God and I had a (ahem) moment before the kid came home at the end of June. It was around the time that I wrote this post on accompanying my son into the depths of (shit) that he has had to deal with in his short 9 years. I was ANGRY that this kind of stuff was happening to him. I was ANGRY that God hadn’t protected him from these things. I was ANGRY that people are terrible and selfish and that it affects these innocent babes.
So, on a Sunday morning, I stood in front of my normally stoic, even-keeled church and wept my tiny baby eyes out and when I was done, I went outside and threw my shoe against a giant wall and yelled at the sky for a good half hour while I gnashed my teeth.
It was raining too.
So dramatic, I could just die…or sell the movie rights.
Don’t get me wrong. The kid does not act like a martyr. If you want the truth, he is the most resilient person I know. The fact that he has been through the things that he has been through and he can still laugh and be funny and charming is beyond me. I don’t get it. If we could bottle his resilient spirit to sell, we would be millionaires.
The truth, though, of parenting is that parents worry.
Okay, maybe moms worry.
Okay, maybe some moms worry.
Okay, I worry.
And so, the first time I picked him up from a three hour Mad Science camp, I was ridiculously anxious. Like I was picking him up from war. Like he might be missing a limb or something. There was a knot in my stomach. I wasn’t sure if he was hungry (and thus, hangry). I wasn’t sure if he had fun or not. I wasn’t sure if he was going to punch me and run away for making him go to this stupid camp. When I walked in the room and he was talking to a friend and smiling, I was probably the most relieved that I had ever been in my life.
So, that was a pretty normal rhythm for me this summer. I would drop him off at a summer camp and then be picturing all day how he was weeping and trying to escape so he could come home and then I would go to pick him up and he would be just fine.
Repeat about every two weeks.
And then the beginning of the school year approached and I reached a whole new level of anxiety. There are so many things that could go wrong.
Bad teacher, no friends, giant tantrums, the Chokey.
The night before the first day of school, God and I had another conversation. It was a little less emotional than our first conversation, not as Oscar-worthy. It went a little something like, “God, he has had ENOUGH, I tell you. For the love, please just give him a break. If you don’t, I might just punch you.”
And you know what?
God showed up. And He showed up in a big way.
We prayed that the kid would get a good teacher. And the teacher he got is experienced and compassionate and patient and he loves her. We love her. I’m trying not to annoy her with my praise.
We prayed that his first day of school would go well. I walked to our pick up spot 10 minutes early because I was so anxious and when he saw me, he ran and gave me a big hug and told me that he had an AWESOME day.
We prayed that his second day of school would go well because he was taking a math assessment and he hates math. Again, he ran up with a huge smile and proudly reported that he had gotten a purple mark in his folder (the best mark you can get, guys).
We prayed his third day of school would go well because that was his first time to do after school care and he was really not looking forward to it. When he walked in the door with Alex, he was smiling and laughing. His best bud also does after-school care and so they got to hang out for three additional hours.
And so on.
God showed up this week.
The Wednesday before school began, we were hanging with another adoptive mama and her kiddos. She was telling me about her son who was entering kindergarten. There were two possible teachers he could get. One was more structured and the other was a bit gentler. I asked if she was going to request one of the teachers for her son. She said, “Nah, God loves him more than I do so I’m going to trust that he’ll end up at the right place.”
“God loves him more than I do” is a pretty profound way to parent. If anything, this week God has proven that He knows what my kid needs.
I’m not going to get into human suffering and why God doesn’t stop it. I really think that discussion is fruitless. I know that my son’s heartaches are not even close to being over. I know that there will be disappointments and failures in his future. It’s just a part of life.
For now, though, I’m just so thankful that it seems he’s caught a break for a little bit and life won’t seem like such a battle zone for him.
Thank you all for your prayers. They’ve helped all of us make it through this harrowing first week of 3rd grade.