Wednesday, August 28, 2013

School + A Letter

 On Monday, Famous began first grade.  
His first year in school in America after having only attended school (in Ghana) for a total of 8 months in his 7 1/2 years of life. To say I was a little anxious was an understatement.  
But, he rocked it.
He is staying for only 2 1/2 hours each day right now, and the plan is to slowly increase the time as he is ready, both academically and emotionally.  He loved it, and his teacher continues to sing his praises.  The Lord provided an amazing teacher for him that Chris and I have known for many years, whose son was in our wedding and is moving to Ghana in a few short months to work for Mercy Project.  If I question the Lord's faithfulness, I need to look no further.
Famous came home with a smile on his face and has been eager to go back to school each morning.

Micah began pre-school on Tuesday at a local episcopal church.
She was definitely more ready than her momma, armed with the most precious butterfly backpack and sweetest smile you ever did see.
She had a great day and was only a little sad that her painting had not dried enough to bring home.
Micah is our social kid who thrives around people.  I always say that being with friends and family is her happy place, and she just comes alive.
I think preschool may just suit her.

Thinking about sending these two off to school was and is a bit overwhelming for Chris and me.  We have so many hopes and dreams and prayers for them.  It is hard to let them go and even harder to not be able to guide their every step, letting them forge their own paths.
Chris wrote a letter for them from us the night before their first day of school.  With his permission, I am posting it here.  He shared our hearts for our children in a most amazing way.

My precious Micah and Famous,

I can’t believe you’re going to school. It seems like just a few short months ago that we were hushing you to sleep and putting tiny bows on your head or visiting you in your village and playing soccer with you in the open fields of Ghana. And now, just like that, you’re going to school for the first time. I don’t remember my first day of school specifically. But I do remember the first year well. My kindergarten teacher, my school, my classroom. If I close my eyes, and focus, I can still remember which side of the hallway it was on and how the room was laid out. I remember reading “Spot” books for the first time. I remember our Kindergarten circus (I was the lion tamer…ha!). And I remember my best friend John. So many good memories. So many chances to be light and hope and goodness in a hurting world. So many times I didn’t take advantage of those or even created the hurt instead of the healing. I want to talk to you about that as you start school.

For the first time, you’re going to be making lots of decisions and choices that won’t be overheard by mommy and daddy. Your teacher will surely hear some of them but not all. Much of what you say and do, the faces you make, and the way you treat your neighbor, won’t be seen by anyone but your peers. I want you to remember that good is good, and right is right regardless of whether anyone is watching you. Being kind and loving is always right and good. I wish I could tell you that others will always treat you like you treat them, but I cannot tell you that because it is not always true. You can be as good and kind as possible, and there will still be people who don’t treat you well. It’s okay. Good is still good, and right is still right. This doesn’t mean I want you to be a punching bag or a pushover. I know you too well to think that you will be either of those, but it does mean I don’t want your first instinct to be hitting back or dominating those weaker than you. I want you to remember “hands are for loving” even when we’re not there to mouth it to you on the playground.

Even at a young age, you’re going to see and meet other kids who are different than you. Some of them will be different from almost everyone else in your class, maybe even your whole school. Some kids will make fun of these kids. They will tease them for being short, or tall, or white, or black, or purple, or whatever. They will tease them for being different. When that happens, stand up for these kids. Be their friend. Hold their hand. Look at the teasers in the eye and say, “This is my friend, and I don’t think you should speak to them like that.” It’s going to be hard for you to do this. But it’s good. And it’s right. And it honors that child and God. And those teasers, like me, are going to grow up and wish they had as much as courage as you. Believe that.

School is going to give you a thousand chances a day to do good and right. To your classmates, the lunch ladies, your P.E. teacher, the custodian, the principal, and to your teacher. Even though most of the people I listed are grown-ups, they want and need to be loved just like you do. To really be seen. To be heard. You can do this. At a young age, you can look in their eyes when they talk and smile to show them that you care. Take the extra 5 seconds on the way to recess to do this. You’ll never know how much it means to them. Please pay special attention to the janitors and lunch ladies. They work so, so hard and often go days without anyone telling them “thank you.” Tell them every day, with a smile, and maybe even a hug. I promise it will change both of you forever.

You know those words we have you say every night before you go to bed? “I’m beautiful, God made me, and I’m going to change the world.” Those are true. It’s time to let those words become more than a nighttime ritual. To let them fill you up and spill over into every moment of each one of your days. To live in such a way that those words become a truth that brings an overwhelming light and hope into the world around you.

Love deeply. Love unreasonably. Forgive. Trust. Do your best. And when you get home and it’s been a terrible day, we will be here to kiss your cheeks and tell you how amazing you really are. And we will get up again tomorrow and do it all over again. A beautiful, terrible mess. All of us. Just doing what we can to make the world a better place. We’re so proud of you and can’t wait to watch you change the world at school like you already have in our lives.

Daddy and Mommy
p.s. Wash your hands after you go to the bathroom, please. And don’t pick your nose

Saturday, August 24, 2013


 My dear Beckett,

You turned two just one week ago, and each day it seems that you are becoming more of a little boy.  I know this is cliche, but I truly feel like I was walking into the hospital to deliver you just a few months ago not two whole years ago.  Time has gone crazy fast, but I could not be more thankful to have already had two years knowing you.  You are an incredible little person, and the Lord is already working His glory in and through you.  The truth is that even as you melt into a little boy right before my eyes, I am so thankful for the creation and gift of enjoying each day with you and seeing who you are becoming.

Your sweetness and gentleness are so evident, and I pray that you will always have a gentle soul--that your strength will not come at the cost of your compassion.  Your dimples still get me every time I see them, and I cannot tell you how many times a day your daddy and I look at each other and say, "he is too cute."  The way you smile, tilt your head, say different words and phrases, and imitate your brother and sister are just some of the things that contribute to your cuteness.  You adore Famous and Micah, and the feeling is mutual.  Really, we all just adore you and your sweet kisses that you dole out every night to each family member, over and over, before you go to bed.

A lot has happened in your little world in the past month, and every night I pray for your little heart in this time of transition.  You have handled it all like a champ and are still such a joy. Your bring a richness and peace into this family that could never be overstated.  You have a calming way about you that centers me even after tough, long days.  You and I, my sweet boy, are so alike, and I sometimes find myself comforted just by your presence because I "get" you.  I am deeply thankful for the bond that we share.  Your life has changed me in ways that I never predicted or knew that I needed.  I could not be more thankful that God gave us you two years ago.  Happy Birthday, Beckett Lucas!

I love you, to the moon and back!
Your Mommy