A handful of realizations, some new and some just reminders, changed how the world looked on this cloudy day.
This morning I listened as a third-grade teacher made Audrey feel incredibly special in a one-on-one call, scheduled on her own time just to encourage Audrey in her reading and acknowledge her hard work and progress. Distance learning is hard, and it’s especially hard for children that don’t love school. I could hear Audrey’s smile as they talked – about guinea pig names and video updates in flip grid and synonyms – and it brought tears to my eyes and just made my heart want to burst with happiness and gratitude.
I also remembered, and it really solidified in my brain as I listened to them, that I’m not an educator. Ms. J is an educator, and I’m an emergency substitute. I’m not failing; I wasn’t designed to be an educator and I have no experience at being an educator. It takes a village of caring people of all different strengths and gifts to raise a child, and I’m just one part of that village. I am not the whole village, I cannot be the whole village, and I should not be the whole village.
In my last meeting of the day one of my colleagues expressed this gratitude and even more dots connected for me: working from home is such a blessing because my children have a whole different Momma. This is true in so many ways. Of course I have time to cook more, but we also have time for daily walks or bike rides together. We work in the yard. We watch shows together. My girls are seeing a me that is less relaxed in a couple of ways, but ridiculously more relaxed overall. I can’t help but think of all my female colleagues who have children, especially little girls. Those children are all seeing for the first time how hard their moms work all day before they do all the Mom-stuff at night. What an opportunity we have in this unique time to show our children and talk to our children about realistic expectations they should have of us, and realistic expectations and boundaries they should have for their grown-up selves and their future partners.
Which brings me to this gem: As parents, our job is to walk the talk, not just walk what’s convenient. We can’t expect our children to set realistic expectations of themselves and others if we don’t teach them how to do it and show them how we do it. We can’t expect our children to work hard if the example they see in us is laziness. We can’t expect them to know what’s right if we can’t do what’s right. We can’t expect them to do what’s right if we can’t do what’s right.
I have a tendency to want to manage or fix things all by myself and then turn to God when I’m all out of information or tries or patience. I have a tendency to think I can juggle all the village responsibilities and then turn to God when I’m exhausted. I have a tendency to expect people to do the right thing because it’s the right thing, and then I turn to God when I’m exasperated and disappointed in people in whom I never should have had any faith. I pray, but I don’t always pray first. When I pray isn’t when God enters the scene – it’s when I’ve finally decided to stop and pay attention and remember He’s on the scene. It’s when I realize His presence that always was and is. That presence that is the game-changer and the peace-bringer and the cloud-clearer.
It’s dark now, but only because it’s late not because it’s cloudy. The clouds cleared several hours ago, when I took a moment to show up.
P.S. Krispy Kreme now delivers. To your doorstep. In under an hour. Proving that God really does listen to all of our prayers, no matter how ridiculous they may be.