I also generally don't helicopter parent. I'm not overly sentimental when it comes to my kids nor am I much of a worry wart. I love watching parents of graduating seniors who are so confident in their child and who are so sure of their role in giving their child wings and launching them out into adulthood. Those parents, who truly are excited to see who their children are about to become, are the ones who give me a glimpse of who I hope to be in the next ten-ish years.
So as Zeke starts kindergarten tomorrow, I found myself in an unusual place. As I was talking with his homeroom teacher about his hands earlier this week, I found myself quite teary. Not because he is starting kindergarten. Instead, I found myself thinking about recess, when my non special needs guy heads out onto the playground with over a hundred other kindergarteners, when his non special needs hands will draw attention, where this mom is apparently a little worried for the needs of his heart.
I've been on the playground in a smaller scale, where he interacts with other kids for the first time and generally, I don't think he's really been met with cruelness. However, there are lots of questions and lots of comments and there is always the opportunity for someone to be just plain mean. All of that makes him feel so different and no one wants to feel different. As a teacher, I know his teachers will move heaven and earth to protect his heart just like they would for any kiddo. But I also know that they are limited by their humanness, that they can't hear and see everything and that the playground is a hard space to monitor. It's one of those moments where I wish I were there to fix it, to make whatever that may happen okay.
But I'm not there and even if I were, the reality is I do not possess a magic wand that sprinkles down fairy dust and transforms my children's negative experiences. I cannot place my trust in my abilities as a mom or in the idea that my kids will have pain free, perfect childhoods. Instead, I am going to have to trust that my sweet six year old is and has always been God's, that God created him, saw him in all moments of his life, and will continue to be present in his life, even on the kindergarten playground. To borrow a bit from Ashlei Woods, it's a bit like Moses' mother putting her babe into the basket, casting him off into the water, believing that somehow her God would make a way.
"There comes a time – many times, actually – in the lives of our children where we have to put the basket in the water. We have to let go and trust the plan of the Father. The world is a scary place – a place where we fear our children could drown. But we must remember that we have to let go so that God can draw them from the waters for His great purpose. He has called us to be their parents, but they were His first. "
So off Zeke goes, into the basket, out on the water. The prayers have been said and God's already working on the details. May the scary playground of tomorrow be the place of God's continual presence.