So tomorrow you turn 9 years old. 

If any of it rang true for me, I'd say "whoa" or "I can't believe it" or "it's gone by so fast", like most Moms exclaim when their kids turn another year older. 

But truly, sometimes I can't believe you're only nine. You're such  a young man already.

And it hasn't gone by fast for me, my love. Rather, it's been one long, beautiful, wonderful, fantastically full nine years. None of which I'd missed a single second, until now.

Now that you have begun your first year of public school, I am missing out on large chunks of our allotted time together, quite intentionally so.

And I don't regret one bit of it. We all would have been wrong to have held ourselves back from what God has for us this year in our public school adventure. Part of our history together is going to include this one year in particular where you and I learned to part ways and spread our own wings a little bit - where we made some room in ourselves for something besides coodles and snoogles and oodles of JUST US. 

This is the year where we won't end anywhere or way in the same place we began. 

And everyday feels like somebody opened a door on a cool spring day - like a butterfly came out of it's cocoon. 

And as different and sometimes difficult as it is to miss out on having every second of you, I already appreciate all this is worth.

I love watching you become a you who isn't geared and steered by my own rudders. 

I love watching you decide, and even more, evaluate the outcomes and re-decide. 

You really are a wonder to me, how resourceful and capable you are on your own.

I have heard you talk about how it's all going by so fast for you - how you want your life and you don't even like having dejah-vue, because it feels like it cuts into your time, "because what's the point if you already know what's coming next, Mom?"

Just nine, huh? One day your age and your face will match all that is going on in there. 
I would have been blessed to know what you do and think the way you can by just nine years old.

And don't you worry, little one, I'm still right here, loving and watching every minute. 



A Blessed Transition

As excited as I was for whatever God was up to with all these changes, I kept in mind that my true personal feelings could turn up different once the smoke cleared. I braced myself, knowing that there was a good chance this could suck - me working in a profession I not only never considered in my life, but doing a thing I was always grateful there were "other" people available to do - walking away from a lifestyle of fully investing nearly everything into knowing and watching you while teaching and learning beside you everyday - for you to go to public school, an institution I'm quite opposed to.
There was more than enough room for turmoil.

I know we're not so far into all this, but as things have begun to take shape on this different path, I am impressed and relieved. What a fun and sweet time for us.

This morning, Greg told me that this year is my time. He told me that I have spent the last 8 years taking constant care of everyone else, and he wants me to take this year to find things that are fulfilling to me. He said to work as much or as little as I want to. And while he certainly never made me feel obligated to work, I think it is so sweet of him to say that I deserve to take this year to enjoy myself.

I DO miss school and Zeek. But knowing this is for just one year, I feel comfortable. While I am aware that not everything we are called to do is pleasant, I am grateful that we've accepted a commision so full of blessings and goodness. 


Lego Robot Day

Your school rocks. I mean, completely and totally rocks! 

Today, five days into the school year, your entire class spent the entire day in the Gifted and Talented room, with the GT teacher, divided into teams of three, creating and programing your own original Lego Robots, and competing with them to complete certain tasks. 
I am in love.
Because learning doesn't have to happen in a traditional classroom doing routine dailies from the same desk day in and day out. 

What's even more awesome is what you told me on the way home. 

"Mom, I didn't like my team at first. But don't worry, that was only in the beginning. I ended up feeling differently. They wouldn't listen to what I wanted, and they just wanted to create their own idea without even thinking about winning. After I asked the teacher in private if I could have a different team and she said 'no' (I would have LOVED to hear that conversation) I realized that just because you might think you're ideas are amazing, and your's would be the best idea, doesn't mean that everyone else will agree and has to chose you. I mean, after all, it was two against one. So I decided that since my Dad works in computers, I would probably be great at the programming part. And that's what I did."

You also told me that your team lost in the end because of a glitch that had happened to other students too. But the OTHER teams got second chances and your team didn't. I asked you if you talked to the teacher about that, too. You said, "No mom, I'm not going to be that kid. I'm the quiet one (who asked for a different team) who does what I'm asked to do. I don't make loud noises in the halls, I don't yell in the lunch room, I'm not disrespectful like that, and I'm not going to be." 

I just love it. All of it. 
The best stuff. :) 

Get it baby.


Feelin' it

On the way home from school tonight you told me that you like Mrs. B, but I'm your favorite teacher. I was not ever looking for such a comparison and am in no competition with anyone over you - but it did make me smile, right before I thanked you and broke it down - we're not trying to find you a better teacher. We're obeying God and letting Him work out all the ways that our public school and the teachers you have are just perfect for what you need right now in your life. 

