An unfortunate parenting coincidence

In the last month, I’ve been working myself up a bit about Carson starting kindergarten next year. I’m not usually this weepy, “oh my sweet baby is growing up so fast” type of mom, but we’ve all got it inside of us and the looming kindergarten registration is pulling up the crazy, nice and strong. Part of it is just plain old mama-bear worried about her cub going to “big school” (even though in truth I feel like first grade is when they really cross that threshold). But another part of it is that we’ve come to the conclusion that we can’t afford to keep Carson at the sweet little private school he attends now. Where most of his preschool friends will be attending next year. Where we know the teachers, the campus, the parking lot, the curriculum, the principal, etc. I used to claim that I had no bias toward small Christian schools, even after attending one for 12 years, but guess what? I do. I wish my son could stay at that school, but we just plain old don’t have the cash, especially with another (wonderful!) situation going on in our lives. Maybe you’ve heard? 😉 So I had a little pity party, bucked up, and started looking into our wonderful local public school. I don’t say that with sarcasm. It really sounds like a great school, and we happen to be friends with one of the kindergarten aides, whom I will be paying to conduct covert ops to check on my son daily.

But still? He will probably take the bus. THE BUS. Say WHA?!?! Didn’t he just master the tricycle last week? Cut his first tooth last month? It feels that way. I definitely think my anxiety has much more to do with the “growing up” aspect of this milestone that the actual LOCATION.

Meanwhile, in seemingly unrelated news, one of my loosely formed new year’s resolutions was to read through some “classics” that I, the English Lit Major, have never read. In particular, I want to read some works that are a part of the suggested Oregon high school curriculum of which I am familiar, but not knowledgeable. So, I got on my trusty paperbackswap.com (awesome site, btw) and snagged The Great Gatsby and Lord of the Flies to start with.

Um, yeah. Have ya READ Lord of the Flies? I’m not halfway through, so maybe I should have waited to post this, but so far it is about a plane full of boys, ages 6-ish to 12ish, who are being evacuated from Britain during the war, and their plane crashes on an island. NO adults survive, just a bunch of unruly, crass boys. These BOYS proceed to run around mostly naked, trying to “rule” each other, fight with each other, figure out leadership hierarchies, provide shelter, food, etc. But all I keep thinking about are the “littluns” on the island, these 6 year olds (the exact age my son will be 3 weeks into kindergarten), whom none of the older boys seem to have ANY inclination to protect, comfort or nurture. They are ignored at best, bullied at worst. Yeah. It’s quite the “feel good” read for a young mother. I imagine most sophomores in high school don’t have the emotional complications I have when reading about Ralph, Jack and Percival.

Needless to say, my mind is forming some uncomfortable and involuntary comparisons between my precious “littlun” and the big, bad world of older kids he is going to embark upon. Are the big kids who think they are boss going to throw rocks at him? Make fun of him if he cries? What if he wants me and I’m not there? Oh good grief, I can work myself into a COMPLETE TIZZY!

In a much better coincidence, tonight I was in the car and I heard an interview with a man who was trapped in an elevator after his hotel in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, collapsed. He was fairly certain he was going to die there, and began to process that. He said first he had to figure out his relationship with God, knowing they would soon be face to face. He felt confident in his faith in Christ, asked forgiveness for his sins and accepted this fate, if it was God’s plan for him. But he said what was much harder was letting go of his worry and fear for his family. He wondered how they could survive without him, and the thought caused him physical pain. But then he realized that if was willing to trust God with his own life, he needed to trust God with the lives of his wife and children. He needed to not place so much importance on himself and believe that God was bigger than this man, this earthly father, and would take care of his family. He wept as he described this thought process, and I wept listening to it.

Something that I KNOW in my heart, but have difficulty practicing is this: I cannot parent out of fear. I cannot make decisions and spend my time fretting over the “what ifs” and worse-case-scenarios. I must do my best to protect and prepare. I can never give up or let down or get lazy on my end of this job–this raising of little people. But I also shouldn’t get so high-and-mighty thinking that I’m the only one who can keep them safe and happy–let alone if being safe and happy all the livelong day is the best thing for them! (I know it’s not.)

So. We’re preparing for the bus. For nice kids and mean kids. For the fun that is kindergarten. For being a light for Jesus. But I tell you what: if he so much as MENTIONS a conch shell? I’m homeschooling.