Friday, November 2, 2012

life lessons

I start a lot of posts and don't complete them.
I have set a goal- and I'm going to complete this post.

Life is quickly passing by- as always.  It's already November.  It sure is beautiful outside for November.  It may not be the warmest day of the year, but the sun is shining and it's in the mid 50's.  Blue skies with a few puffy white clouds.  Lovely.

After I pick the kids up from school they will rush to change their clothes, run to the neighbors house and hope the neighbors can come out to play in our back yard.  Where they will busy themselves by raking leaves, making forts, playing house, or zoo...or some other childhood game.  Of course, Elijah will still be at school practicing for his upcoming play. (he is a teenager, you know!)  While he still occasionally plays outside with his siblings, he is a little too old for their kind of play. :)  My kids are growing up fast- inevitable for sure, but it seems like I closed my eyes for a moment and POOF-  One day I'll close my eyes and fall asleep in a home where only Josh and I reside ( & possibly my mom:) I'll awaken to an empty house...nobody crawling under my covers to warm their tiny bodies...nobody asking me to make breakfast, or if they can watch a cartoon.  And it won't be because they're at a sleepover.  Or at camp.  Or off to college.  They'll be gone, living their own lives, pursuing their own dreams.  I only hope I am equipping them to do those things.

Equipping.  Now that's a word not to be used lightly.  How do we equip our children to live decent lives?  I don't fully know the answer to that.  Today Abigail participated in the 4th grade spelling bee.  She is so smart.  She has common sense (usually, unless it comes to obeying the first time)  she has a sense of humor, she sometimes beats me at scrabble (I am NOT kidding- either this girl is smart, or I am just a lousy scrabble player...she is only 9!)  Most of her spare time is spent reading, writing poems or short stories, helping take care of Jeremiah, practicing piano, or practicing her part for the church play.  She likes a challenge, and loves to learn.

So it came down to the wire at the spelling bee...4 kids left.  Abigail got the word accountant.  She knows how to spell this word.  She had never spelled it wrong during our practice for the spelling bee.  I was watching and I thought "well, she's got this one!"  She approached the microphone.  In a confident voice she said "ACCOUNTANT.  ACO...( a look of shock and horror spread across her face- she knew she forgot a 'c', but she knew she couldn't retract her letters.  In a spelling bee, once you say a letter you have to use it) She completed the rest...UNTANT.  ACCOUNTANT.  She knew.  She looked at me to see if I was pleased, or displeased.  I smiled at her.  She came down from the stand, sat next to me and turned her head away from anyone who might see her. Then she started to cry.  My heart hurt for her.  I knew how badly she wanted to win. She wanted to go on to the next round- and possibly Washington DC!  Big dreams, and now they had evaporated.  I tried to tell her I was proud of her, and she did a great job, but she wanted nothing to do with that.  She felt like she had failed herself, her class, everyone.  I didn't know how to help her.

We sat and watched the rest of the spelling bee (Jeremiah was very well behaved during all of this, and tried his best to comfort his sissy)  Abigail's friend Kyrsten ended up winning the round.  I know Abigail was happy for Kyrsten, but sad for herself.  It's so hard to balance such emotions.  She ran off to the bathroom because it was nearly time to go back to class and she didn't want anyone to know she had been crying.

Neither me nor her teacher could find her.  I checked the bathroom and found her crying in the stall.  I told her it was okay- I wasn't upset- she should be proud of herself for making it this far,  she had done a good job, etc... But nothing helped.  She said she didn't want people telling her she had done a good job because she hadn't.  She had failed.  I eventually walked her back to her class, her teacher came out to meet us.  She is so compassionate and loving towards the kids.  And it was what she said (so SIMPLE) that made things just a little bit better- a little bit more bearable for Abigail.  She told Abigail that sometimes we have plans, but those plans don't always work out.  And Gods plans are much bigger than our own.  He uses EVERY SINGLE THING in our lives to teach us, mold us, and make us who HE wants us to be.  Now, I know these things, and I say these types of things to other people- and eventually I probably would have said the exact same thing to Abigail.  However, sometimes when I say these types of things to the kids, the words fall on deaf ears.  (You're my mom- you have to say that!)   Hearing it from her teacher really seemed to help.  Her spirits lifted- and she no longer felt so terrible about losing.  

I am so blessed to have other people surrounding my children, lifting them up with encouraging words.  Equipping them for the future.  Josh and I have a lot of equipping to do- and it's nice to know we have a community of loving, Christ followers around us to help us in this journey.