I’ve never read Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus but I’ve heard enough about the book to know men and women come at things from different perspectives, have different needs, and feel things much differently than one another. Still, being in a situation where I’m content and my wife is feeling a sense of loss is not the easiest thing to experience. In the days leading up to Jack’s first day of kindergarten, emotions ran high. The mere thought of walking him to class for the first time brought tears to Jennifer’s eyes. This was her baby boy whom she’d spent so much time with from birth until now. What would she do without her constant companion? Would he be safe and sound at school, away from her watchful eye?
Preparing for the Inevitable
You would think we’d prepared for this day over the past three years. Jack had attended preschool, first for two days a week, then three days, and finally five days a week for 3 hrs a day last year. The preparation was good for the little guy but Momma still wasn’t quite ready to let go yet. Not like Jennifer hadn’t prepared for her new reality. She’d enrolled at the local community college and recommitted to daily dates with the elliptical trainer but filling the time while Jack was in school only solved half the problem. Fellas, it’s not easy for a stay-at-home mom to hand over the reins for seven hours a day, just like that. A could write a week’s worth of blogs about it and still never come close to capturing her actual feelings. I’ve been going to work every day since he was born. I’ve spent more time away from him than with him. (At least while we’re both awake.) My routine didn’t change except for an earlier bedtime. (His, not mine.) What was changing for me? An earlier bedtime? Awesome! More time to spend with Jennifer and to write. It would have been very easy for me to blow this whole thing off, look at her like she’s a crazy woman and demand she get over it that very instant. Luckily, I knew better. For at least a small percentage of the time I had been paying attention. My faith and my quest for personal growth helped me to better understand and appreciate the differences between Jennifer and me. Her sensitivity is adorable, it makes her that much more human. She offers me a blueprint for my tender side, which seldom comes out into public view.
A Test of Grace for All
In those times when I wanted to shake my head and dismiss her feelings, I knew I couldn’t. This was as real as anything she’s ever experienced and, without a doubt, the most important event we’ve experienced as parents, aside from his adoption. Jennifer was not the only one being tested. While her ability to trust others and allow Jack to grow as he should was being put to the test, my ability to accept her feelings, support her and love her through them was also being tried. August 17th, 2012 came and we made that walk to the classroom. Jack was a trooper. He didn’t shoo us away at the front door like some kids do because they want to do it themselves. He did gave us a funny moment, though, as he sat at his desk and put his hand on his forehead as if to say, “Enough already!” Jennifer let a few tears escape after we left but I was so proud of the way she handled it. I think she finally realized it wasn’t an end but just another beginning. As for me, I just did the best I could to support her by staying present in those wonderful moments. The Holy Spirit was there in the classroom and the entire school that day. He lifted us up and helped us be who we needed to be that day. A family taking in one of the greatest moments any family will experience. I thank God for bringing all of us the wisdom, the courage and the grace to embrace and enjoy that wonderful day.