Some days, 3 o’clock pickup can’t come fast enough.
“Are you sure you’re okay?” I searched my daughter’s face. Red circles deepened under her eyes. We stood outside her classroom door, surrounded by a bustle of kindergarteners hanging jackets onto hooks.
“I’m fine.” Her lips drooped, and she clutched my hand in both of hers. “I just wish you could stay with me all day.”
My darling girl, so perky when we left the house, suddenly grew paler by the second. “Sweetheart, I don’t want to leave you like this. Does anything hurt? If you’re not feeling well, I can take you home.”
“No, I’m fine. I’ll just miss you.”
Inside the room, a speaker clicked on. Morning announcements signaled the start of the school day. I hurried to make sense of those red circles, this unusual clinginess. Was she ill? Or homesick?
“If you start to feel crummy, tell a teacher. Okay? I’ll come get you.” I watched my daughter collect her reading homework from her backpack and trudge to her desk. Teacher loomed in the doorway, a gatekeeper between me and a piece of my heart.
Who’s going to hug her when I walk away?
My daughter has 20 classmates. That’s a room full of five- and six-year-olds chattering and squirming at once. I’m grateful for her teachers, those great shepherds of the bleating sheep. I wouldn’t want their job.
But on days like this, how I wish they knew her like I do.
They’d take one look at my girl and suspect something’s not right. They’d notice she barely nibbled her morning snack and wonder if those languid eyes meant more than the usual Friday fatigue. They’d ask if she had a headache or needed to rest. They’d call me. I could trust them.
But my child is one among many. And she’s not wired to complain. So the school day rolled on, oblivious to a momma’s worries.
I drove home with my stomach in my shoes. Lord, what if she’s sick? What if she needs me? Will anyone see? Will anyone care? Nobody at that school loves her like I do!
Oh, really? Says who?
“LORD, you have seen what is in my heart. You know all about me. You know when I sit down and when I get up. You know what I’m thinking even though you are far away. You know when I go out to work and when I come back home. You know exactly how I live. LORD, even before I speak a word, you know all about it. You are all around me. You are behind me and in front of me. You hold me in your power. I’m amazed at how well you know me. It’s more than I can understand,” (Psalm 139:1–6, NIV Adventure Bible).
Before we can let go of our children, we must remember to whom they’re going. We’re not really handing them over to school, or to soccer practice, summer camp, or sleepovers. We’re giving them first to God. He sees them when we can’t. He reads their minds when we only wish we had a clue. Even their hurt is somehow under his purposeful control.
Because he holds them in his power.
Wow. Do I really think I can do better?
Of course I love my kids to the core of my soul. But God loves them more. I can hardly comprehend it. And—God loves me that much, too. He loves you that much. He’s not just holding our kids right now. He’s holding us as well.
He sees this pathetic mom pouting in the kitchen, counting hours until the carpool line. Finally I understood what God has been trying to tell me since the school year began.
Nobody loves her like I do. Trust me.
When 3 o’clock arrived at last, I buckled a lifeless girl into the van. Her red eyes sprang instant tears, and I spent the evening nursing a nasty virus out of my daughter’s weary system.
Maybe I should’ve pulled her from school that morning. But this story isn’t really about me. It’s about knowing who fills in where I fall short. I cannot predict a fever. I cannot be the teacher’s eyes and ears. I cannot be with my child every moment of every hour.
But God can.
Linking up with: The Better Mom, Playdates With God, The Mom Initiative, Much Ado Monday, Titus 2sdays, Grace at Home, Rethinking My Thinking, What He’s Done Wednesday, Wedded Wednesday, and Things I Can’t Say.