Not a big deal really. So it doesn't matter that raindrops the size of Buddha's round little tummy came rushing at our broken umbrellas like they had fallen from Mars or maybe even somewhere further than that. Just like it didn't matter last year when we arrived at the top of the hill, somewhat bewildered at how lonely it was, only to realize I had gotten the bus time wrong.
It's just the first day, and people say it should feel like the first untying of apron strings and your heart should beat faster and you should memorialize it with scrapbook pages or journal notes, or special breakfasts, or like we did, with just a few extra moments before toast on the couch. But it's just the first day and I don't do them that well, no bells or whistles or tears or beating hearts, except somewhere inside a little clock tocks and a little lens clicks and I notice that I gather things up more than I give credit for.
Not a big deal really, the too-small backpack and the hole in the sock, and the packed lunch for tomorrow that is less than I hoped it would be, they slide off my back like that Buddha all wet and slick and taking a ride in the rain down the slope of my burdenless back. No, it's somewhere else, somewhere deeper that the guilt and the weight sits, that place where I think about them leaving so young and how I can't homeschool, and how even saying that is a way of making myself feel better since if I did I would probably beat my fists against it.
It's not the empty scrapbook that sits heavy, but the weight of knowing I'm not doing them right, not giving what I should or saying what I could, not knowing what to do or knowing what to do but getting mad irritated instead. It's the burden of a parent who has the heart of a child in her hands, but can't mold it past a certain point because there is a molding that I have no control over. It's the weight of the forces that work outside my human hands, the weight of little hearts that will grow to be big hearts and need spiritual schooling and an intervention I can't plan or control or make happen.
It's just the first day, but it's every day that's the important one really and it's every day that I have to let the strings lie loose . Because the words said it this morning, though months away from the cards they often grace with their gilded lettering, "For unto you is born this day, a Savior who is Christ the Lord. And he will be for all people..." These curly heads and thinning limbs, they need heart changing, they need what I need, a washing with a heavy, pelting rain that makes them clean, so clean. It's a work I can't do. So I just make lunches and whisper simple words, and ask that it gets swallowed up and used for a deeper work, by bigger hands, and a voice much louder and softer and wiser than mine.
And let that rain come hard. Lift up those little hands, straight up to where it all comes from, high in the heavens above, and let them be washed clean, cleaner than even a hard scrubbing mama could ever make them.