My Head Understands, but My Heart…

Dear Reader, I wrote a newspaper column for eleven years and what follows is one of my Top 10 favorite writings from that column. It was originally published on August 17, 2009.  I never dreamed a decade would go so fast. Life doesn’t look much like I thought it would ten years later, but I stand behind every word I wrote.  

Tomorrow my children will both get on the school bus.  They will both get on the bus.  I will walk them down the driveway, camera in hand.  We will all be smiling and saying our morning school prayer.

My son will tell me he’s a little nervous and I will tell him that nerves are normal.  My daughter will be ready to conquer another adventure and I will remind her to be a moral conqueror.  

Their school bags (packed July 24) hold all their new supplies for their new year.  The shoes on their feet will never again be so clean. This is what they’ve been created and raised to do.  By God’s grace, their lives are going according to schedule and plan.

My head understands all of this but my heart . . . my heart is still working on it.

For nine years I have been “just a mommy.”  When I first stopped teaching third grade and people asked me what I did for a living, I would say, “I’m a stay-at-home mom, but I used to be a teacher.”  Somehow I felt being a mom wasn’t worthy enough. Let me tell you, after nine years, I know that being a mom is more than worthy!

Eventually my self-worth wasn’t tied into my knowledge, degree, and earnings.  My self-worth was tied into my Teacher who helped me as I was training, teaching, and growing the children.  I now proudly fill out my occupation as “mom.”

I’ve dreamed of the day when I could run all my errands in town uninterrupted.  No one will cry in a store. No one will ask for candy at the check-out. No one will need buckled into a car seat.  But no one will be there to sing silly songs with me.  

I will actually be able to read food labels, compare prices, and shop thoroughly.  But no one will jabber all the way down the highway or read everything to me in the store as the world of print opens up to them.

My head understands all of this but my heart . . . my heart is still working on it.

My daughter is nine years old and going into the 4th grade.  I am sending her to a teacher whom I know, love, and trust. Nine years from now I will be sending her to college.  I will not know, love, and trust this college like I know, love, and trust her 4th grade teacher. My daughter talks about college almost daily.  Part of that is training but part of that is her natural curiosity and love of learning.

My time with her is half over.  Half over? I just gave birth to her a few months ago!  The time may be half over but I’m not close to being half done with the wisdom, advice, and instruction I want to impart to her.  The next nine years are uncharted territory which I expect to be bumpy and wonderful all at the same time.  

She is growing and it is a complete privilege to be her mother.  She will disappoint me and make me elated simultaneously. In nine years I won’t be packing pencils.  I’ll be packing detergent, a small refrigerator, and electronic gadgets which haven’t even been invented yet.  Lord willing, she will be going and doing exactly what she’s been created and raised to do.

My head understands all this but my heart . . . my heart is still working on it.

My son goes to first grade this year.  He will eat lunch at school and will learn the world doesn’t always work the way it works at home.  He will turn to me for answers to his questions. You see, I am still playing the part of the “leading lady” in his life.  Having a time advantage over his sister, he and I have spent the last four years together. We’ve read, bought groceries, read, played games, read, tickled on the couch, and read.

He has been my helper, my companion, and my constant source of conversation.  He has wonderful grandmas and could not be going to a more quality teacher, but I . . . I am still his love.

But my time is slipping.  All too soon my leading role will diminish to a supporting role.  I will have input and influence but not as much. Not long after that will come the day when I will simply be in the “chorus” of his life, one voice out of a million who will vie for his time and attention.

And then will come the day when a new, younger leading lady will take over the starring role in his life drama.  I pray for her already. I pray my son will be a man of character and that he will choose wisely. Lord willing, they will love one another dearly and he will be doing exactly what he’s been created and raised to do.  

My head understands all this but my heart . . . my heart is still working on it.

The west field has corn in it and I am glad.  The big yellow bus will pull away tomorrow morning and I will almost immediately be hidden from the children’s sight.  My beloved farm dog and I will walk up the driveway together. I will pet him and tell him the kids will be home soon; the day won’t be too long without them.

My head understands all of this but my heart . . . oh, my heart.

This is not just my story.  This is our story. This is for anyone who has ever loved a child and worked diligently at helping that youngster develop roots and strengthen wings.  Our kids are not truly ours. They are only on loan.  

Until the next Wednesday the Lord allows.