When Your Babies Go to Kindergarten

If you had told me five years ago that the twins starting school was going to come upon me before I knew it, I would have laughed at you. I was in the thick of twin infants and had no category for a world where they wouldn’t be with me all day (and all night at that stage in the game). “The days are long, but the years are short,” they say. To a new mom that sounds like empty platitudes, designed to make her count her blessings. To a mom about to send her first kids to kindergarten, it sounds like the truest words ever spoken.

The twins start kindergarten today. We ‘ve bought the supplies, the new shoes, the lunch boxes, and met the teacher. They are so ready. I am too, in one sense. I know it’s the best choice for our family at this stage in our lives. We love the school. We love the new adventure our family will take this year. There is much to be excited about.

But I can’t shake this nagging angst. 

Because the years are short, I’ve spent the better part of this past week recounting all those years (and weeks, months, and days) in my head. The library trips, the stories read, the play dates, the lunch conversations, the moments of sin and repentance (from them and from me), the tears and the laughter, and all the many things that filled our lives these last five years. And I’m asking myself: Was it enough?

The conclusion I’ve come to is that it probably wasn’t enough. I know that sounds like a mopey thing to say when your kids are enjoying their first day of school, but hear me out.

This is not a plea for sympathy or even another “worst mom ever” post. It’s just the truth. I am one person and I have four kids between the ages of one and five. The math never adds up in my favor. I will never be enoughfor them. But as I wrestle through my sadness and pensiveness about this coming school year, I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact that I think my finiteness is the point. 

Daniel often reminds me that my kids don’t need a perfect mom—they need a faithful one. If I try to give them a perfect mom, I will fail them every time. But if I am faithful with the life, body, resources, and energy I have been given, then I am giving them God’s best for them. I am their mom and God hasn’t made a mistake. 

It’s also more than that, I think. While I am never able to give them perfection, there is One who is perfect. Every limitation my body, mind, or circumstances puts before me is an opportunity for that need to be met by the God who has no limitations and is faithful to meet our needs every single time. My imperfections as a mom are reminder that God is God and he can be trusted even when mommy comes up short again. Mommy might not be enough, but God always is.

These are the truths I’m preaching to myself as I send my firstborns off to school today. When the nagging angst about whether I’ve been enough for them these last five years comes back to bother me, I will remember what I know about God. God is enough. God has sustained them. God has prepared them. He was enough in our home and he will be enough in the classroom. He is always with them, even when I can’t be. This is good news for them and for me. 

I’ve said before, that motherhood feels like one long goodbye.From the time they take their first breath, you are on the clock, preparing them for the day they leave the home for good. With each milestone, they gain greater independence, propelling them forward to the day they are completely independent of you and your authority. Today is another such milestone, and while it hurts, it also makes me so proud and excited for them.

Happy school day, twinsies. These last five years have given me more joy than I ever knew possible. I can’t wait to see how God grows you in this next adventure we are on together. 

(And I’ll try not to hover around the playground during recess.)