And we see it every single day. You're growing in such leaps!

Your schedule is surely catching up to you. You were so tired last night. You went through your afternoon routine really well, until dinner time. You were a little sass-talking and a lot emotional. You said all you wanted to do was just rest. After dinner we asked you to go to your room and do your 20 mins of reading for school.

Today, Mrs. Y, your School Counselor, taught you guys about feeling safe, knowing who you can trust, and being comfortable talking with those people. Apparently you listened to her, because when you came down from reading you talked about your feelings.  

You put your hand on your chest and you said your heart hurts - that you aren't sure why, but maybe it's because you feel kind of lonely. Then you said lonely wasn't the right word, but it's something like that. You said it was hard going back to school after the weekend. You said school is a lot - and I agree. 

Your school has very excellent, high standards for you - especially being the fourth graders and eldest of the school. They expect you be good examples, helpers, and mentors to the younger students. And that is exactly why you are right where you are. You can SO do this! You have the chance to walk the walk right now. For as sure as you are that you can follow the rules, be on task, and make right choices no matter what anyone else does, your Dad and I are sure that you are a strong leader with a Mighty God on your side, you shine the Light of Jesus in a dark world, and you will surprise yourself in the ways you succeed to grow this year. 

We are already so surprised by you, everyday. 
There is no mistake in this course our life is on. God is clearly in control, and we are going to walk this out in complete Trust in Him. 

(P.S. It's hard for me too, not having you home - not teaching you this year - not learning beside you - not exploring and cuddling and having our full afternoons together to hang out. I MISS YOU TOO, love.)


One Week into Our New Life

Our first week of public school has come to its end and I could not be more pleased. Well, maybe if the schools had a better Math curriculum than speed testing - but who's to say that won't be the one thing that gives you a Math edge in the long run? 

You were given your personal iPad Thursday. With rules and boundaries laid in place by the school, you will have ongoing "training" and instruction in using it for your year during the next couple of weeks. Your Dad and I are so glad that your school is so tech-savy. 

You are just amazing. Your whole gig has changed this week, and I am in love with the transformation. You stand and talk differently. You are direct and concise and looking people in the eye. You are taking responsibility on your own. You are being so solid and respectful. I'm so proud of you when I think of what you undertook this week and how you handled it like such a strong and capable young man. 

Just four days of public school - this place where God told us to bring you - and you have shaped up and grown so much. Amazing! 

I am excited to spend the weekend together. It's a looooooong four day week when I don't see you, and I'm working (only a bit so far) and we're trying to create new routines and learn schedules… 
From what I can see already, this is going to be even better for us all than I even imagined! 

God is so good. 


2nd Day Down

Today, when I picked you up from school you walked out talking with a friend! :) His mom started talking with me, and we spent about 15 minutes (ok, maybe 20) visiting and getting to know each other a bit. 

On the way home, you told me that school went pretty good today. You got to go to Art class and gym. You didn't have to wear your gym shoes in gym because it was all outdoors. You said you made some friends because you had to meet and introduce each other. You were paired with a boy in your class and you each had to tell the class two true things and one lie about each other. The class had to guess which was which. A classic "break the ice" game. :) 

At home we went through your stuff. You asked me to proof this letter that you have to hand in for your teacher… 

The cutest thing EVER. I seriously cried when I read it. LOVE!

Then you showed me your "after school plan" that you wrote in your mini notebook. 

IN LOVE!!! SO CUTE. I seriously can't handle this list. 
*resp to calls if any (and Nanna DID call you tonight to see how school went, again) 
*watch transformers prime

You are too cute honey. 

I'm looking forward to more school stories over dinner tonight. 
Last night, you said you would rather miss some of your Minecraft hour to be sure you ate dinner "with the family". Ugh, he sweetness! 

Your Dad and I love you so much and are proud of you enjoying and doing so well with your second day of school.


Respect & Responsibility

You're home and you haven't stopped talking about school yet. You made like you didn't like it at first when I picked you up. You said it was weird and hard to be away from home all day, knowing this would be your schooling the whole year. You missed having me and the dogs and your house, etc… You said the only thing you liked about school was recess.

And then it was like someone turned on a faucet. You started talking about school and haven't stopped!

You've talked about respect and responsibility as though they were new and amazing concepts you'd never heard of before. You've talked about your teacher, how she LOVES eye contact, and how she responds if you don't look her in the eye. How this is her 17th year of teaching, and how she is very very serious about eye contact. I can tell you have a great respect and admiration for her already.

You've spoken very fondly of your school counselor, Mrs. Y. You talked about what she tried to share with you, though you couldn't quite understand what she was getting at. You smile when you talk about her. I can tell you like her.

