Friday, August 16, 2013

Welcome to Holland

Wednesday was the boys' first official day in Daycare.

It's a home based daycare, and there were a total of 6 children including them there today. I guess, you could call it a babysitter, to make it seem less...institutional.

But it was daycare.

I was prepared for The Dude's reaction. A mild protest when I dropped him off. The report that he cried a little for me in the morning, and a lot for me when he woke up from his nap.
The fact that he greeted me like I was some sort of rock star, and that he told me "I had sooo much fun at church! Bye church! See you later!"

I was prepared for reports of what a big helper Aquaman was. He's a busy little beaver.
And in hindsight, I should have been prepared for his alligator tears as we were heading out the door. The release of those powerful Aquaman emotions that he so bravely regulates under anothers' watchful eye. For his difficulty adjusting to something new. That he didn't like her particular kind of macaroni, that the "room with the cars in it" wasn't unlocked until afternoon, and that he was scared of the tv show everyone else wanted to watch during afternoon rest.

What I wasn't prepared for?

Feeling like I was going back to work from my maternity leave all over again. That same sense of loss and helplessness. Knowing that someone else (who thankfully we have known for a long time and trust) would be talking to my still so small and impressionable children differently than I would have talked to them, and caring for them differently than I would have cared for them.

I've done this long enough to know that, like Aquaman, I will adjust with the tincture of time to change.

I remind myself that I am not leaving my children to go to work for my own pleasure, or sense of accomplishment, or to have a big savings account. I am going so that they can eat. And if I am doing the right thing by going to work, then God is going to provide extra for them when I can't be there.

I read this devotional the other day, and felt like it was written just for me:

"He comes where He commands us to leave. If you stayed home when God told you to go because you were so concerned about your own people there, then you actually robbed them of the teaching of Jesus Christ Himself. When you obeyed and left all the consequences to God, the Lord went into your city to teach, but as long as you were disobedient, you blocked His way. Watch where you begin to debate with Him and put what you call your duty into competition with His commands. If you say, “I know that He told me to go, but my duty is here,” it simply means that you do not believe that Jesus means what He says."
-My Utmost For His Highest

I am learning how to trust God with His children's today, and with their tomorrow.

I am letting myself grieve briefly, while at the same time, remembering to look for the things that are beyond what I could ever have asked or imagined. There are too many to count, when I stop to do it.
Months ago, I read a story by a mother with a child with special needs. It was about what it is like to have a child who is born with a disability. What struck me about it, was how applicable it is to basically anybody. Though most of us do not have the depth of heartache of watching our children suffer like this woman did, I don't know a single person whose lives have turned out like the fairy tales they dreamed they would be.

And that's ok.
Welcome to Holland (Emily Perl Kingsley 1987) 

 it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."
And the pain of that will never, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland."

 It occurred to me this week, that maybe this year is not so much about change in our circumstances. Maybe we're already in the jobs we're supposed to be in.

 Maybe this year is just about growth in our character.
 Because that's what really matters to God.

Not career success, or money in the bank, or that perfectly comfortable white picket fenced family life.

But about seeing the tulips in Holland. The windmills.  And the Rembrandts.

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