First Day of Schoolposted on August 27th, 2012 / by Pam Mueller / 10 Comments
I guess I should have known it would turn out this way. You, so tall and beautiful, ready for adventures, and me, wishing I could slow the hands of time. Another school year starts today. It’s hot, like all the other summer days, but this day is set apart from the others. Today is the front door to a new set of adventures, the starting point for many of the ways you will grow in the next several months.
I took your picture by the front door, as we do every year on the first day. You looked so cute in your new dress and the cool sandals you found at Target. Of course you were a little nervous, wondering about new teachers and which friends would share classes with you. But more than nervousness, I saw the confidence of a young woman, a confidence that doesn’t come from curled hair and new contact lenses, but confidence that tells me you aren’t a baby anymore.
Your confidence tells me that you are growing daily in knowing who you are and Whose you are. Sure, you have those days where nothing is right, days where you don’t know where you are going or how to get there. Like every other girl I know, you have those moments where you desperately need someone to tell you that your voice matters, and that you are beautiful. But those moments are coming less often as you grow into your own skin. My hope is that you will never stop growing into who you are created to be.
I love your confidence, and I hate it too. I love it because I know the path in front of you won’t be easy, and you will need that confidence to go after the things that are yours to do. I also hate your confidence because it requires me to let go a little. That letting go, it takes my breath away, forms a lump in my throat, and cuts me in my heart.
How can something right feel unnatural? You are healthy, strong, smart and beautiful. It’s so right for you to grow and spread your wings. But it feels unnatural to let go and watch you fly. It was natural to carry you in my womb, to name you, to wonder at the wonder of a new life. It was natural to feed you, nurture you, watch you breathe. It was natural to take you everywhere and to teach you step by precious step what I know and how to get around in this big, wide world. No, it doesn’t feel natural to let go because so much of my heart is invested in you. But it is right to let you go.
Yes, it is right for me to let you go, for you were made to soar. Just like a kite string, little by little, I must release my hold and let the Wind take you farther and higher. He has places to take you beyond what I can even imagine. Even as the letting go cuts deep, I don’t want to hold you back from the adventures designed for you. And there are people in those places and adventures that need what you have to give—who would have thought that my part to play is to loosen my grip and send you there?
The sending gives purpose to this pain. It reminds me that you weren’t created for me. Why do I have to keep reminding myself that you aren’t mine to selfishly hold onto? Yes, I held onto your hand until the very last minute that first day of kindergarten. Of course I held you many hours through sickness and late night tears. And I will always hold onto the joy of being a part of your life. Yet even as I hold on in all the ways that are right and good, I’m required to let go of all the ways I hold on in fear or because I want to be needed. And even as I let go, I take joy in knowing that you will go beyond the foundation your Dad and I have laid, that we all will be amazed at the good things God will do in and through your life. You will take life and love into this aching world, and we will be cheering you on!
I am glad that I haven’t had to let go all at once. So today I give thanks to the One who knows my fragile heart. I thank Him for lending you to me, each precious day an opportunity to love and enjoy the gift of you. I thank Him that He hasn’t taken you suddenly. I thank Him that He is giving me years to get used to the idea of letting go. I thank Him that He made you to soar, and you will soar. I thank Him that His mercies are new every morning and that today there is new mercy to let go and trust, even as it cuts me deep.