk through the doors with him – ONE MORE TIME.
May I get to walk beside both my boys as the doors open and close in their lives. One day soon they will stand taller than me, and instead of baby-gazes up into my eyes, it will be mother-gazes up into their eyes. Both so full of wonder and love.
Thank you God for making me a mother.