Another school year. Done. A monumental year with my youngest in kindergarten- joining two of her brothers. 

Next year I will have two in Middle School. And two in Elementary school. 

But these are just details…because what is most important is what happened this year that isn’t a test result, or a standard but what happened that really counts. 

She…loves school. She loves everything about the routine- the back pack, the structure. She loves being able to tell me every single detail after school. Her face beams with light as she tells me about all the new things she has learned, all the funny things that happened. She cries when she tells me about mean things people say. Her teachers tell me that other girls like to tell her what to do, that they won’t let her play with others. They encourage her to play with new friends, but she doesn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. She loves her friends, even when they make her cry. We tell her the same thing at home. We role play how to speak. By the end of the year, it’s better, but we continue to work on it. She makes new friends. Her teachers know how much she loves school. She sings all day, and is known for her joy. But reading still hasn’t  clicked. I work with her everyday and I begin to worry- will she struggle like I did? The teachers say just stick with it, it will click. I start to wonder if I’m doing something wrong. Well meaning people that annoy me say that I probably didn’t work with her as much because she’s the youngest, but that’s not true. I look at her, her bright beautiful amazing face, and I worry that I have failed her. I have given her my struggles and passed them on. I don’t want her to dislike school- I want her face to shine like it does right now- believing that no matter what She is Worthy. I want everyone to know how special she is- how she is unlike any person I’ve ever met…she just needs more time for everything else to catch up with her world. It will click. We’ll just keep working. 

He…the little one with the curly hair- learned to speak up this year. To use his voice. His extreme shyness has been something that has just been a part of him, but this year he began to broaden his circle of trust and became friends with new people. He shared a dance with his class. He actually let himself be the center of attention. He was the first to volunteer to recite his Abraham Lincoln in front of the other classes. This is Huge. And on the baseball field…his face would light up as he encouraged the people on his team. People would laugh as they heard Micah come alive. We see that at home, but he let others see his radiant face and personality. It’s electric. 

He…spent his final year in elementary school realizing a lot about himself. One that doesn’t do well with transition, became accustomed to it. He made new friends, he stayed faithful to the old ones. But over the year he continued to inspire by being the natural leader he is. But that age is a tough one- his self confidence wavered from time to time- and it was hard to watch. We’ve had a lot of tears, and a lot of nights up praying together. He stood up for people, and sometimes he stood apart. I think he’s the kind of person who will change the world. I think he’s ready for middle school…but I’m not ready. Not yet. 

And the teenager…his year was an adventure. It was a school year that came at the cusp as his mind, body, and spirit is changing rapidly. School was hard, and he felt discouraged a lot of the time. He isn’t one to speak up and ask for help and that ended up being a huge thing. It was the first year he wasn’t on the honor roll. At the end of the school year, he won a work ethic award- he called it “I’m crap at taking tests, but I sure worked hard” award. He lost friends, and he saw the ugly side of people. And also became closer to his good friends.  He felt emotions he’d never felt before–jealousy, heartache, and some blues. There were days where he just wanted to be with us, and days where he was worlds away. Where he just wanted distance. But we stayed right there. He would play music late at night, and come and talk to us and the flood gates would open. We would talk, really talk. I saw an articulate beautiful young man emerging, the most loyal person I know. But growing up is hard. Period. 


Life cannot be judged by a standard or a letter grade. Because things are not always so cut and dry.  And if we base all our expectations on that, we are not giving our kids a chance to shine where it counts. This year my kids had great teachers(for the most part) who considered who they were every single day…who saw them. Who saw them changing and saw them grow. But also who were willing to see the ways they struggled and not place them in a category of pass or fail. 

I am thankful for the teachers…

Who told my daughter she couldn’t bring accessories that dangled, but that her fanciness was always welcomed.  Who believed in her everyday.

Who encouraged my son with a quiet constant assertiveness that he can be brave and that his voice matters to a classroom. Who believed in him everyday. 

Who let my son be himself. Who let him bring popcicles to the incoming fifth graders to encourage them to be the role models for the school. Who believed in him every day. 

Who met my son after school and helped him when he missed a week of school from the stomach flu. Who let him TA when he hurt himself and couldn’t do PE and allowed him to play music. Who listened to my concerns, his worries, and helped us see that a letter grade does not determine the value of a person. Who believed in him everyday.

And I learned a lot. And even writing this was hard. Because I have spent many years being afraid that people will think less of me as a parent if my kids aren’t incredibly successful. But this year, my heart changed as well. I want to raise good people, who live faithful faith led lives. Success has changed in my eyes. And I can’t worry that the struggles I had will pass on over to my kids- they will have their own struggles. And I will be there- helping when they need me- comforting when they let me- and never ever giving up on them. I will always believe in them…they are what’s important. 

Not an award. Not an accolade- but knowing that their value is who they are as a whole person. And in Christ. 

I see my children every single day, and every single day they amaze me. 

They are the best accomplishment we ever did. They are so much better than I ever imagined. 

The best lessons I’ve ever learned, are those whose laughter I’ve heard, tears I’ve wiped, and hearts I’ve loved every single day of their lives.