You've talked about lunch and how loud and crazy it is. How you didn't have any idea what to do. They only gave you 5 chicken nuggets, you ate half of one of your cucumber slices, and by the time you realized you could have had a roll you were too far along in the line to do anything about it. You were full from lunch, and it was good.

You had a school meeting (which sounded like a pep rally) in the large gym today. You said they introduced and clapped for all the teachers.

You talked about your cough and how it was hard to suppress, but you managed. You said you were so busy and figuring things out that you didn't really get to check out the other students in your class yet.

We unpacked your backpack and you let me look at your stuff. Your list of things you need. You were VERY serious about it. Like this was a matter of YOUR business, not mine. YES! ;)

You called your Dad to tell him how you liked your first day, and then you brought it all back to me.

You talked about some a loud classroom that as disrespectfully walking through the hallway past your class. You proudly mentioned you could tell that maybe not all the teachers in the school care about being respectful as much as your teacher does.

After about 30 minutes of straight stories, I realized it was time to scoop us some bowls of ice-cream and move this powwow out to the screen room. There you continued on and on, adding that you actually did kind of like it, except that you would rather be at home (who wouldn't).

Then your Nanna called. You have since been pacing around the house sharing stories with her about your first day. It's been about 30 minutes, and I get the feeling you will still have more to process when you get off the phone with her.

I told you on the couch in the screen room that I can tell you are different already. I can tell that you are stronger, and wiser, and more polite. I can tell that you are taking things seriously (things I've not been able to get you to take seriously at home) like respect and responsibility. You were proud, and you smiled and said, "mom, i can tell you might be about to cry some happy tears."

I am SO proud of you and happy for you. I can only imagine how wonderful this year is going to be for you, my love.

Happy happy first day.

First Day of Forth Grade

Your Daddy and I just dropped you off at school. We prayed together in the parking lot, and then I went in with you -all the "drop-off parents" went in with their kids. I had to give your teacher your portfolio from last year, and I wanted to make sure you knew where you were going, but mostly to have a mental picture of where you would be today, for myself. 

I was surprised to see that most of the boys were wearing sport and cotton shorts. You will be so happy to be allowed to wear yours while it's still warm enough. You look very handsome in your first day clothes. You are towering tall over almost every single kid. There are only a couple almost as tall as you.

When the bell rang at 8:30, giving you permission to go to your classroom, you took the correct turn to the right from the library, and then I showed you to look for the bananas in the hallway to take your next turn. We found your name tag over your hooks, hung your backpack, and went to your room. 

Your Teacher was very happy and calm for her first day. She smiled, greeted you, and gave you a blow pop sucker, instructing you to put it in your desk and then follow the directions on the smart board at the front of the classroom. She lovingly asked me how I was doing, knowing this is a very first for me too. I told her I was doing well and that we've been preparing for this day, praying for her and her kids… we chatted briefly, I dropped your portfolio, book order, and tissue box off at her desk and then checked on you one last time. 

You asked me if you were cold or hot lunch. I told you "hot". At the smart board you had to move your character to the box indicating which lunch you would have. Then you had to take a piece of loose-leaf paper to your desk to brain storm ideas of what you could write in a letter to your Teacher. 

I told you I was going to leave and asked if you were doing ok. You said you were fine and would actually like it if I would go. I refrained from hugging or kissing you. :)

On my way out of your room your Teacher kindly asked me again how I was doing. I told her that I would love to be a fly on the wall today. Then I feigned that I was doing well and encouraged her to have a great day. She said that in her opinion you were going to fit very well in her class. We both peeked in on you. You were sitting at your desk with your paper and pencil, brainstorming the cutest brainstorm I've ever seen in my life. 

I walked away with a big fake smile trying to blink away my tears. Thankfully, no one made eye contact. In the parking lot I actually forgot to look for cars before walking. Halfway through, I jokingly hoped someone might hit me with their car. In the driver's seat of my car I hugged myself a little while I let the tears come out, but it didn't feel better. I feel like I left a part of me inside that school today. I will miss our fourth grade year together in ways I won't dare utter to you.  

I know this is right, and when I think of you sitting alone at the kitchen table for a new "first day" of school at home, as a Homeschooler, I get it. I do. This is not where you belong this year. It's just so weird and hard knowing that if you're not here, neither am I. 

Good thing I have a long hair appointment today. Good Mama therapy. I may even get a pedicure if I have time left over. 

I love you and miss you and am so so happy for you, big guy. 

(p.s. i did not take the in-school photos, today. i wouldn't embarrass you like that)
(p.p.s. Pug did not get to go to school with you)