he got punched on day three

I mentioned last time that I had a pretty hard time with Bear going to school this year. Much harder than sending Monkey last year. I did a lot of reflecting on my emotions surrounding kindergarten and I came up with this profound idea. It is different between a mom and a son than it is between a mom and her daughter. I have a feeling {and can speak from personal experience with my mom} that Monkey and I will probably always be close. I'm sure we will have our ups and downs but by the time she is past her teens I imagine our relationship will be pretty smooth and we will talk often. I realize this is all taking place in the fantasy land of my head and could be completely wrong, but it's just how I feel right now. Boys on the other hand sort of outgrow their moms... not that they stop loving them, they just stop needing them. And for whatever reason that just wrecks me.

Bear was not what you would call an easy toddler. I guess he was probably pretty typical, but for me years two and three were hard. There were lots or tantrums, lots of yelling, lots of disciplining, lots of complaining {on my part}. Not to mention several medical issues that we had to get ironed out. I hadn't had a strong-willed child before and I didn't know how to handle it. On the heals of adversity comes teachable moments and so much grace. I would not trade those hard moments for anything. For it was in those moments that I grew to realize that I could not do this. If I relied on my own strength I was going to seriously screw up one or both of my children... oh wait, here comes a third. Well, I might just screw him up too.

And then came the surrender. The laying down of all the things I thought I could do and all of my best parenting skills, all laid down because it really wasn't any good at all. I was operating out of self-reliance, seeking self-indulgence, and motivated by selfishness. And that much self is just too much.

I learned so much about grace in those early years with Bear. The grace that had been shown to me by my heavenly Father, grace so deep and wide that I could not even try to get more of it by being a better mom.

Trying harder isn't the answer, surrendering everything is.

I learned in those difficult years that through Christ I have all the acceptance of God, I an not get any more because I have it all. That was good news, because no matter how hard I tried I wasn't bringing enough and I knew it. All of this, on top of the thought that my years to have a major impact on him are going to close someday, albeit a day in the not-forseeable future, made sending him off hard.

Sending Bear to school was hard because it was like closing this chapter in our story together. This story of hardship and failure and forgiveness and grace and growing and learning to enjoy each other. And it's always a little said when a chapter ends.

Okay Okay, I know you can here for a fight, so here's the story. In the days leading up to school I told Monkey and Bear to remember one thing: to love other people like Jesus loves them. We talked a little about how they could do that and decided that they could just start by going up to people and telling them their name.

On the third day of school, Bear did just that. He went up to another little boy on the playground and said, "Hi! My name is Bear" {he didn't say "Bear" of course :)} and the little boy threw his best jab right into Bear's gut. Just so he wouldn't be accused of lack of trying, Bear followed the kid around and kept trying to play with him. Which got him a missed attempt at a fist to the jaw. When I picked Bear up from school he looked a little on edge. I asked him what was up and he told me in a barely audible voice that "that kid over there punch me on the playground today."

"Whhhhaaaaaaaaat?!? This is my worst nightmare come true", I thought along with other completely sane mom thoughts.

Bear didn't want to talk about it anymore, so we quickly collected the bikes and started home, but not before I caught another look at the kid, just so I could keep my eye on the situation.

Next day after school over a smores cupcake {yep, I bribe for conversation and I'm not ashamed} Bear commented that this little boy did not hit him or any other kid today.

"Good! I said "maybe he was just having a bad day yesterday."

"Yea, my teacher said that if no one is his friend he'll realize that he needs to be nicer to people or he won't have any friends."

"Weeeeelll, I can see why your teacher may think that, but the Bible actually kinda teaches the opposite. Let's think about what Jesus did when people were mean to him. Did he be mean back?"

"No."

"Did he ignore them completely?"

"No."

"Did he love them and forgive them and ask them to come be his friend?"

"Yes."

"and do we love Jesus like we should? Or do we treat him badly?"

"Badly."

"Yep, every time we sin is like us being mean to Jesus, but did he be mean back to us?"

"No, he died for us because he loves us."

"That's right. Jesus wants us to love other people, even if they are really mean to us. Even if they punch us."

In my head <even if they punch my sweet child whom I have raised and loved and toiled over for five long years.>

Whoa. I guess the learning continues.

And this is how I imagine it will be for 12 years.Β School is hard. Life is messy. There are mean people all about looking to hurt and cut down and it can be scary to send our kids out into that. But just likeΒ  I wouldn't trade those hard hard years with Bear, I am going to go on record right now and say I won't trade the school years either. Because if we can learn to love a little more on day three, then I can't wait to see where God will bring us when this chapter closes.

I think it will probably wreck me.

mason collage