So you have all made it to the summer, you may be battered and bruised and broken but you have got there, to the long 12 weeks that begin with such optimism, all hopeful and hope-filled.
You got through the academic school year.
You have survived the many parent-teacher conferences, sitting on a small wooden chair while listening with a broken heart as your 6-year-old is described as “special” .
You have made numerous late night runs to CVS for yet another poster board when you realized your child’s project was due tomorrow.
You have read the varying mind numbing repetitive books that teach your preschooler, who “lacks focus”, how to read and make you fall asleep.
You have navigated the varying breakdowns and breakups of your children’s friendship groups. You have sat on the edge of your pre-teens bed as they wail about some life-ending drama that is going on in the halls and behind the lockers of the middle school.
You have put back together your teenager when they believed they would never make it to college/prom/graduation.
You have sat tight-lipped and terrified as your “child” sits behind the wheel of your family car, wishing there were training wheels on automobiles and comprehending very quickly this is God’s way of improving your prayer life.
You have agonized over the overwhelming school choices for your sensitive child, as sleep disappears like an early morning fog, as you wonder and wish for a clear answer from Jesus. Preferably the answer being written in the sky, which will then take the heavy burden of the decision of your shoulders.
You have gone to work wondering if they will be permanently damaged by the lively discussion that you and your partner had as you exited the house on several occasions or by the simple but yet so guilt ridden act of putting them in daycare in the first place.
You have thought often how you might not be a natural teacher or mother, and therefore unable to keep going with homeschooling your tribe especially when you discovered about two weeks into the last academic year that you don’t really like children, especially your own.
You have sought out the wisest advice and counsel for your child that struggles and sits alone, and you’ve sat with tear stained cheeks as his crying into the night cracks open your heart .
I have done it all, I am the mother who sent my child in the wrong outfit on the wrong day for a school trip.
I have let them go out to night clubs and have cell phones before their peers
I have let them follow their dream of becoming a model.
I have let my children hand in incomplete and inadequate projects and then we have deliberately torn them up in the school dumpster when they failed or were told they could do better.
I have worked hard to teach our children to be socially, emotionally and physically intelligent, only to discover they were bullied anyway.
I have sent my children to school without teachers appreciation presents and I have failed to make homemade cookies for school. I have written inside all the valentines day cards myself because I can’t stand the slow torture of a first grader writing 35 names at 7pm at night.
I have rung up friends in the early hours of the morning to check the details of some important message that I have screwed up both metaphorically and physically.
I have moved our children to several different schools and even moved countries because we believed we heard God speak to us.
I have avoided going to children’s parties because they bring out the worst in our children and make me feel like I’m losing my mind.
I have hit my fists in the pillow in frustration when my toddler wouldn’t cooperate with potty training and my world was coming to an end because she could not go to preschool in diapers.
I have prayed without ceasing that my very human failures will be filled in and redeemed by God’s unfailing, unstoppable, unending love for my child. That is the only way they and I have survived it all.
The basic simple belief that God loves my child a whole load more than me and that my mistakes in their lives are redeemable. This enabled me to get up in the morning after a terrible yesterday and face the new day with hope.
So now as you enter the summer full of another set of completely different pressures and potential disasters waiting to happen, don’t be too hard on yourselves. Look at the big picture, the long run.
I used to say let’s look at the years, not the minutes. Let’s see what they are like by the time they are 25-30 and if you still feel you have failed significantly at that point there is always prayer and therapy, it makes a great graduation gift .