By Melissa Hart
It was kindergarten round-up time. I had talked to friends, gathered information, listened to radio broadcasts and prayed fervently about the big decision ahead. Should my first born five-year-old son go to pre-k or regular kindergarten? He was a young five. He was the first one out of the pack. He did not attend preschool. Was he ready? Would he fail? Was I ready? Would I fail my son if I stuck him in kindergarten if he wasn’t ready? I was a mess.
We went to kindergarten round-up and they administered his vaccines for school. He complained that his leg hurt where they gave him the shot, but I assured him he would get over it. The next step was to test his large motor skills. When the teacher was through, he said with a concerned look on his face, “Mrs. Hart, I’m not sure your son is ready for kindergarten, he had some difficulty with the large motor activities I asked him to perform. Has he had any trouble in the past?”
He was my first child entering school and I walked away with four children in tow, feeling like a complete failure. What had I done to my child? What had I not done for my child that he failed a large motor skills test? What was I going to do with this 5-year-old who couldn’t skip? What kind of a mother doesn’t teach her child how to skip?
I came home and told my husband about my utter failure as a mom and that our son was going to struggle his entire life. My wise husband reminded me that the boy had been given a shot in the leg and maybe it was just too sore to do all the
activities. He also reassured me that he would be fine in pre-k. Of course, he was right and today I can proudly say that the Air Force veteran has mastered skipping.
For months, I allowed that incident to define my mothering abilities. I fretted over it, I prayed about it, I asked others to pray about it. Trying to decide if my child was ready for pre-k or kindergarten was one of the biggest decisions in my life….at the time. But does that season in my life define me? Does the fact that my child couldn’t skip that day define my mothering success or failure? Does an entire decade of changing diapers and washing sippy cups define me? That time in my life consumed 10 years and yet that long season does not define my life.
What is consuming you during this season? What difficult decision are you trying to make? What failure are you trying to hide? What list of poor choices are playing and re-playing in your mind trying to convince you that your life is one failure after another?
Whatever difficult season you are dealing with, it does NOT define you. It’s probably nothing more than a story that will be told. You may even look back and laugh like I do when I think of my 5-year-old quandary.
Always remember, no matter what the failure or disappointment is, it will not define you and you hold the power to make the change and move forward.