By: Heather Wolper
Summer, with all its lazy wonder and time spent creek wading and cannonballing, is over.
And here we are trying to adjust to a new normal.
Our calendar is suddenly ruled by school bus pick-ups and drop-offs, school planners and reading logs, and we are all grieving a little, or a lot.
Plenty of hot, overwhelmed tears have been shed in these first few days. The pace of school already feels crushing to a few of my crew.
These children with tender hearts and sensitive spirits, who love to draw and build and read and write, who are curious and eager to know, grow anxious and frustrated under the weight of expectations and schedules, loss of family time and freedom.
The time between bus stop hellos and our nightly tuck in feels like a race to the bedtime finish line. It’s filled with math problems and tired squabbles, snacks and dinner, packing backpacks and lunch boxes, showers and the bedtime routine.
These days, they are grumpy and overwhelmed. They come through the door and dump their frustration like a storm burst, covering everyone in its path with a heavy downpour.
And my heart hurts for them.
My heart that has thought of them and prayed for them and missed them all day long suddenly becomes frustrated and impatient and weary at the thought of our new normal.
Because, like them, I miss pancake filled mornings and long afternoons at the pool. I miss our days spent building forts and exploring parks. I miss creek walks and fishing and the slow, ambling pace of Summer.
Like them, I wasn’t quite ready for this change.
But here we are with a school year in front of us.
These first few weeks and maybe even months will be bumpy. There will be tears of frustration and exhaustion. There will be squabbles and fights here and there. We will miss assignments and forget snacks. We will lose our schedules and our locker combinations and our tempers. We will be tired and grumpy and overwhelmed.
But, we will grow.
Because each new change comes like a set of pruning shears, to cut back the overgrowth and create space for new life to sprout up underneath.
So we will grieve the loss of Summer’s leafy cover with the knowledge that this feeling of bareness will bring opportunities to grow.
We will grow as we learn to adjust to new buildings and new schedules and new people. We will grow as we make new friends and learn to love new teachers. We will grow as we learn new skills and navigate new challenges. We will grow as we lean hard on God for strength. We will grow as we learn to do each new thing and embrace each new experience as if we are doing it for him.
“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.” ~ Psalm 92:12-15
When the year is over, we will have grown and learned and loved, and then, we will grieve a little, or a lot, all over again. Because, the things that seemed scary and hard and brutal at the beginning will have become familiar and normal and wonderful over time.