Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Andrew's Village

We have a really great school in our area. People apply for admission by the hundreds, and the school has to hold an annual lottery to determine fairly who will be able to attend. For three years we have entered Andrew's name into the lottery. For three years, no success. For three years we have prayed fervently, unceasingly, that one day our children would be able to go to this school.

Last spring, Andrew's name was higher on the waiting list than it's ever been, but that didn't mean much (we thought). He still wasn't "in." Another disappointment. Until Friday, when we received a very extremely WILDLY unexpected phone call. School had started over a week ago, but there were some children who didn't show. Were we still interested in having Andrew attend the school?

Um, let me think abou----YES!!!!!!!!

I did not come up for breath all weekend. We had two and a half days to get Andrew ready to start school on Monday. It was tax-free weekend here, and I had purposely planned NOT to go out because it. is. a. zoo. But there I was, with all the other raging crazies lovely, well-mannered people frantically buying school supplies, uniforms, and shoes. I mean, I went to Target. I went to the mall. I went to Walmart. On tax-free weekend. That's how much we wanted this school for Andrew.

In all the excitement and happiness and frantic filling out of endless paperwork, there was one tiny fly in the ointment. Andrew. For some reason, he was not happy to hear that summer's over! a month early! and that he has to go to a new school! and make new friends! and, oh, by the way...he gets to wear church clothes (uniforms) to school every day! including a belt!

There were many, many tears. And my heart broke for him. Really. I understand. I've been in his shoes. We moved a lot when I was young, and I attended six different elementary schools. Ultimately, though, all my stories and empathy could only go so far -- Andrew had to do this himself.

Sort of.

Andrew's little "village" of people who love him and who come alongside us to raise him stepped in in a big way. Our phone has rung non-stop for three days with grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, and neighbors calling to check on him and offer him encouragement. People have come out of the woodwork to help in ways big and small.


Thank you to our small group, who rejoiced with us and prayed for Andrew.

Thank you to our parents, who have called Andrew to encourage him.

Thank you to the aunts and uncles who have offered bribes tangible incentives to Andrew out of the kindness of your hearts and your desire to take away Andrew's sadness.

Thank you to our neighbor, who graciously kept Adam and Libby at 7:30 in the morning so I could take Andrew to school for the first day without the hyena circus in attendance.

Thank you to everyone who has called or e mailed. Forgive us if we haven't called you back. It's been a little nuts.

Of course, Andrew doesn't really understand all this...well, the bribes...he got the bribes. Even so, this is what he looked like his first morning of school:

So sad.

Thank you most of all for praying. I know some of you were praying for his teacher, for his friends, for his fears...I don't know what all everyone prayed for, but here's how Andrew came home at the end of his first day:

It wasn't so bad!

Welcome to second grade, Andrew. You've got a lot of people pulling for you!