One week ago, both Owen and Annie started American Kindergarten. (Because we’re only here for five months, we decided in consulting with the school that it makes the most sense for Annie (4) to go into the other Kindergarten class where she’s learning letters and writing) Of course, they’ve both already been in Japanese preschool/kindergarten, but nevertheless it’s steps forward; steps growing up.
I have been thinking this week about all the little steps that lead our children on their journey toward adulthood. Sending your kids off to kindergarten certainly shouldn’t direct one’s thoughts to “wow! they’re going to be adults soon.”… but I would be a very rich lady if I had a dime for every friend who has told me to enjoy these days because they fly by so fast.
What has really driven my thoughts has been the sending off of our good friend Katie Susan. Her middle name reflects that I’ve been a part of her life since before she was born. She was a junior bridesmaid in our wedding. We’ve prayed over Katie as she has taken all those important steps… starting school; struggling when everyone else in her class got to see the Titanic but her parents didn’t let her; her first prom; the HUGE decision about where to go to college; and now leaving home to study abroad. She’s all grown up! We have been privileged in that part of her teen journey which included two visits to Japan in which she spent time with our family and helped in our ministry. We’ve watched her grow up – and the days have truly gone by so fast.
Last Friday night we gathered with her family to eat her favorite pizza and Chinese food and to pray for her as she prepared to go to Turkey for a semester of college study. Turkey of all places! With her parents, I have felt anxiety particularly in realizing that we can’t even begin to picture a typical day in Istanbul. But on Friday, and every day since, we have entrusted her to God, assured that He indeed goes with her and goes before her.
One thing that she needed to find was a scarf to be able to wrap her head at times. We helped by giving her one, and had a blast as she tried wrapping it the first time. Hopefully practice makes perfect… Last week she also served as tour guide as Eric and Owen and our friend Yasko went on a day trip of New York.
Hodding Carter said, “There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One is roots; the other, wings.” So right now, we are trying in the midst of many upheavals and changes to give our children roots; at the same time, we are cheering for Katie as her parents, and her community, give her wings. You fly, girl. Owen, Annie, and Olivia: we are only here for five months, but let’s go as deep as we can.