Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News archives
Kids color their name tags in on the first day of school.
Hopefully, everyone has now settled into the new school year. You’ve established your morning routines and, though they may not like it, children have adjusted to early bedtimes.
There’s nothing quite like that first day, though. Kids in brightly colored outfits with shoes so new and clean it’s hard to look directly at them. They’re usually excited with just a slight side of nerves. Mostly harmless concerns plague them. Will I be the shortest one in class? Where is my bus room? How do I pay for ice cream? Ten minutes after school starts, their jitters will be forgotten as they are immersed in learning the ropes of a new grade.
Parents are a different story. Well, in my experience, that describes mothers, but I won’t stereotype. On the first day of school, many of us are a nervous wreck until those precious children stumble back off that big yellow bus in the afternoon.
It’s not that I think it’s going to be a horrible day; my kids go to a great school and have terrific teachers. There is just something about your children being completely out of your control that makes you feel a little helpless.
During the summer, my kids stay with my sister-in-law. I knew where they were, what kind of environment and influences were around them, and I could call and check on them any time I wanted.
The school day is a giant blind spot. Just try to get a fifth-grade boy to tell you what went on in his day. My girls are more forthcoming, but they have me cringing with tales of second-grade drama.
I started thinking about all the difficulties yet to come: letting kids drive alone, sending them on mission trips, dropping them off at college. I’ll stop there before I pass out.
If letting our children out of our sight can be difficult for us, what must it be like for Heavenly Father to send all of his children to earth?
How worrisome it must be to send children to earth where they will be so tempted by horrible influences. He loves us so much, but we are born having forgotten him. We must re-learn the gospel and choose him. Knowing how difficult it will be for his children, the Lord made a backup plan, giving us a Savior for our redemption. how agonizing it must be for the Father to watch so many not choose freedom, but to fall.
Heavenly Father has written down everything he wants us to know in the scriptures and would love for us to call on him any time, day or night. Like most children, though, we never call home enough.
We often lament on how quickly our children grow up. One moment they’re learning to tie their shoes, and the next they’re learning to parallel park. What we forget is how swiftly the bad moments pass as well.
When our twin girls were born they needed to stay in the NICU for three weeks. The hospital was an hour from our home, and I visited every day. For the first week family members drove me as I recovered from surgery; after that I drove or waited for my husband in the evenings. At the time, it felt like their stay lasted an eternity. Now looking back, that difficulty was just a brief moment that seems like a lifetime ago.
Several weeks have passed since their first day of this school year. All of those worries are now a distant memory. As my kids have become more confident in their classes, I too have become secure in their routines and safety — at least as much as a mother ever does.
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I will keep trying to get my kids to fill me in on the empty abyss I call the school day. In the meantime, I think I’ll check in with my Heavenly Father a little more often. As a parent, I’m sure he’d like a little reassurance on how I’m doing through the day, and as a parent I could use the reassurance through the day.
Chastity Harris and her family live in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Her debut novel, "Devils Among Us," is now available on amazon.com for the Kindle. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org and her website is www.chastityharris.com.