The answer? Yes, I can. And yes, I did. Begrudingly? Yes. Hopefully? Also, yes. Without going into all five million, seven hundred thousand, four hundred and thirty six factors I considered before finally registering Adeline for preschool, this was one of the most intentional choices I've ever made in my life. I whole-heartedly considered homeschool (and may still do it in the future), but at this point, in this place, and in this stage of Adeline's life, preschool was the best choice for her. Maybe not for me, but for her.
So, how do you find peace in letting go of your child? Sure, it's not like she's off to college, or even full day kindergarten, but she's still stepping out of the safety of my well-prepared nest. The first step is realizing I'm not in control (gasp!). But you know who is? God. He has placed us in New York during this season of our lives, in this specific town, allowing us the opportunity to send her to this particular school. If you knew the crazy shenanigans that led us to our current house, you'd know it was NOT our plan. Once I found this gem of a preschool, my understanding of God's plan to place us in tiny Mountainville, NY began to make a bit more sense. If He had allowed us to live on post at West Point, we would never have found this phenomenal teacher and her unmatched curriculum. Trust me, I wasn't about to send my kid to just any lady, but this one, she's a godsend.
The next step in finding peace is realizing that my sweet, Jesus-loving daughter now has her own stage to work on as Christ's disciple. And trust me, this little diva was BORN to lead! She doesn't care if you are 2, or 12, 22, or 102 she's going to tell you what to do, where to do it, how to do it, when to do it, and you better do it with enthusiasm. Thankfully, God accompanied her boldness with a heart so pure it often leads me to tears. Just last night she prayed desperately for a homeless man that we brought groceries to four weeks ago. He was still on her heart after all that time. She pleaded with God to give him a house, and I don't know how He'd do any different after that sweetness! Adeline also prays regularly for her best friend back in Tucson, as well as every.single.person. in her extended family. When she hears a siren, Adeline always lifts up the first responders and those they're driving to rescue (on her own accord). She reminds us to pray at dinner if we ever forget, and has begun to talk to God aloud when she's upset, asking Him to help her. She is the first one to offer assistance when someone is in need, whether it's a stranger at the grocery store or her one year old brother. The girl has an uncanny ability to tune in to people's emotions, and to provide exactly what's needed to lift their spirit. And don't even get me started on her gift of Scripture memorization. It's remarkable! Adeline loves her some Jesus and she incorporates Him into all areas of her life; I know preschool won't be any different. I can guarantee you she'll be showing her peers His love and light, speaking His Word, and helping her classmates regularly. So, how can I find joy in releasing her from the safety of my net? Because I trust her to cast her own net, knowing that she is already a natural fisher of men (Matthew 4:19), at the wee age of three.
Lastly, I can find peace in sending Adeline to preschool because her Type A personality needs another individual in authority to guide her, other than her mama. I don't blame her because I was the same way. I battled my parents when learning something new and challenged their knowledge, but put me in a classroom and I thoroughly embraced the learning process, desiring to earn top grades and master the material. Adeline is the exact same way. Every other leader she's been under, from dance instructors to Sunday school teachers say that she is an absolute delight. Whew! We do plenty of fun literacy and math learning at home, but once we reached the point where she is capable of learning to read and write, the Ashley in her came screaming to the surface. She gets intensely frustrated when her letters are not absolutely perfect and tends to give up on the endeavor all together. She's also capable of the beginning stages of reading but shows no signs of interest at home and asks me to stop whenever I attempt to teach her. For her strong-willed, Type-A, princess personality, I believe that a gentle, trained preschool teacher and a classroom of eager peers will allow her to accept imperfection and instill in her the desire to attain these skills.
No matter her age, my child will remain the newborn baby I cradled lovingly and protectively in my arms. I'll always feel that she needs my embrace, comfort, leadership, discipline, and encouragement. But it's time to open my arms and let her be who God designed her to be--a child created in His image, with a servant's heart, and the knowledge of God's will. Go out and cast your net, Addie. I trust you. And I love you.