First Day of School Preparation has been deeply rooted in me since I was little. New pencils. New folders. A new pencil case. All the newness of those school supplies helped a little girl going into whatever grade feel a little less trepidatious about all the newness of a new school year.
And I totally passed this particular form of preparation on to my own children. The school supply lists + whatever special new item the kids got to pick out (a new lunch box or new shoes, just some thing fun…) was what we’d turn to when all the unanswered questions would arise. Like, “What will my teacher be like?” “Where will I go?” “Who will be my friend?”
The answer to all those questions was, “At least your pencils are new and pointy! And you have that awesome new space-themed lunch box! What more does a kid need?!”
But this year threw us ALL for a loop! We had limited supply choices at the one store we could get to on base where we are staying, and a lot of the supplies we needed I’d already purchased and packed in our bags that will be coming ( hopefully soon?!?!?!?!?!?!?) and I didn’t really want to repurchase them! So the kids and I literally sat on the floor with their school lists and I’d say things like, “Who has some pencils?!” and the kids would run off and find some pencils and we’d make sure each kid had enough pencils for the first few weeks of school. One glue stick for each of you! You take these extra scissors from your sister until yours arrive-purple glitter is all the rage among 6 year old boys, don’t you know!
My kids handled it so well. To be honest, they handled it better than I did-deep down inside. I’m assuming it’s because I have 38 years of ingrained First Day of School Coping to contend with…but whatever the case… We made it to the first day of school without my usual methods of dealing. In fact, what happened that last week before school started was the REAL back to school prep. I just didn’t realize it…
So now we need to back track. I need to take you back to the week before. The week before when it turns out God was setting up the best supply list any of us could imagine to help us through that first week of school. The week before, I had volunteered at the on post Chapel’s Vacation Bible School. Its run by the chaplins office and its kind of a interdenominational/watered-down gospel/free-child care by sweet volunteers situation that to be honest, I had a very bad attitude about. I had volunteered so my kids would be able to go and I figured it would be a good way for all of us to get out of the hotel.
I was assigned a group of 8 kids plus a teen helper. And would you believe it? My group was made up of 3 boys who were 6 years old (Justice’s age!) and 5 girls: 3 girls going into Tabitha’s grade, one who was a year younger and loved musical theatre (Tabitha’s FAVORITE THING) and one a year older. We spent the week together, me teaching them the gospel between the regularly scheduled VBS activites (turns out the girl who was a year older than Tabitha was hungry for everything I had to say about it.) and at the end of the week? Justice hit it off hard with one of the little boys, BFFs right off the bat. Tabitha ended up in the same class as ALL THREE of the little girls in my VBS class. All Three. And Ransom joined Boy Scouts after being inspired by my teen helper.
So is it normal to have a VBS group made up of only 6 year old boys and 9 year old girls (not the combo I would have come up with!)? Is it typical for all the little girls the same age as your shy daughter to be in her class? I’d like to think its not. I feel confident that the Lord knew the hearts of my children, He knew what they really needed for the first day of school and it wasn’t new folders or pink erasers.
As always my biggest prayers for the year ahead are teachers who will know and love my children well. Good friends to walk with in the year ahead. And experiences that will point them to the Love of Jesus. I just need to remember that sometimes the school supply list for those prayers to be answered looks a little different!