Thursday, January 13, 2011

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.

10 comments:

Aimee L Salter said...

Okay, first: *GUFFAW* I read Lord of the Flies in High School. Yeah... uh... yeah.

Second: Remind me to tell you what God and I went through earlier this year when Harry had to have surgery.

Loved the post. So good, so true, so vulnerable. You're a blessing.

Coley said...

I'm right there with you on the reading list. I attended HS in Oregon but never made it past the 10 grade so I missed the "typical" HS reading list. I went on to get my Bachelors in English - still never having read any of them. My masters - still never having read any of them. Now I teach - still never having read any of them. I should think about adding some of my "lost" classics to my yearly reading list too. I'd give me something to do on the plane to Thailand - supposing that happens this year. :-)

The Linn Family said...

I have to laugh a little, because my hubby and I just finished watching "Lord of the Flies" a few minutes ago (the old one from the
60's), then I look at your blog and you're talking about the book! I'd never seen or read it before, but my thoughts are much like yours- it's a "feel good read for a young mother" ;) Praying for an easy transition for your son.

Wendy said...

You should have started with Gatsby. Best book ever written. I think I've read it 10 times.

Remember, the kids in LOTF had no parental supervision and were forced to create their own puerile society. The story shows us that children NEED adult authority in their lives to help guide them. And that's what your son will have in school. I promise!

As for the big kids...I have been teaching at the elementary level for 20 years, and you would be pleasantly surprised at how helpful and caring most of those big kids can be. They participate in buddy programs with the little guys, they read to the kindergarten classes. In short, they look out for the little ones.

Of course, you're talking to someone who spent the better part of October bawling her eyes out letting her 18 year old go off to college...

So I don't know why you'd take advice from me! LOL!

Jo B. said...

All those "what ifs" went through my mind from the days my baby girl was in the NICU to when my she went off to Haiti and Mongolia and dated some guy nicknamed T-Dog! (Just kidding about that last one.) Yup, parenting is a never-ending walk of faith. But God is good. All The Time.
Love,
Mom

Nina said...

God is good. All the time is so right!! As I have walked the faith walk as a parent I wanted to make sure my girls growing up gained there own faith.I see you doing the same thing(: Now as a grandmother I pray everyday for my children and grandchildren that He will guide and protect them wherever they are. I know for sure YOU are doing a great job. Your surrounded by prayer ! Loving you

Steph said...

So, I am assuming Lord of the Flies and The Great Gatsby were NOT on your high school reading list? :) I also read them both in high school. Gatsby is awesome!

And also, I am right there with ya on the bus situation. Even though he will be bigger than most kids his age (and some older), he is as sensitive as they come! Those kids betta watch out! J-K. Kind of. ;)

Jeremy said...

Thanks for your post Jen! I can relate sooo well! I've just started checking out schools for my eldest- sigh! I've been having nightmares about it actually! anyways, good reminder to trust God with it all!
:) Kim

Catiejoyce said...

I love your honesty and insight into your family through this post. It is so hard to not parent out of fear sometimes. I know God is with my kids and wants them to trust in HIM not me, which at times can be hard to swallow. He has our kids in His hands and although we can't prepare for everything we will encounter at school, we can pray. Praying for you!! And thanks for the reminder to trust in HIM!

Natalie said...

I have to say this post is hilarious and completely adorable. I think that every mom (shoot, I'm just an Aunt and it freaked me out that my nephew was in school this year) goes through the same thing. I know that he will do great. Kids love him and he will make friends so easily! :)I will pray for you because I know (believe me) how hard giving things to God (especially when it involves the people we love)can be, but he's taken care of us and Carson up until now and he will continue to do so. You are a great mom and I hope that if I ever have kids that I am half the parent you are. I love your heart!