Time sure is a funny thing. Don’t you agree?
One of our local radio stations announced the 20th anniversary of something-or-another that this particular radio station has hosted. For the past 20 years. And I thought, Huh. I was in high school when that started. And it doesn’t seem that long ago.
My stomach still lurches every September when the annual See You At The Pole rally comes around. I’m pretty sure this fall will be the 20th anniversary of that, too, because I vividly remember going to the first one in 1990 – the morning after my heart was ripped from my chest and smashed into tiny smithereens and my life was over! Over, I tell you! because of a stupid boy who decided he wanted to “see other people.”
Yeah, I don’t care much for See You At The Pole.
(But I got over it years ago. Really. I’m much better now.)
Twenty years sure has passed quickly. It sounds like a long time, doesn’t it? But it seems much shorter. Weird.
And sometimes, one single week can last an entire year. Like last week.
Meghan and I returned home from our trip to Cleveland and Chicago on Monday evening and stepped into a whirlwind of change and anxiety that left my head spinning. While we were in Cleveland, I received an email informing me that the school transfer we had applied for was approved…
Let’s back up.
Oooohhhh, where to start?
Let’s just say that my kids are all crazy-smart, and up until this year, the schools and the teachers have been wonderful and accommodating and have made sure that our kids get what they need to make their educational experience interesting and enjoyable and challenging. We have been very, very fortunate. Up until this year.
For some reason unbeknownst to the logic and common sense of the universe, Meghan was placed in a classroom with both gifted kids and below-grade level kids. Which is grossly unfair to the students and the teachers…and, to some degree, the parents who have to fight for their kids’ education. This particular school has its share of rough kids with really sad family situations, which perpetuates a really sad cycle of academic struggles and discipline issues.
We try to teach our kids compassion for others. We tell them over and over again that if someone is being mean, there is always a reason. There’s more going on inside that child’s heart that we cannot see. I’m convinced that’s why God instructs us to pray for our enemies.
I don’t want to ever shelter my children and keep them in this well-protected bubble of white upper-middle class suburbia. HOWEVER, when an unsheltered environment translates into other kids getting in my child’s face and dropping F-bombs and teachers who are so overwhelmed with discipline issues that they give my child worksheets and busy work and leave her to fend for herself to the point where she comes home and tells me that she “hates school”…well, then we have a problem.
We faced two options: stay at the same school and change classrooms, or apply for a transfer to the school she will attend next year when we move into our new house – which is recognized as a very, very good school with great kids and great teachers. Great kids + great teachers = freedom to do some really fun stuff that does not involve worksheets or busy work. Our school district is known for being a little bit stingy with transfers, but Meghan was so miserable and frustrated that we decided to give it a shot. Changing schools was her first choice. We decided to submit the transfer application and, once again, open our hands to God to release all of our expectations and receive whatever He had for her.
(Which was a pretty incredible lesson in life and faith for our ten year old girl.)
So last weekend. Get the email. Lose the sleep.
We were all so excited…and incredibly nervous. I picked her up from school on Wednesday afternoon and withdrew her from her old school, then drove across town to enroll her in her new school. My precious baby girl sat in the secretary’s office as I filled out the necessary paperwork, and her leg was bouncing up and down uncontrollably, a tight smile on her face. She was so happy to be there – but absolutely terrified.
The secretary, noticing Meghan’s nerves, offered to walk us down the hall and meet her new teachers – who were expecting her and were both just as warm and sweet and welcoming as two teachers could ever be.
The next morning, our daily routine slightly altered, we headed out the door – tight smiles and bouncing legs and all. Meghan got hold of my phone was texting Gretchen as we drove. “Tell Alex that she will be in my will when I die of nervousness!” she said. Oh boy oh boy oh boy.
The butterflies in my own stomach were having a party for the entire day. I couldn’t wait until 2:45 when I could pick her up and find out how her day went. I hoped and prayed that she would be smiling when I saw her.
Assuming, of course, that I could figure out where exactly I was supposed to go to pick her up. “It’s by the cafeteria,” the school receptionist told me when I called that afternoon, seeking reassurance that I would indeed go to the right place.
Okaaaay…and where exactly is the cafeteria?
It was slightly unnerving.
I had visions in my head of a Mr. Mom reenactment: “YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!”
Again, time is such a funny thing. That day seemed to drag on For.Ev.Er. I ran errands and cleaned up around the house and talked to Gretchen, but the clock mocked me. Two forty-five would never come.
Until it did. And into my car stepped a smiling, happy girl who once again loved school. She had a great day.
As Nathan would say, that makes my hot wahm.
(Translation for those without four year olds with speech impediments: that makes my heart warm.)
The next day was even better. More comfortable. More conversations with new friends. And a research project to boot.
Initiated by her teacher so Meghan would not have to repeat a science unit that she had already completed.
Did I mention how convincing her teachers at her other school to allow her to do her own research projects was like pulling teeth?
And her new teacher suggested it. Encouraged it.
And Meghan was like a dry sponge soaking up the Atlantic Ocean.
Her favorite part?
I enjoyed a full, deep, blissful night’s sleep for the first night that week. Everything goes better with sleep.
This was absolutely the best decision. We trusted the God who knit her together with all her quirks and passions and preferences to take her to the place where she could be who He created her to be. And He did – so faithfully and powerfully.
So this last week? A little stressful. A lot of unknowns. Not a lot of sleep. (At least for me.) A lot of planning and coordinating.
And a whole slew of blessing.
This last week stretched for at least a month. I can’t believe we were on a plane this time last week. So much can change in a day, a month, a semester, a year.
But we emerge stronger, wiser, deeper in faith, more diligent in prayer.