The New School
A few text messages later our family walked into our new school. A painful excitement filled my heart. As much as I wanted to follow God’s plans for our family a return to the classroom after years away terrified me. I enjoyed the rhythm and flexibility of our life and that was coming to a screeching halt. Our self-employed life came to a screeching halt and bowed to working set hours. It felt as freeing as it did restricting.
Fake it ‘till You Make It
I’m not a “team sports player” but along the way life taught me the importance of putting on a game face. Largely, we become what we believe and our feelings follow our attitude. As a young child I learned the power of a smile and over the years people and circumstances reinforced my naturally optimistic demeanor and the power of a smile. It’s a double-edge sword capable of bringing cheer or masking the deepest pain.
People are good at finding hiding places and I knew mine. It was comfortable because it puts people at ease and brings a positive tone to most situations. Typically I’m an open book and my face betrays my heart by revealing every nook and cranny. However, in this land of uncertainties I hid behind my smile the way a toddler hides behind a mama’s legs. Ornery, silly, gruff, quiet, everyone finds a comfortable spot to hide (even you) but we cannot hide forever.
Though I felt I could cry at any moment, my family and smile found the principal in his office. Smiles and kindness are powerful and as we made introductions his genuine welcome and enthusiasm towards my family and position at the school calmed my nerves.
Lit by summer’s afternoon sun we stood in the front hall. The men shook hands and in true North Idaho fashion their conversation turned from our move and Steve’s plans for work to hunting and the outdoors. When the conversation turned to fishing in Alaska I could tell my husband felt at home.
Few things in life melt anxiety like sincere warmth towards one’s children. My principal’s six-feet-and-some knelt to meet my daughter’s average five-year-old height and welcomed her. “I have a daughter your age you need to meet!” and something in me knew those words weren’t empty. Without skipping a beat he gave an equally heartfelt welcome to my son.
Grief & Wonder
The past cannot be suppressed or ignored and in this moment grief and wonder met in my heart. Solid, let alone godly men, are rare and it is making it impossible for a boy (of any age) to have too many in his life. When my dad died our son lost one of the best influences. With our move he lost incredible uncles and family friends that set a standard of godliness and excellence. He’s a social and easily influenced boy and I wondered if God would put more examples in his life and if this would be one of them.
Without realizing it introductions became an unforeseen anchor moment. This would be our school, these would be the halls walked daily and this would be my boss. Everything felt strangely safe, an odd feeling after considering the whirlwind life of the past two months.
I’ve Got to Leave
My husband reminded me a long drive back to California, an ill mom and real estate transactions that needed him to head back to California. That moment of introductions provided a breath, a brief reprieve from the constantly shifting tables of our life. The crutch of a smile and optimism became real but anxiety returned when I remembered the first days in our new state at a new job required me to be a single mom.