The firsts that come with Kindergarten are sweet and tear jerking and get our parental minds thinking about the outcomes twelve years into the future.
The cute pair of shoes, tidy clothes, lunch boxes, new teachers, new rules, and excitement that our children seem to like and even love.
But today, along with the puppies and rainbows of being a mommy to a Kindergartner I experienced the dark luminous cloud of reality.
I say on the phone after one of the most challenging drop-off experiences to date (considering this is only the second day I’ve rode my bike to school with my daughter it looks like there maybe a 50/50 chance of rain in the forecast), “Coy, do you think it’s too much for her to ride her bike to school?”
She thought she was going to fall getting on her bike at the house and from that point I couldn’t help her cope. It was like she was paralyzed.
Really I’m asking “Do you think it’s too much for me to ride my bike to school with our daughter?”Because I feel like I’m going to lose it, rewinding, wondering if I got it right or all wrong, or if I’m just not cut out for bike riding with a five year old.
He was correct and wise in his response. “She’s in Kindergarten, she is learning. It will be ok.”
Yep. Nailed it. She’s five.
Didn’t I just write a book called “Understanding Your Daughter” or something along those lines?
Didn’t I just say to parents in our church and all over the nation that it will be ok during the growing pains. To buckle up and be patient, to care for your daughter no matter what place she is in, striving to truly listen and understand?
What happened to those words this morning when my little one forgot how to ride her bicycle? We practiced all summer. She was in charge. She could take me to school and tell me how to get there.
She can even wreck her bike, pop right up with a big smiling “I’m alright!” Get back on her bike and keep going.
But today was different. She didn’t have any of that in her. She only had a fear of falling and wherever it came from this morning it effected her ability to pedal and to believe and to have courage.
She got to school with one minute to spare. I took her helmet and looked at her sweet pouty face and said, “I love you Kirra and I hope you have a good day today. We probably need to talk about this when you get home from school.”
Was that the right thing to say? After I had already reasoned with her that we probably could have walked faster. I did try to encourage her along the way, cheering through clenched teeth. “You can do this! I believe in you!” But when the cheering didn’t work did I give up? Would have it been better to say, “I love you. Don’t worry about any of this. You’ll do better next time?”
A few different times on our ride I offered her a chance to start over. With as much glee as I could muster I’d say, “Want to start fresh? It’s really ok. You didn’t fall over and there’s no reason to worry.” But she just wasn’t ready for that.
What I do know is this. We can get through this together. She’ll have to forgive me for the bi-polar parenting this morning teetering between the authoritative “get on your bike and go…now…or there will be consequences !” and the “babe, you’ve got this, I believe in you” mom that is her own.
I love my little girl.
I want to be a great parent.
But it isn’t always puppies and rainbows.
I’m thankful during the cloudy parts that we have a Father who loves us know matter what and never gives up on us when we’re blinded by this or blinded by that.
How many times, as an adult, have I been paralyzed and fooled into thinking that I just didn’t have it it me to continue or to cope or to deal with something on my plate? I think of those times and how people around me loved me through it. I know the power of unconditional love, what it feels like, looks like, and the results of it. It’s a beautiful picture when I’m on the receiving end. But to be the giver of unconditional love and acceptance, even through the role of parenting, is one of the hardest things we’ll ever do. Because it calls for selflessness and a self-awareness that only comes from God. Following his example is the key in all of this. The Holy Spirit of God has to navigate us through it.
And as we let go, we find that we are never let go of and that gives me courage to keep trying and to never give up.
As Kirra rides to school, the clouds will part and the sun will shine and she’ll be so glad we were right there with her as she learned how to do it. And I’ll be glad too. I’m glad that we went there together, and I’m thankful that I get to be her mom, and I am grateful that God would trust me with something so valuable.
From a parent to a parent: thanks for this. It was an encouraging read in a season where my parenting needs plenty of grace.