My normal morning routine involves rolling our three younger Hotts out of bed and running them in to school every day. We live in a rural area where, should they catch the bus, it would require getting up before God himself. Add to that, ours is a mile long lane that winds to the top of a steep mountain. Having the children walk to the bus stop in the dense dark of morning with who knows what critters; bears, coyote, snakes,… well, it just.seems.crazy. I am sure many of you walked it both ways, up hill, barefoot, and in a blizzard, back in the good ‘ole days! So, since we’re driving them that far, Dan and I drive them to school every day.
Our morning rides normally consists of anything from reviewing spelling lists, singing silly songs, to waving at the old guy golfing every morning on Route 9, to arguments over who looked at whom. (Oh yes… don’t you just love that?) Levi, our future rock star, began Kindergarten this year. Although he is the youngest, we have never, and I mean NEVER, been allowed to call him the “B” word. Should anyone make the mistake and call him the “baby” of the family, (even strangers!), they would be met with the usual Levi “glare”, followed by freckles that begin to erupt in flames to match his hair, fists all up in a ball, and snorts from his wrinkled up nose. It always ends with a swift kick to the shins and Levi yelling “I am NOT a baby!”
And… Levi rarely cries. Seriously! He sings, giggles, and if he can’t think of something to say, well… he just chatters away nonsense. If Levi does cry, I know that he is either hurt or running a fever of no less than 105 degrees! School runs are normally routine and without incident. Until today.
Levi was as quiet as a mouse, eyebrows crinkled, mouth in a frown, and on the verge of falling apart at the seams. As we turned the corner to the school, his bottom lip quivered and a huge tear the size of a teaspoon spilled out of his eye and splashed down his cheek.
Oh my goodness! You’re probably thinking that after four kids, I should be used to this, right? But this was my, yes… I’m going to say it: This was my “baby”! And he was upset. Oh, who am I kidding? It bothers me when anyof my children cry whether they are only 5 or 20! By the time we pulled up to the front door of Widmeyer Elementary, where all the friendly teachers including the smiling Principal Weber greet us EVERY day, my baby Levi was sobbing. I knew if I walked him in to class, I would never leave. Levi flat out refused to get out of the car! Sobbing, he stayed put. He is more stubborn than his daddy, if that’s even possible. His mind was made up. He wasn’t going to school today.
So I did what every mother does. I put the Surburban in park; reached around to unbuckle Levi; handed the still smiling teacher his Star Wars back pack; and I pealed him out of his car seat. Next, I forced his hand in the teachers and literally pushed him out of the car door.
Then I sped away from the school at top speed with tires squealing! Just kidding… sort of.
No. I drove off and watched every second in my rear view mirror as my baby Levi dragged himself into the school door with his lip dragging behind him.
Then,… I cried. As much as I hate to admit it, this was one of the hardest days ever in my mommy memory. Seriously! I’m not a mom to bawl at every milestone; really I’m not. On the first day of school this year when all four of my children began their educations on exactly the same day, Dan and I popped a bottle of champagne and got naked in the hot tub. I really celebrate their accomplishments and look forward to what God has in store for each one of them.
But this was my baby! And I knew exactly what was going on with him. He was scared. Although a kindergartner, today was his first day to go to first grade for reading and math. In the midst of all his excitement, my baby Levi said, “Mommy, what if I can’t read like the first graders?” At bedtime last night, Levi said to Dan, “I’m – scared – Daddy.” All I could do was assure him that he could, indeed, read like the first graders, maybe even better. He just needed to give it a try: “Nothing ventured! Nothing gained!” Right?
As I drove home with tears in my eyes, I silently asked God to shadow my baby today, to follow him around Widmeyer Elementary all day, and to let my baby Levi feel His gentle touch for comfort. I told God that my baby was scared about encountering a new challenge and needed His presence for strength and courage. I prayed that I really could “invisibly” be with each of my babies, whether they are only 5 or 55, as they each meet struggles. No matter how old they get, they will always be my babies, right? I told God that I was so worried about my baby Levi; that I just wished I could be there and hold my baby while he bravely meets his new challenge today.
And God said… “Me too.”
Really? “Yes.” God said, “I know how you feel.”
Although my heart ached for the day ahead for my baby Levi, I realized in the tenderness in which God responded to my prayer, that yes, He really did understand and know how I was feeling. Just as God will be with my baby Levi today, guiding and protecting him, He too was also with his son, Jesus.
I was just sending my baby to first grade today. He sent his to earth to save the world. Guess He did know how I felt.
“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is,God with us.” Matthew 1:23
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