The other day my husband caught me making eyes with the diner sitting at the table next to us. She was just the right age to make me giggle. She was just the right age to maybe become mine. "I can't wait for my babies," I said. My husband laughed with me.
Not my baby-babies, you see. My kindergarten ones. The ones who will walk into my classroom and spend 180 days with me. The ones who will teach me with wild abandon as I teach them. The ones who will enter into my care. The ones who have already entered into my heart.
I think about them a lot. I'm waking up in the middle of the night, piecing together how I want to teach this or that. I am buying books and imagining their faces when the pig tricks the wolf and gets a good massage. I am thinking through PE and music and art. I don't want to waste a moment.
I have butterflies for them. The real kind - well, I hope - that we will watch hatch. And the kind that stay in my stomach, flitting with anticipation.
I'm dreaming big. I'm dreaming of the doctors, the leaders, the scientists, the teachers, they will become.
Sure. Students with a Classical Christian Education are performing well on all those college entrance exams. I hope they do. I hope they do their best from the first day of kindergarten. But, I'm more concerned with WHO they grow up to be as opposed to WHAT they grow up to be.
I want them to learn well, think deeply, create joyfully, and love boldly. I want them to be able to make hard choices and stand up for what is right. I want them to love truth and to be able to decipher it and to communicate it. I want them to be generous with their lives. I want them to love God and enjoy who He is. I want that to overflow into every aspect of their lives.
Sure, they can go that route of having what the world says is a successful job and I'd be happy for them. But I'd be tickled to have one wash my hair in the nursing home, if she does it with kind hands and a kind voice. I want her to tell me something interesting she is still learning. I want her to describe the tree in her back yard with such poetry I feel like I'm there. I want her to hum Mozart to me and tell me about taking her daughter to the aquarium. I want her to tell me about the book she is reading and how it is challenging her vocabulary. I want her to tell me what God is teacher her and how she is loving studying Nehemiah. And I want her to look me in the eyes and remember that I'm still human, even if my brain can't create the words.
That little girl at the next table is not going to stay a little girl. She is going to grow up and I'm going to grow old. So, on the first day of kindergarten, when my littles are walking in, I'll be thinking of my last days. I'll be thinking of how these children have a lifetime of love to give to everyone who is blessed to spend a moment or two walking with them.
And I'll be thankful for the 180 that are my turn.