by Brooke Gregory
The first day of school has come and gone. Our leisurely summer schedule quickly erased.
As a parent with young kids, I have high expectations for the first day of school. In the scene played out in my mind, we are all up early, dressed and eager to begin the new school year. We sit and enjoy breakfast together, smiles all around. We have time to spare for pictures on the front stoop before skipping to the bus stop, then hugs and waves as my son climbs aboard the school bus.
My expected vision failed to play out last year. This year, I had hoped our start to second grade would be better.
Throughout the summer, we’d been coping with our son’s physical and emotional response to the sight and smell of food. Nearly every mealtime had been filled with drama–frustrating and exhausting.
Though progress had been made, the first day of second grade was a battle. My husband and daughter left, and I remained at home with my 8-year-old. I tried to keep my mouth shut, afraid my frustration and short-temper would turn me into “crazy, yelling mom.”
How do I send my kid off to school with no breakfast?!
I stomped around the kitchen and told my son to get his shoes on. (In the midst of this, I failed to close the fridge door all the way – which means we came home to melted butter and room temperature food.)
I took the “first day of school” picture, but it was with a sadness – no big smiles. We failed again at the first day of school, I thought as we walked to the school bus.
The sun was bright; the day was warm as we began our short walk to the bus stop. But my heart was not in it. I really just wanted to send him on his way and escape. (Not my finest parenting moment.)
As we walked, big drops of rain begin to fall, sun still shining, and we spotted a full rainbow. Rainbows are special in our family – a sign of hope, a reminder of the presence of a God who loves us and keeps promises.
What a wake up call!
I put my son on the bus, and it drove away. I walked to my car, the rain still falling. My work clothes were soaked; my hair limp and frizzy; and I was late to work.
But I just stood there, and thanked God for the beauty of a rainbow and for loving us even when we’re grumpy.
The first day of school was not what I had planned. Still, it was simply perfect!
Brooke Gregory is a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Bellevue, Neb. She is a long-time supporter of Nebraska Lutheran Outdoor Ministries. Her blog can be found at https://familygodmoments.wordpress.com.
This post first appeared on the Women of the ELCA blog in September 2016.