I have a love-hate relationship with the school year. Even before my girls were old enough to carry a pencil, I’d push a stroller past our neighborhood school and feel a lump lodging in my throat as I watched other moms drop their kids off at the door.
When my oldest was just three weeks in this world, I sat on the sofa with her snuggled in my arms, bawling at the television. Why? Because I was hormonal and dumb enough to watch a replay of Father of the Bride on TBS. And in that scene where Steve Martin gives Kimberly Williams away at the altar, I thought of how one day I’d have to hand my newborn baby over to college, and would she ever call me? Would she be alright out there in the big bad world? How would I ever live without her in my reach, wrapped safe in my mommy arms where nobody could ever hurt her?
When my girls grew old enough to go to school, I struggled. On one hand, it’s beautiful to see them blossoming into more of who God designed them to be. On the other hand, I miss them. I miss their presence in my home, I miss their dependence on me, I miss the little people they used to be.
I fear them growing up. Is that terrible?
Do you feel it, too?
My kids, your kids—they are always growing, always changing, always gaining new vocabulary words and busting out of their shoes. Why is that so hard for a mother to bear?
Tomorrow begins a new school year for us, once again. We say goodbye to summer freedom and hello to first and fourth grade (oh my!). So I suppose my girls are still young, yes. Nobody is applying to colleges just yet.
But they’re not my babies anymore.
And let us remember—that is a good thing.
“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52).
What would this world be like if babies weren’t meant to grow? If the ultimate Child of God had never blossomed, matured, and completed the work God designed him to do?
Our primary job as Christians is to love Jesus and become more like him. Which means our primary job as parents is to guide our children to do the same. That is why they enter the school stage. That is why we train them up to let them go. That is why each new year, each new shoe size, and every new lesson learned is not just necessary but altogether wonderful.
And one day, for us and for our children, after we have raised them in Jesus’ name and fervently prayed them through their doubts and rebellion until we’re not just moms and kids but sisters and brothers in Christ, age will matter no more. All believers will be united in Glory where—if God is really good—perhaps there will be no school at all. Could it be?! Heaven is perpetual summertime?!? Woot!!
Yeah, let’s go with that.
Happy school year, friends. Whether your kids are tiny or they’re raising babies of their own, may you always embrace the season’s change and recognize it for what it is: God’s beautiful plan.