As I Send You Off To School

I was in my van the other day, alone, listening to the radio.

The Pretenders came on, singing “I’ll Stand By You.” Suddenly, without warning, I was doing a full on ugly cry, belting out song lyrics between sobs.

Poor Chrissie Hynde. I’m sure that was not her vision for this song.

I’ve never really thought about the lyrics before as a mom, but in that moment, a week before sending my first born off to kindergarten, it felt like the words were ripped right from my emotional momma-heart.

I know my kids are too young to get it now, but this – this is what my heart longs for them to understand. I might be older and weirder. I might not alway remember to put on deodorant or buy milk. And no, I won’t always agree with them or even like them.

But.

I will always, always stand by them. I will always let them cry, because I cry. I will always let them get mad, because I get mad. I will always let them feel scared and uncertain, because I have felt scared and uncertain. And I will always, always, stand by them.

Oh, why you look so sad, the tears are in your eyes,
Come on and come to me now, and don’t be ashamed to cry,
Let me see you through, ’cause I’ve seen the dark side too.
When the night falls on you, you don’t know what to do,
Nothing you confess could make me love you less,

I’ll stand by you,
I’ll stand by you, won’t let nobody hurt you,
I’ll stand by you
So if you’re mad, get mad, don’t hold it all inside,
Come on and talk to me now.
Hey there, what you got to hide?
I get angry too, well, I’m alive like you.
When you’re standing at the cross roads,
And don’t know which path to choose,
Let me come along, ’cause even if you’re wrong
 
I’ll stand by you.

The emotions behind this song and sending Theo off to school are punctuated by some recent developments. Recently, Theo and I had the opportunity to sit down with someone who gave us some insight into his behavior and who will hopefully help us find some long term solutions. We talked openly and frankly about the very real struggles that he might face in a traditional school with traditional expectations. But we also talked about his equally real strengths and abilities, and how we can best set him up for success.

Now, I feel completely wrecked. I’m not just sending my baby boy – my first born – off to kindergarten. We are also facing some things square in the face that up to this point have just been lurking in muddy and undefined waters.

I know this kid better than anyone else, and let me tell you, he is one heck of a kid. God really pulled out all the stops on this one. I’m just so proud of who he is.

So now, as we enter the school years, I want him to know that I don’t just love him unconditionally, but that I’m proud of who he is and that I’ll stand by him and for him. I see him, and I’m here to help others see him, the real him, too.

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