First Day of School… for Prodigals

I have seen and heard the “First Day of School” stories, and somehow pushed my OWN son’s “First Day of Pre-K” day to the back of my head.  Not because I was busy (which I was) or focused on baby #3 (which I am).  Merely because I realized…

My first baby was not my baby anymore.

For those that know me, this may seem a little off for me because it’s not like he’s never been away from me.  Due to being a schoolteacher, my oldest has actually had more time in childcare than my 2nd son… my oldest since he was maybe 3-4 months old.  So WHY it was so difficult to get inside my head THIS time around with Pre-K was a little… odd… but also, JUST MAYBE, it was my “motherly-self-defense-mechanism” thing working so I wouldn’t be completely overwhelmed at the thought of it all.

Regardless, today came and we made it through this morning well… probably TOO well.  As the three (him, his little brother and I) arrived at the classroom, JC greeted his teacher and walked right in… HE DIDN’T EVEN GIVE ME A HUG OR KISS!  The teacher and I were surprised and called, “JC, don’t you wanna tell your mom bye?”  Of course, he walked back and loved me and left.  Who DIDN’T find this departure pleasing was the little brother.  Oh… the tears that flowed as he called his brother’s name and reached out for him while I pulled him back and picked him up.  THAT was more than overwhelming (**Note to parents: I do NOT recommend taking your oldest to school on the first day with the younger sibling.  They don’t really understand the concept of not being together, but apart, for school or that it is only for a few hours.  This can be quite traumatic, depending on how close they are.)

Thankfully, we had a minor distraction that helped us get to the exit door, but once outside with the doors shut, reality hit again for our littlest one: it’s just me and mommy… and my brother/playmate/friend for the past two years of my life is back there.

Did mommy want to cry? OH YES! But I mean… what good would it do to have the youngest crying AND me crying?  SOMEbody had to be the strong one.  So… I just waited until he calmed down and reassured him everything was going to be fine… that we would be picking his brother up in just a few hours.  After reassuring himself through repeated phrases of his brother’s name and “school”, he was fine.  THEN… it was mommy’s turn.  As soon as the car stopped, my “self-protection mechanisms” failed to launch and were destroyed by the tears that were caught in my heart, my head and my throat as they flowed out over my eyelids as I bent over the steering wheel.  I couldn’t say anything but sob and pray.  I prayed for God’s peace over my mind not to worry, safety over my son and his classmates and the school, and thanksgiving for the opportunity.  It was in this moment, something became so clear to me…

… this is how God feels – on an even GREATER level- when we leave Him.

God, who made us, and – for some- has become a father to us, mourns when we leave/depart the safety of His Will and His Presence.  He knows the enemy’s desire to kill, steal and destroy us and aches in all of His very being when we choose to make ourselves available to the enemy’s desire instead of staying in the safety of His Wing… of His shadows.  No, my son wasn’t going somewhere evil, but the reality that he wasn’t going to be in my sight, in my presence – with ME – gripped my heart.  Thankfully, for him, I know he’s in the care of individuals who love Jesus and in an environment that lifts up HIS name.  However, as believers, when we walk away from God and choose to leave His presence/not be with HIM, there is no other place of true safety that will compare to God’s presence.

You can imagine my great anticipation (as well as the youngest one who ran to the van screaming “Let’s go, mommy”) as we prepared to pick up JC.  While in carpool, watching kids get their belongings, I wondered how JC’s day went, what did they do in class, who were his new friends, etc.  I was ECSTATIC to see him (tired and sweaty lol) and embrace him.  WE missed him so much!!!

Just imagine how God feels when one of His own returns to Him… the same way and even MORE.  How glad He feels when the angels report of another soul returning to Christ- ECSTATIC x ETERNITY!

I’m grateful my son gets to go to school for a few hours a few days of the week and, even though it was rough, I’m grateful for feeling the “anxiety” of leaving him this morning because I got to learn more about God in that moment:

As much as we love our children in our care, so does God and LONGS for the return of His children who’ve walked away from His Care because He loves them and desires to give them the only LOVE that will satisfy.

Matthew 18:12-13 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.”

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