He missed the bus- I panicked.
For around 45 minutes yesterday- we couldn’t find my 9th grader. Normally- I’d be glad to have him busy and not fighting with his brother for 45 minutes. NOT so much, on the first day in High School. Public High School.
Like, over 6000 students on one campus in three different schools, High School. We’re talking a bus “loop” with 6 columns of buses. We’re talking a school with it’s own “district court” and police officers on duty. (it’s not a bad school- it’s in a great area… but what can I say, the world has changed) Public High school. Big Time.
Somewhere, in that sea of hormone laden teenagers- my shy, quiet- will barely order his own meals at the restaurant- son, was lost. Kind of. Worst part? His cell phone was dead, and at home.
Around 11:10- My 11th grader called home- “Mom, we have an issue. M Missed the bus”
“What do you mean he missed the BUS? WHERE IS YOUR brother????” I remember screeching into the phone.
“I don’t know- he didn’t make it to the bus.” I couldn’t find him. 11th grader replied. ” He might be on the wrong bus. “
My mind clicked to panic mode- That boy will ride the wrong bus forever- as opposed to he’ll tell anyone, that he wasn’t on the right bus. (I thought) 11th Grader was on the bus. I told him I was going to find his brother- and to get home immediately and let me know if he called or showed up. I threw on flip-flops- and a ballcap- put the little guy in the car-seat without shoes, and headed off to find my baby. (14 or not- he’s MY BABY… so is the biggest one- though he rolls his eyes if I say so.)
I prayed. I wasn’t a bit worried about his actually being MISSING. It was the trauma of being afraid, not wanting to mess up on his first day- feeling humiliated as the bus pulled away- and not sure what to do to get home, without having to actually talk to anyone he didn’t already know, that worried me. (That was quite a run-on sentence- but trust me- my brain was on worry run-on;)
After calling DH- who immediately had an put out on “APB” (All Points Bulletin… sorry- too much TV) over the bus radios–(he’s so smart- he called the transportation depot) I drove around the bus loop for a while- then through the school parking lot.
Honestly? I felt like calling out the window. “M? Where are you?” I managed to refrain. Now there’s TRAUMA for you. On your first day of high school- your mother shows up (in sweats- no make-up and flip-flops no less)calling for you all over campus like you’re a lost puppy.
As I headed over to the main school building- I thought “This was a dumb decision. What’s the matter with me? Sending my quiet child to the wolves like this? Am I an idiot? Maybe we totally missed God on this- this isn’t going like I expected. Maybe It’s time to go back to homeschooling.”
Do you ever pray through a decision, seek Godly counsel, come to a firm decision, then- as soon as it hits the fan, totally doubt the decision? That’s exactly what happened to me. Missed the bus on the first day? That must mean I did the wrong thing. Duh.
Something similar happened to the Israelites:
Numbers 11:4-7 (click the reference to read the rest of the story)
“The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”
Manna from heaven…. but the Israelites still thought about turning back. Because they craved cucumbers, leeks, onions and garlic?
Now- Being Italian- and thinking those are a food group that the USDA forgot to add to the Food Pyramid. I found this confusing. “Of course they would miss their garlic and onions… how mean of God!” (ok- didn’t REALLY think that- but it was funny;)
A quick look to cultural reference materials showed me- that, like most slaves through out history the Israelites ate- what the slave owners wouldn’t eat. The Egytians hated: fish, garlic, cucumbers, onions. So the Israelites feasted on them. These were not “choice Italian cuisine”- but waste food. The stuff nobody wanted.
And the Israelites missed it? They craved it? They thought about going back to slavery for it?
As soon as the going got tough, the Israelites thought- “Hey- it wasn’t so bad being a slave- maybe we should head back- I bet we could make it in time for some free dinner!” (Mommaphrased- of course.)
The Israelites were being undoubtedly led by God- (Like a pillar of fire by night and smoke by day… fed from God’s own hand- Manna- then Quail when they whined for meat.) But they thought about going back to slavery.
I have a confession- we used to homeschool- MOSTLY it was to better meet my kids academic needs and learning styles. MOSTLY. But- a little bit of the decision- was motivated by a desire to protect them from the big bad world. Mixed Motives? Yeah. Maybe not for everyone who homeschools- but for me? Yes- a bit.
Which is probably why- when this happened yesterday- I immediately thought- “Yep- time to go back to homeschooling- This would never happen if we homeschooled!” In a way- for that instant- instead of seeing God at work-and allowing God to work- regardless of the circumstances- I wanted to protect and control.
Homeschooling isn’t slavery-(though ocassionally my kids thought it was) but in a way- for me- it was like the safety of eating garbage that the Israelites missed in Egypt. (only in the sense that my motives were somewhat mixed… the schooling part was still wonderful!)
Wanting to protect our kids is a Mom thing.
The power to protect- and work for our good, even in our pain- is a God thing.
Yesterday- we faced a crisis- *M missed the bus. I panicked. He did the right thing- (Went into the school- to call home.) His brother did the right thing- (called me to let me know what was up) I did the right thing. (prayed- drove like a “careful” nut, and didn’t call out the windows like a freak) God worked it all together for good. *M was stretched- I grew in trust.
Later we talked about his first day. He said it sucked. It did. But we also talked about how he made it THROUGH the suck day. With God’s help. We talked about how he found the office- (remember this school is HUGE) talked to the secretary (whom he doesn’t know… thats’ good for him!) and he had managed not to cry. (by the time I was him his eyes were brimming- but then- so were were mine- and we were at the car door. I’m glad I had my sunglasses on, if he saw me cry, I might have pushed him over the edge.
Crying is fine- crying in the parking lot on your first day of High school , is not. You’re mother crying when she picks you up- is even worse.
At the moment- it’s 2:13 p.m school is out in 2 minutes.
I am praying that my guys make it to the bus. But you know what? I trust that if they don’t, God will be there with them- even when I can’t. He alone has the power to protect and save- he alone can make all things work together for good- who am I to try to protect my teens from growing in God?
Dear Lord-as the back-to school stress starts- I pray for moms and kids everywhere- regardless of their ages or specific schooling decisions- that they will seek your will – and that they will stand firm in their decisions- not doubting and running back to their personal “Egypts” just because they are momentarily uncomfortable- I pray that you would work together for their good all things that our kids encounter- that they would grow in you, where-ever you’ve placed them- I love you Lord- amen.