The Most Important Job…

img_0483This kid.  Some days he frustrates the heck out of us.  He picks on his sister, only wants to play computer and can grumble about just about anything.  On these particular days, I wonder if anything I am doing as a mom is working.  And if his future job might end up being a grumbly garbage man.  But then there are the good days.   Days like today, where I can catch a glimpse of the extraordinary being inside that grumbly, developing body and it causes my heart to swell!

Last week was the first week in our new school and Cole’s 4th new school as a military kid.  It can be scary and nerve-wracking the first few days as the new kid in school and we all brace ourselves for impact with each move for what the first week could bring.  Luckily, for the most part we’ve weathered each move (CA, VA, NJ, and now back to a different city in VA) without too much trouble.  But as a mom, I tend to stress on their behalf each time.  I’m sure most moms, and especially military ones, can relate.imagejpeg_0

To make us all feel better, the kids and I attended the school’s “meet the teacher” day.  One of the hot topics there was what “job” each 5th grader was assigned.  As the oldest members of the elementary school, the 5th graders get the privilege of helping out in many different capacities (which sometimes even results in missing some math).  Since Cole was new, and didn’t get a job assigned to him at the end of 4th grade like the others, he would need to pick a job, so I thought it’d be good for him to hear about the options.  The other kids informed Cole that there was everything from technology team, to art assistant, to grounds helper, to PE assistant to crossing guard.  Some required you to show up to school early (insert Cole groan) and others did not.  But I quickly inferred from these 5th graders that your “job” was a BIG deal!  We left running through the pros and cons of each potential job and headed home to enjoy a long weekend before the first day.

After many nervous questions and a few pre-school jittery feelings, the first day seemed to go pretty smoothly.  I dropped the kids at school, and although I know both were nervous, they handled it like champs.  Me, though–I was absolutely lost with the quiet at home.  I had plenty of work piled up, but for some reason I was completely scattered all day thinking about all the things that could have been happening at school.  Are they making friends?  Do they have someone to sit with at lunch?  Is their teacher nice?  Are they making sure they don’t feel left out?  What would I do if a bully picked on one of them?  Etc, etc.  It was the normal ridiculous line of thought that happens in a Mom’s head when you get too much quiet time- lol!

Yet, all the worrying was for not, when I was met with smiles outside the school after the bell.  They did great!  The only complaint was that they needed bigger snacks!!  In fact, now that the first week has come and gone, it seems like they’ve been here forever.  Both are full-speed into their soccer teams, music lessons and morning routines.  Each have picked out kids they enjoy in their class and also the ones they don’t. And on Thursday, Cole came home elated to tell me he had picked his job!  I was eager to see which one he picked, guessing he would have gone with something in his normal wheelhouse, like the technology team (more time to be on computers). imagejpeg_3

To my surprise, he was jumping-out-of-his-skin-excited to tell me he chose to be a helper for the special needs class.  He would get the pleasure of aiding 4 younger boys with autism who would use his helping hand to assist throughout their day.  He was just beaming as he explained how on the first day they did yoga together, how one of the boys loved when Cole spelled his name instead of said it, and how they even had their own quiet fire alarm, so that it wouldn’t “hurt their ears so much.”  I was literally almost in tears listening to my kiddo truly loving recounting his experience and how he found such comfort in helping these kids.

And what I realized in that blissful moment is that no matter where we live, no matter what school we’re in, or who is there with us, if we love and pour into our kids, they will find their way.  Probably in their own way, and not in the same way we would do it.  But they will find their own, beautiful, and unique path every time.  And on days like this one, we’ll get a tiny little sneak peak into what their blessed future holds.

So as I reflect on a week filled with lots of emotions, I encourage every military mom to take a deep breath and know that all your toils and tribulations are creating something wonderful.  It doesn’t always feel like it when you’re in the middle of it, but the challenging days will come to pass.  They always do.  Just remember that what you’re doing matters.  Every new school you ease them into, every new friendship you help them develop and every hurdle you help them overcome matters.

Each experience is building a strong foundation of service and character that even if you can’t see today, will reveal itself in time.  At the end of the day, our journey as military families may look a little different than the civilian kids down the street.  It most certainly has a few more zig-zags and a lot more speed bumps, but it’s still just as beautiful.  And if my prayers are answered, these amazing little humans will be ready to inherit the world’s most important jobs of the next generation!imagejpeg_2

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