Monumental week this week. If it weren’t for the coffee shop I love so dearly, I might be wandering aimlessly somewhere talking to myself. Prayer has helped, too. Let’s be honest, it takes more than coffee to keep me going. But it’s Friday and my four kids and my husband and I got through the first five big days of public school life after six years of homeschooling. Additionally, we have a high school freshman - it might take months for me to acclimate to that. There have been victories (out the door every morning on time! good teachers! time at the coffee shop! homework done! lunches packed by a miracle of Jesus!) and defeats (slight bullying incident! tears and nausea on the way to school! lamenting early wake-up! why am I putting exclamation marks on the defeats?) But we did it. One down, thirty-something to go. Let’s not think about that right now.
The experiences of this week have been peppered by those of our friends. We know four families who just took their eldest kids to college. One navigating the world of college sports for her hopeful high-school senior. Some with new Kindergarteners, a couple marveling over full-day first-graders. A few in the earliest stages of motherhood with newborns. Plenty, like me, looking wide-eyed at their high-school freshmen and wondering when they got so tall… so opinionated… so old.
The variations in parenting circumstances from newborn to college are staggering. But the similarities are undeniable and poignant. My mom-of-a-middle-schooler friend was buying school shoes and teared up when she realized her daughter’s feet were suddenly only one size smaller than her own. At the same time, our neighbor “forgot” she’d just dropped off her daughter at a campus hundreds of miles away and went ahead and got out a dinner plate for her, too. When her husband pointed it out… tears. The tears are a result of similar goings-on in our hearts - this parenting thing is never-ending change! Why does it hurt so much? I’m not prepared to delve into that question. What I do know is how it stood out to me this week all that we have in common. Weird how Katie’s Kindergarten boy posing next to his new teacher looks remarkably similar to Annette’s son in his just-set-up dorm room. Maybe only in a mother’s eyes, I’m not sure. All I know right now is that the coffee and the prayer are helping, and thank God for friends.