I was looking through baby pictures of the twins the other day, selecting one for each to be used during their UPK graduation. The memories and love that surged to my heart nearly left me breathless. I remember everything about their early days. I remember the three weeks in the hospital, our car ride home, the first few months of very little sleep, figuring out how to do life as a mom to two tiny babies. I wish I could go back to those moments. There is already no sign of the babies they once were. Just two big girls taking on bigger and bigger things.
The love of a mother is fierce, and the protective love I feel for my girls is no different. I find myself bouncing between erecting barriers to never let any harm come to them and nudging them over the edge so they can learn just how much they’re capable of actually doing. I want what is best for my girls. I want them to thrive in every sense.
Perhaps that is why I am so emotional about them starting kindergarten. I have been the main person in their lives since their birth. And while fundamentally I know this won’t change, my role will change. I expect this transition to be hard, perhaps harder for me than it is for them. But, if nothing else, I am thankful for one very important thing – this upcoming transition is forcing me to be a better mom.
It’s funny how we take the things we love most for granted. My husband and children mean everything to me, yet I allow other things to distract me and take away from the quality of time we have together. I’ve never wanted to be the mom that sat on the sidelines, either too busy or too unhealthy to play with my kids; still, I find myself kicking them outside to play, craving some quiet time for myself. I want my girls to have the skills they need to succeed at school but I am undisciplined in carving out time during our day to personally help them master those skills.
But when Eve and Vera get on that bus and head off to kindergarten, I will not have the luxury of wasting time. I am committed to providing them with a fun and playful environment at home, to cuddling with them every day, and to helping them gain the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. And, most of all, I am committed to hiding God’s Word in their hearts, knowing that He will be with them and watch over them everywhere they go. The environment I provide at home will be the catalyst for all of it.
So as we’ve prepared for this big transition in our home, here is what I’ve focused on:
I started the routine of praying with my kids every morning in the car as I took them to UPK. And though they will be riding the school bus to kindergarten instead of the “mom bus,” I plan to continue this. So every morning, before we begin our day, I still sit down with my kids and pray over them. It’s something my dad for me, and I believe it made a big difference. I can do nothing less for my own children.
Eve and Vera worked so hard in UPK and learned so much. To help them retain what they’ve learned, I created binders for them to use over the summer. Inside the binders are sheet protectors that hold various worksheets. They can write on the sheet protectors with dry erase markers and practice all the reading, writing, and math skills they’ve learned so far – over and over again. I strive for just 15 minutes a day so they won’t be overwhelmed when school starts.
I am a big fan of routine. And while we get a little more lax in the summer, our routine is not lost. With the exception of Saturdays, I still expect my children to eat breakfast, get dressed, and make their beds before they do anything else. Keeping this consistent makes it easy to get out of the house. They know what to expect and I know how to plan around them. Our nighttime routine also stays consistent, as do our expectations about meal time, TV time, and cleaning up messes.
Someday, I want my children to be independent, responsible, God-fearing women who see the world as God sees it and know how to interact with and love the people in it. This is their first step. Over the years to come, I will be able to teach them a lot, but as I watch them now, I know they will also teach me a lot. I can’t wait to see how Eve’s natural tenderness towards other people compels her to reach out in kindness. I look forward to watching Vera’s love of beautiful things blossom into creativity that inspires others.
And, most of all, I look forward to seeing their own faith grow as they learn how to live out the truth we are doing our best to teach them. As we look forward to that day, you for your children and me for mine, I invite you to pray this prayer over them with me:
When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
How did you prepare your kids, and yourself, for their first day of kindergarten?