I’ve been quiet on this blog lately. New school years inevitably bring about a speedier pace. School forms and activities and meetings universally abound this time of year, and we’re still working on hitting our stride. It’s good. Really good. And really exhausting.
Adding even more fun to the mix, this sweet thing just started back in preschool this morning. Let’s just ignore the fact that her preschool actually started several weeks ago. We made an eleventh hour decision, there was (miraculously) one open spot at very preschool we wanted, and so here we are.
Suffice it to say, God is teaching me flexibility. That, while I may like to think that I know what’s up, He, oh you know, SPOKE the planets into orbit. So I should probably listen and flex when He says to flex.
And so, here she is. After several early morning wardrobe changes, Elizabeth finally settled on “cowgirl boots and a dress that twirls”. DONE.
Alright, here’s the thing. Sometimes, moments that seem relatively ordinary to most- moments like starting another year in preschool- can be Really Big Deals to others. For Elizabeth, this whole preschool gig is a Really, Really Big Deal. Leaving mom for hours each day takes a heck of a lot of bravery and trust on her part. Because, when you spend the first few formative years of your life in an orphanage, things are obviously going to be different. Experiences are experienced differently. Big feelings and big reactions seemingly come out of nowhere. All understandable. All “normal” in terms of behaviors you’d expect from a child with Elizabeth’s background. And yet, parenting through that is sometimes just SO DANG HARD.
There are so many days (so. many. days. y’all.) that I feel completely inept at being a mother. Especially a mother to a kid who’s been through significant trauma. “I don’t even know how to do this anymore. I have no freaking clue what I’m doing,” I’ll tell Matt (almost daily). Sure, I’ve read all the books. We’ve sought professional help (after our first counseling appointment, I glanced at Matt and remarked, “that was the best date we have had in a really long time!” I don’t even know what that says about us.) And I’ve prayed. I’ve prayed a lot. For wisdom. For some way to reach into our sweet girl’s heart and let her know to the very marrow of her bones that she is unconditionally loved and accepted and safe.
Sometimes, answered prayers come in small ways. This morning, we were getting ready for her first day, and in the flurry of the morning rush, I felt my anxiety rise. I had no clue how today would go. IF it would go. I continued with the dressing and brushing and breakfast-making, all the while offering up desperate prayers to the One who hears. The One who cares.
And then. Somehow, in the midst of the chaos, I came across my gold locket from my childhood. And in a momentary stroke of genius (or, more appropriately, divine inspiration), I printed up some impossibly tiny pictures of my face and Matt’s, draped it around her neck, and saw her entire demeanor change before my eyes.
Sometimes we just need those small reminders. Just as I sent Elizabeth off this morning with a tangible reminder of the love of her mommy and daddy, we, too, so often need reminders that our Father who art in Heaven also lives in the small and mundane here on earth. That He is here, right here, with us. That he will never, ever leave us, that He is on our side, and that His love knows no bounds.
We’re prone to forget. And still, He’s quick to cover us in His grace and mercy, all the while reminding us who He is. Oh, may that inform my every move and every decision I make as a mother.