Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Ready or Not?



Another school year begins, and I’m not ready to hear my kids ask: “Do I have everything?” as they race to catch the bus. The truth is probably not. But does it matter on the first day? So why do I worry?

I need to focus on the basics: they ate, brushed their teeth, remembered the backpack, and caught the bus. I pray for them as the storm door swings closed. Then I stare out the window and hold my breath for three minutes, the time it takes my son and daughter to stroll back from the bus stop. At least for the first day, they made it, and I can breathe again.

I can’t relax too soon; sometimes they call from the bus—a call equals problem, something their sleepy minds just remembered. About this time last year, I had to bike to the high school, a twenty-five minute ride, to bring forgotten cleats and shin guards needed for practice. Mommy points for that day!

My two youngest of five kids are teenagers who shouldn’t need my help to get ready for school, but somehow I’m still involved in the process: making lunches, finding pens, fixing my daughter’s hair, and recovering the one lost sneaker. I also guard the door so a little Yorkie, who thinks she has to leave too, doesn’t escape. She hides under the table, waiting for her opportunity. I’d rather not start my morning chasing a dog around the block.

I’m tired and still have to get ready for work. It’s too soon for this school routine; the sky says beach time.

Looking back, I’m amazed at how fast their first days have changed.  Eighteen years ago, we started this journey, homeschooling our five kids. I taught our oldest son to read while keeping two toddlers busy and preventing things from breaking. The first day was exciting for us as we opened the new books, had breakfast, and read Bible lessons together. Our school day moved from the table to the couch, to the floor, to outdoors on a warm day. They started their day without alarm clocks and rushing, or me pushing them out the door.

Now first days involve driving our second oldest upstate four hours away to say goodbye; buying a monthly train ticket for our oldest to commute to the city and a bus pass for our third son to get to the local college. This was the first day of the last year all of our kids will be in school. The oldest graduates college this May. Then we’ll celebrate the “lasts.” Last day of college, last day of high school, last day of having three kids in college at the same time. Will life get easier? Will I worry less? Doubt it, but for now I’ll keep trusting God to help me through each day. And we’re already onto the second week.

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34

Sunday, September 11, 2016

That Day (Remembering 9/11)

Playing stickball with a view of Tower One across the bay in Long Beach, NY

A day we'll never forget: 9/11/2001. Years later, as I play stickball with my family, we can see the Tower One where we used to see the Twin Towers. And I remember that day...

My husband had left for work. Our oldest three sons, age 5, 7, and 9 at the time, had just finished their breakfast and were starting their homeschool lessons. A few minutes before 9:00 AM, my mother-in-law rushed downstairs to tell us her sister called her with crazy news. “A plane crashed through one of the twin towers! Turn on the TV!” 

We watched, confused, wondering how an accident like this could happen as smoke and fire billowed from the first tower. Then in live footage we watched a second plane fly into the second tower…and we knew it was a terrorist attack. This was not an accident—it had to be a calculated plan to kill thousands of Americans. About an hour later, we watched the towers collapse in horror.  

In disbelief, we walked a block away to the bay, where we could look across the calm, glistening water. Clouds of smoke stood in place of the towers. It really happened. One of the saddest days for our country. We went home and prayed for the friends and families who lost someone in the tragedy.

We still pray for them.

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16