Growing Pains

September 4, 2013

Back-to-school is an exciting time, especially if you’re a kindergartner. My daughter Jasmine has been talking all summer about how excited she is to go to school.
Jazz getting on the bus for the first day of kindergarten!

We’ve gone school shopping, gotten all her supplies, bought a few new items of clothing and packed her backpack for the first day.

So this past week when her school had an open house and we were planning to go, I thought it’d be more of the same excitement we’d experienced all summer.

But instead, as we walked into the school, found her classroom, put things in her locker and met her teacher, Jasmine seemed hesitant, reserved. Not the bubbly child I am usually accustomed to. Without time to ask her what was the matter, we hurried to simply check off the list of things we needed to get done while there: organize supplies, fill out paperwork, sign up for conferences. Then, with a quick walk around the school, we left.

As we sat in the car on the way home, Jasmine quietly began to cry.

“What’s wrong, honey?” I asked.

“I don’t think I want to go to school anymore, mom,” she replied.

“Why not?”

“I don’t know; I just don’t.”

And we talk about new experiences and how they can sometimes be scary. We tell her it’s all right, mom and dad get nervous about doing new things, too; she will be all right.

She listens quietly while looking out the window, and I wonder if it’s what she needed to hear, if we’ve addressed her fears.

As we get home and start supper, Jasmine sits at the table. When we ask who would like to pray, Jasmine volunteers. And in her simple, heartfelt prayer, we hear the real reason for her fears:

“Dear Jesus, please help me find a friend at school so I don’t have to sit all alone.”

And as she says the words, my heart breaks a little. As a mom, there are times I wish I could protect my children from heartache, pain, and disappointment. Although I know this isn’t realistic, or even necessarily good for my children, I still want it.

You realize as a mom that you no longer carry your own pain, hurt, and heartache, but also your children’s.

And as I’ve been thinking more about this over the weekend, continuing to pray for my daughter and her first day of school I am struck by one thought:

My children do not need a mom who can take away all their pain, anxiousness and disappointment in life, they simply need to know that there is a God who will walk with them through it.

It's the same thing that I've learned, that their dad has learned. And this is a far more valuable lesson than simply removing her from everything that would grow her, change her, and challenge her.

And so on this, the first week of school, I say to my daughter, my children and myself:

You can face this, you will be okay, and whenever you feel afraid, know that mommy and daddy love you and God will always be right by your side.


  1. That made me sweet. I hope Jasmine had lots of friends to sit with on her first day!

    1. Thanks Holly!

      Actually, she did! She came home and told me she'd made two friends :) It was a good day.