Like a Weaned Child

I’m a few paces behind my lanky 8 yr old as the office lady leads him around the unfamiliar school. His thin shoulders are hunched forward and he’s not making eye contact. Each time she speaks to him, he nods his head with an only-slightly-perceptible movement.

His face is brave though - so brave. I don’t understand how he is not crying. I am.

Visions of the beautiful, familiar elementary school we said goodbye to just last week are haunting me. I want that back for him. I want it all back. I want to have not had to say goodbye to such a place as was our home that I loved. I don’t want to be standing in this loud, hot hallway right now, outside a second grade classroom I’ve never seen before and discretely wiping tears into my cheeks.

How will he remember where to go tomorrow morning on his own? Will anyone sit with him at lunch? What will recess be like? ...Why are we making him do this?

My throat keeps tightening into sadness in the coming days as I try to push through the newness of so many life changes I wasn’t looking for. And when the tears do come for my brave 8 year old who misses his old friends, his old teacher, his old everything, I can’t choke back from joining in with him. "I just watch the kids play. I don’t know how to play with them. I want to go home," he tells me.

So do I. Even though we chose to make this move to be with family, I feel a bit lost and lonely amidst them right now. Oh, I know it will get better. But with 7 moves already under my belt since marriage, I am ill-prepared for how awesomely difficult #8 is proving to be. There wasn’t supposed to be a #8. And I really, really liked #7.

By week two, my son has gained the confidence to join in the games at his new school, to say, “Hey, can you teach me how to play that?” He doesn’t fight going to school in the morning, (well, not any more than he normally would anyway.) He goes several days in between pulling out his goodbye letters from his old friends and hungrily re-reading them. He seems happy again.

For such incompetent, dependent beings, children can be remarkably resilient, can’t they?

There’s a Bible passage that says:  Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; Like a weaned child rests against his mother, My soul is like a weaned child within me. (Psalm 131:2)

Sometimes is takes a lot of courage to say, “Hey, can you teach me how to play?” And nearly always, it's a challenge to have the reason to see that joy can be chosen, independent of circumstances. 

As for me, I'm still fighting the weaning process; I'm pretty much screaming inside, "Give me back my milk! I want my old joy back." I'm apparently trailing behind that lanky 8 year old of mine in more ways than one. I am working on putting my banging fists down and resting against what I have given up; I know it is only then my hands will be free to embrace what I have now.

So every day I try again at managing without that which I had become excessively fond of, (the definition of wean.) I reach for the composure to quiet my soul. I try to let go of #7 and draw into the goodness of #8.

It will be good here. I will live with joy through this, as I have fought to through the challenges that came before it. So can you... through your struggle.

May God help us draw upon our child-like spirits of resilience.
May we have peace even without the sweet milk of our desires.

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