Everyone always says, “Don’t blink your eyes, your kids will be leaving for college before you know it.” Blah blah blah is what I thought. When you have 7 kids in 9 years the last thing you can imagine is anything in the future. Let’s face it. You are in survival mode. I will never forget the day that Molly (our oldest) went to Kindergarten. I was so that mom. She was my baby girl. I didn’t think she was ready to go to full day Kindergarten like all of the other kids (cause somehow my kid “needed” me…or so I thought). I even called the school and asked if she could leave half way through the day so she could come home and be with me. In reality, she was ready. I wasn’t ready to send her to school. With each child leaving to start their school journey, sending them to school for the day got easier. In fact, by the time #6 and #7 were 2 years old I was searching for a preschool to send them to when they turned 3! For a few years now all of our children have been in school full time. If you wanna learn and grow as a mom and a person, sending kids to school will stretch and grow you in ways you could never imagine. That is a different post for sure, but today as we started the 2019-2020, a whole new level of growing and bravery was gained. I wanted to roll back time and rewind to the days when life wasn’t so hard and not so complicated. Back to the days when no eyes were rolled for 1st day of school pictures and hugs and kisses were given by all. Those days are sadly slipping out of my hands as each year goes by.
I knew today was coming all summer. I was as prepared as I could be as a mom. New shoes…check. New uniforms embroidered on time…check. School supplies purchased and placed accordingly in backpacks….check. New socks, new undies, belts for all, lunch food prepped…check, check, check. We loaded in to the van this morning after taking first day of school pictures minus 3 kids. Apparently driving to a new school in a large black passenger van isn’t a thing that 3 teenage girls find fun or cool so I let them drive separately. I don’t know that I have officially announced it yet, but I have accepted a position at the new school so I will be working where all the kids attend school. This has always been a dream of mine. I am not a helicopter mom (most days) but today I was so blessed to be where the kids were. I have said for years and years, “I just want to work where my kids are” and God moved mountains to make that happen. I’ll explain more on my job later, but back to being brave. As I drove my kids to school and started praying for our school day, tears started rolling down my face. It was like reality hit me on our 15 minute drive and I started questioning everything…again.
What in the world are we doing? I am driving my kids to a brand new school where they know maybe 1-2 kids (if even that for some) and I’m just gonna drop them off and leave them. What kind of mom am I? Why did we move? Everything in me wanted to start driving back to Wisconsin. If we leave today, we would get back “home” by the time school starts there and we can just pretend the last 2 1/2 months were just a super long fun vacation in Florida. My kids would know everyone. We would jump right back in where we left off and life would be okay. Now I know that obviously didn’t happen, but if given the option this morning to do that on my way to the new school with a van full of kids that were internally freaked out but putting on a brave face, I am pretty sure this mamma would have chosen that instead. To be honest, I felt like a horrible mom today. The overwhelming feeling of guilt for changing almost every single thing in our kid’s lives eats away at me more often than I’d like to admit.
As we pulled into the new school and I walked in with some of my kids into a new world of unknowns I was in awe of each of our children. While we are all starting over and trying to figure out life here in Florida, they have been so brave. I remember when I was in 7th grade and my parents were talking about moving to Michigan for my Dad’s new job and I pretty much forced them to not make me move. Obviously I was thinking of only myself and clearly no one else and I am positive I was a brat and a non reasonable kid. We didn’t end up moving and I “got my way.” Now I know that my brattiness wasn’t the only reason we didn’t move, but I am sure my awesome and amazing attitude toward moving away from my friends and my life did play a part in why we didn’t move. Fast forward to now. I have asked (basically forced) my kids to do something in their childhood that I myself was too stubborn to do in mine. I don’t know what my life would have looked like if we did move to Michigan. I know this. I wouldn’t have met Dan at Milwaukee Lutheran in 1996, we wouldn’t have fallen madly in love, we wouldn’t have gotten married at 19 and 20, we wouldn’t have 7 kids together, and we wouldn’t be where we are at now. I could sit in the “what if’s” all night and think and dream about how life could be so different but I can’t do that. God kept me in Wisconsin to attend MLHS where I would meet my best friend and husband. That is just the start of our story together. This is what I have to remember.
While this isn’t a chapter in our story that I would have particularly have chosen for all of us, this is the story that God is writing for our family. As I have explained to all my children (some more often than others), we don’t know what God has in store for us here. We don’t understand His plan right now, but I know that He is writing something beautiful for each one of us. If nothing else, He has just given all of us a crash course lesson in bravery. Starting a job where you know no one and navigating how to try and make just one friend isn’t high on my “bucket list” yet here I am. To be honest, trying to make friends when you’re old sucks. Unlike Griffin who had a little boy ask him today if he wanted to be a new friend, grown people don’t really do that. I wish it worked that way. Instead both myself and our children are stuck in this weird stage of wondering what people think of us, will they like us, how do they get to know how awesome we are, and at what point is it appropriate to think you might have made a friend and ask them to come hang out?
We made it through the day. Thankfully everyone at the school was so kind and understanding. No, the school isn’t St. Paul’s or LCL and life is going to be so incredibly different here. That chapter has closed and God is helping us write this next chapter together called “Being Brave.” Today I saw something in my kids that made me one proud mom. I watched my kids walk through a really hard day with grace, bravery and mostly positive attitudes. (it isn’t all lollipops and rainbows). I checked on them each one time during their lunch. As I was wallowing in my “unfair life” I got slapped in the face with just how incredibly blessed I am. I was able to check in on my kids today. Let me say that again. I was able to check in on my kids today…at their new school…where God answered prayers to provide a job for me so that I would have the privilege to be able to check on my kids today. I wasn’t working somewhere else wondering what their day was like…I was there and just a few steps away from each of our children knowing full well that they were ok. While we will miss everything we knew about life and school, we are excited for all the opportunities and friends (hopefully we will all make friends) that our new school and job will bring. We are incredibly thankful for the school, the loving staff and the opportunity to have our children in a Christian school where they can learn about Jesus. Bring it on 2019-2020 school year. We got this. It won’t be easy, but we are gonna be okay. We have each other. Right now, that is all we got!