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Bittersweet Beginnings
By Lynda Schab

  I watched in horror as the giant building swallowed up my son. How could I possibly wait thirteen years until it spit him back out? Of course, by then, he will have changed drastically. In today as a small, five year old child--out thirteen years later as a grown man. I wouldn’t recognize him! I wanted to drag him back out of the big, brick mouth that had gobbled him up. I wanted to save him!

Okay, I’ll admit, I really wasn’t thinking only of saving my son, Zach. I was also hoping to preserve my own sanity as I saw my baby off on his first day of kindergarten.

Is any mother truly ready to wave goodbye to her child as he heads off to the big, scary world of pencils and desks and blackboards and dismissal bells and recess and standing in line and raising your hand and graded papers, and sex education and ... well, you get my drift.

I thought I was prepared. In fact, some moments I actually longed for the day when I would have some time for myself. When I wouldn’t be "bothered" as I sipped my morning coffee and sat down with my Bible. When I wouldn’t have to put off the "important" things like piles of laundry so I could engage in a game of Chutes & Ladders with my son.

What in the world was I thinking?

How I could be so selfish that I considered spending time with my son a burden, something I had to put up with? The one thought that kept running through my mind was, "I’ll never get those moments back."

From this day forward, Zachery would be labeled a "schoolboy". I longed to rewind the tape to the part where my son could be called "mommy’s boy" without sounding wimpy. But those days had now disappeared behind a lunch pail and a flimsy folder with 101 Dalmatians on the front.

Confident we had stuffed everything Zach needed for his first day into that backpack, I grabbed the camera and took a couple of snapshots. His toothy grin warmed my heart.

Once inside the classroom, I scanned the room full of children. Which ones would Zach choose as his friends? Who would take my place as his best buddy and confidant?

My husband and I helped Zach locate his assigned seat at his assigned table and chatted for a moment with his teacher. I looked at the amazing woman who would now be privileged to spend so much precious time with my son. I then realized what an important person she would be in our lives this year, as we trusted her with such a big portion of our son’s.

Then again, the one we were really trusting was God. If fear found its way into my heart, all of the prayers I’d lifted up for Zach would have been in vain. All of my pleas to God to protect my son and help him to make wise decisions and fill his life with good friends from godly families - those prayers would be wasted if I chose to doubt now.

It was time to let go and begin to activate my faith on the prayers I’d called out to God for the last five years.

I gave Zach a hug goodbye and kissed his cheek, grateful he wasn’t yet at the age when he would be too embarrassed for that. I told him I loved him and walked out of the classroom with my head held high. I couldn’t resist one last peek over my shoulder and I smiled when I saw him already talking with another boy at his table. The tear that rolled down my cheek that morning was mixed with sadness and joy. Sadness because I was saying goodbye to my baby. Joy because I knew that although I couldn’t be with Zach during the hours he was at school, God would be.

It wasn't only the beginning of school that day. It was the beginning of a new way of thinking for me. I made a promise to myself and to God that while Zach was busy growing up, I would never be too busy to savor each day, each moment of that process.

  Lynda Schab is a Faithwriters member and freelance writer who resides in Michigan with her husband and two children. She can be contacted at Lschab4jc@yahoo.com.

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