August 29, 2016
Today is the big day - Abby’s first day of school. First day of middle school. First day in a North Carolina school. First day in a strange place where she knows no one.
Mom = freaking out (internally, thank goodness)
Abby = cool as a cucumber
Really, it was a pleasant morning. She may have been a tad nervous (who wouldn’t be?), but she didn’t show it. She showered, dressed, had breakfast. We giggled at The Office and I put her hair up for her. Joe drove her to the bus stop (it’s a half mile from our house), and the bus was right on time.
I spent the day missing her, wondering about her, praying for her - you know, the typical anxious-mom thing. Everything that was happening to her - it was such a mystery! And still, I felt good about it. She was in God’s hands, and so was I - I felt confident that it’d be good for her, all this newness. I stayed busy with groceries, housework, writing. All was right with the world.
Until it wasn’t.
I walked to the bus stop at the appointed time. And waited. And waited. The hot sun stung my skin, sweat pooling. I was excited and anxious to see her.
Three pounds of sweat later, the bus screeched to a clunky stop and oozed middle and high schoolers. Abby crossed the road not five feet away from me - I could’ve sworn she saw me - and kept walking. I speed-walked to catch up, cue a deluge of sweat rivers, and spun myself into anxious thoughts.
She hated it.
Really hated it.
She was mistreated, ignored, made fun of…
Oh, my God!
I caught up with her, finally. She said she didn’t see me - the only adult, the only person sweating her ass off at the bus stop.
“Sorry,” she spat out.
“What’s wrong? How’d it go?” I asked.
“Doesn’t sound fine.”
“It was fine.”
And then silence. Discouraging, disappointing, dreary silence. What horrors could have brought this on? It was a terrible mystery and she was keeping me in suspense!
It’s a long walk.
I tried prodding her. Told her how proud I was of her.
She looked as though she could break out in tears any second. Or punch me in the face. Or smile and start singing. Who knows?
Finally, I said, “There’s a treat for you in the fridge.” (My children always respond well to food).
“Well, then it must be food and it must be cold,” she said, with attitude.
My mind continued spinning into worst-case-scenarios. All the potential horrors that could befall a new middle schooler, and what to do if that was the case - homeschooling, private school, moving back (at least I hadn’t unpacked ALL the boxes yet).
Then, Abby said, “It’s not ice cream. I already have ice cream.”
“It’s in the fridge, not the freezer,” I agreed. I looked at her face. “Are you okay?”
She smiled, and more upbeatly said, “I’m fine.”
Daughter’s horrible attitude = flipped
Mom = confused
She said she’d been tricking me!
Relief, then irritation, then uncertainty - she’d been so convincing with the bad day thing, how could I now believe it had been good after all?
But, it was. Happily, she went on to tell me about her day - it had been fine. Seriously fine. She had her strawberry pudding treat, just talking away, all the details. All was well. Thank God!
The good stuff continued when we went out to eat - she had to retell the whole story for her dad. The more I heard her talk, the more I was convinced that she’d just played a mean prank on her ol’ mom. Her first big day was a big success!
“I’ll be their God, they’ll be my people. They won’t go to school to learn about me, or buy a book called God in Five Easy Lessons. They’ll all get to know me firsthand, the little and the big, the small and the great.”
Hebrews 8:10ish The Message