Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Does Heaven Have A Yellow Bus?

The first day of another year of school.  Momma's all over the world experience that bittersweet emotion as they send their children off to the world of learning.  My own stomach was a pit of nervous and excited tension as I packed lunches and book bags and, one by one, sent my children off.

Moise was smiling and happy as we wheeled him to the bus.  My heart tugged a little as my over active mind imagined his confusion when he finds that school is not the same beloved halls he knows.  There will be no familiar faces, or secretaries who hand him candy when he delivers the lunch money.  His Aunt Gail won't be there to see him in the cafeteria at lunch time and all the kids at the new school won't know to give him "knuckles."  But I'm trusting in the knowledge that God has this under control, that he knows Miose's needs better than I do.  I'm going back to the calm, peaceful assurance that we felt when we made the decision to transfer him to a different school.

Kruz exuded sweetness as he marched out to the bus in his walker, sporting  new duds and Spider Man on his back.  His world is expanding on this first day of school.  He's gaining friends and teachers, new toys and exciting adventures.  He'll learn from and teach those with whom he comes in contact.  Before he even begins, I know that he'll spread his infectious joy to all.

His bus ride entertainment is covered by the strap he found the minute he got on the bus.  

I felt my chest tighten as the bright yellow bus pulled away with two of my boy's in it. Tears clogged my throat and pain knifed through me.  As I tried, unsuccessfully, to keep all of the emotion in check, I had to be honest with myself.  The pain that I felt was not about Moise going to a new school or being separated from Kruz.  It was about Laynee.

Laynee desperately wanted to ride the school bus.  Every morning, as our other five left for school, Laynee would dissolve into tears over being left behind by her siblings.  She pointed and reached and begged to get on the school bus.  Our beloved bus driver, Danny, would sometimes intercept her as she made a mad dash for it.  And every day, as I carried her back in the house, I would wipe her tears and promise her "pretty soon. You're not quite big enough, but pretty soon you can ride the yellow bus." Pretty soon was just a couple months away.  It was almost in our reach, but it never came.  I couldn't keep my promise.  Laynee never got to ride the yellow bus.

The deep pain that I felt this morning was a fresh wave of grief that collided and tangled with bittersweet emotion of back to school.  In the early hours of this crisp August morning, Kruz lived out Laynee's dream, the promise that I was never able to deliver to her. Even though I know that heaven is better than I can comprehend, I want her here today, waving at me from her school bus.  But since she's not, I hope there's a yellow bus in heaven.

God is good, all the time.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Summer's End

"Summer's almost over" has been the back drop for everything I've done or thought this week. Summer's end, marked, for as long as I have memory, by the first day of school, looms before us, coming a day closer with every sunrise.

There's a bright yellow sign in the periphery of my mind.  It's flashing and warning:  CAUTION: BIG CHANGES AHEAD.  Brock, last child of my womb, is a senior in high school.  Moise is going to a new school, one which presents much newness and uncertainty.  A fact which guarantees a few bumps in the road.  Kruz, my baby, child of heart healing, is going to school.  Another bumpy guarantee. 

And my heart? It's working to prepare itself.  I remind myself, like a broken record (does anyone remember what a broken record sounds like?)  that change is good, that Moise and Kruz will be fine. No problem. God's got this. 

Meanwhile, we're sucking every last drop of fun from this summer.

We snuck in one last camping trip with friends.  I've always thought of camping as something that we did for our kids.  With kids it's a lot of work for mom and dad but they loved it so much and so many memories were made at the campground.  Now, with Kruz being the only little camper, we're finding that it's not work at all. I find myself asking "what's wrong?  Why is the refrigerator not stuffed full? Why are we not dragging umpteen bags around?  Why is the door not slamming eleventy hundred times? Why are we actually getting to sit on our big ol' Bass Pro camping chairs? It's marvelous and bittersweet.  While we enjoy the quiet, we miss telling Grant to "quit messing with the fire."  I miss squirting blobs of shampoo on four little heads and telling them to head for the shower.  I'm certain we'll adapt to these camping changes quite nicely. While the memories are the sweetest, I'm certainly not opposed to making memories of a different kind.

Baby doll gets drug all over the place, typically by the arm.  She is going to need many baths in her lifetime.  Here's to hoping her stuffed body can withstand the many washings.  I have my doubts. 

I've had the pleasure of spending extra time with my sweet nieces this summer.  When they're around, the place rings with the sweet sound of little girl voices once again.  Although this summer's temperatures, by comparison, have been mild, we've sought water every chance we could.

It's been several years since Moise has been in need of the typical back to school supplies but this year found us venturing back into the school supply aisles with Kruz's  list in hand. It was euphoric. There's so much color and excitement in those aisles.  I opened a box of crayons and wanted to cry over the sheer perfection and organization nestled inside that yellow and green box.  I hope Crayola never feels a need to change their box.  

I grabbed a box of markers and marveled over the reality that standard, primary colors are hard to come by.  What happened to red, green, yellow and blue? But then there they were, all of the primary colors carefully molded and unblemished in the oval slots of the water color paints.  Kruz didn't need a pencil bag but I grabbed a plastic one anyway, just to sniff it.  It smelled so schooly.  My mind took me back to my own school days and my annual resolve to be more organized.  I always knew, as I sat with all my crisp new school supplies spread out around me, that I would be  less messy.  I carefully penned my name... Karol Glueck.... as if there were a hundred other "Karol's" in my classroom, onto every item and determined that  I wouldn't doodle on all my notebooks this year.  It was a resolve that lasted all of two days.

Then I came upon the "Trapper Keeper." In our house, the excitement over being old enough to need a "trapper," was nearly palpable.  Our children searched those aisles painstakingly for just the right one. And once we found the right one?  The scritch of velcro being opened was all we heard for days, until they finally boarded the bus, trapper in hand and the world by the tail.  The trapper was a right of passage into middle school.

The quest for a backpack was an interesting one.  Kruz is not big.  At three years old, he measures on the growth chart of an eighteen month old.  Backpacks, apparently, are not typically made for eighteen month old.  I went store to store, my euphoria quickly morphing into irritation over the size of backpacks. "Why are they all so huge?!?!?!  Don't they know that there are little kids in the world who need a backpack?!?!?"  School supply shopping is only fun when you find what you need. A standard child sized pack nearly drug the ground and knocked him flat on his rear.  I finally found one that was a bit smaller, and in primary colors too.  But once I put it on him, this too seemed like a great big backpack fail.

Perhaps more concerning, even than the size of the bag, was Kruz's lack of interest in the bag itself.  He was far more interested in the straps.   This is going to be a problem. Straps are one of his quirky obsessions, which in many situations is a beautiful thing.  Waiting endlessly at a doctor's office?  No worries, we've got this. Just hand the boy a purse strap.  But in school this distraction will need to be reckoned with.  Bring out the strap eliminators!!!! He'll find straps in places they never knew existed.

But Grandma G saved the backpack day.  Exit primary color, strappy, too big backpack. Enter Spider Man.  It's just the right size.  It doesn't pull him over.  And there are no straps.  Oh......and it's Spider Man.  Enough said.

Come Wednesday morning, ready or not, I'll be sending three boys off to school.  Bring on the changes.

Until then, we've a few more mornings of long snuggles and we're not missing out on a single one.

Happy back to school days.

God is good, all the time.