“Have a great day, sweetheart. I love you.” My oldest steps onto the big yellow school bus the first day of kindergarten. She looks back as she climbs the steps too high for her little legs. Standing near the driver she smiles, waves and walks confidently to a seat.
I stand on the driveway holding a baby with my little boy cuddling my leg. “Look at the bus! It’s so big.”
I wave at my precious girl sitting alone near a window. Her little hand waves; her excitement of starting school so apparent. I stand waving with tears cascading down my face until the bus is out of sight. “Why are you crying, Mommy?” “I’m so excited for your sister, but I’ll miss her.” “Mommy, we can play trains together.”
Two years later I stand on the same driveway waiting with my boy wearing new tennis shoes and proudly carrying a blue backpack. “When’s the bus coming? I can’t wait to ride the bus. The best part of school is the bus.” My little girl hugs her brother again before he runs across the yard.
He hears the bus before he can see it. Without looking back he runs to the bottom of the driveway. He jumps on before the bus barely stops. “Have a great day at school, buddy. I can’t wait to hear about it.” My boy’s already on the bus.
I’m still waving when the bus disappears around the curve. “Mommy, don’t cry. I’ll play with you. Want to have a tea party?”
More years trace paths on my heart. The youngest grows and prepares to take the giant leap. We buy a pink backpack, crayons, glue sticks and markers. These are treasures for a five-year-old.
We’re in a new place where I’ll drive to school every morning. The sun rises bright on the first day of school and anticipation fills the car. “You’re going to have so much fun! You’ll love kindergarten. Let’s pray. ‘Dear Jesus, take care of my precious daughter. Help her to have a great day.’ ”
The car line moves forward and a fifth grade patrol opens the car door. “I love you. Have a great day. Bye.” She doesn’t even turn around.
It’s quiet in the car. All three gifts are safely stored in school, and it’s the beginning of my new adventure. “Thank you, God. Please show me what you have for me.” Tears swell in my eyes expressing a plethora of feelings. Gratefulness to the Lord. Excitement for my youngest. Hope that all my children will follow God. Expectation of what my Master has planned for me.
I’ve walked a year since my youngest passed through the doors into the school. I’ve found such peace and joy in trusting God with my children. They continue to blossom into amazing children of their Father. They understand their significance in Christ. They’re learning to reach out to others. Most days they try their best to use the gifts God has given them. They’re experiencing more each day that God is always with them.
Click here to read my post “Dedicating My Children to God Every Day.”
Each morning four lunch bags line the counter, one for each child and my hard-working husband. Before there is a sound in the house I make sandwiches, select pieces of fruit, place snacks in plastic containers, choose desserts, and write love letters.
I know I can’t walk into the school with my children, but they can read my words of love when they open their lunch bags.
Sometimes the love letters are simply a few words.
There are days when I write sentences that I pray their hearts will remember.
This summer I bought library book pockets at a school supply store. A note slipped into the pocket provides a small surprise.
I like to write jokes for the kids to read. It makes them laugh, and sometimes they even read it to friends.
I’m not afraid to write about Jesus. My words provide a lifeline to the hope they know, and I don’t want them to forget.
They know I love them. They can read this even when we’re apart.
My wonderful husband receives his own notes. What a gift our marriage is, and I want him to know how much I respect and love him.
The lunch bag love letters only take a few minutes to write. They are simple, funny, loving, and written in the handwriting my family knows is uniquely mine.
The daily letters show my special ones that they are loved and they have a secure place in our family. They are my love written into their lives.
Copyright © words and photographs by Jane Carole Stein