Well, the day has finally come and gone. Our first born has graduated and will soon be heading out into the real world….of Kindergarten! Yes, little Ella is a big time preschool graduate. She even received an award: the “Dove award” for being the class peacemaker. We were certainly pleased with this (if not just a bit surprised). Clearly she doesn’t bring these peacemaking skills to the kitchen each morning when we gather around the table arguing over who gets the orange bowl, the yellow cup, or the blue straw during breakfast. But we are proud nonetheless, and hope that one day our little peacemaker will make peace with her little brother! Speaking of Elam, he was enthralled with the graduation. You can see him here enjoying his favorite part….the cupcake during the reception.
Graduation was just the kickoff for our busy weekend. On Saturday we sat for several hours at the Civic Center to watch Ella’s dance recital. Actually her Dad and grandparents watched. I had signed up to be the back stage mom so there was no sitting and watching for me. (There’s an entire story just in that one sentence, but it will have to wait for another day.) This year, Ella was a little “Belle” performing a ballet dance to “If Only“, and a tap number to “Be Our Guest“. The tap routine included a beautiful silver tray with plastic cocktail glasses and bowls glued to the top. Each child held their tray high up in the air as they danced across the stage. Over the last few weeks I’ve seen many a cocktail glass go flying and recital day was no different! It seems that no type or amount of glue can keep these pieces adhered to the top of the tray while being skipped around the room by a group of five year olds!
We’ve other big news. Ella has lost her first tooth! Now, suffice it to say I was never meant to be a dentist. I still have dreadful memories of trips to the dentist as a child because my teeth just did not want to come out on their own no matter how much I wiggled. So here I was watching Ella use her tongue to move her tooth back and forth, back and forth, and cringing each time. I tried to convince her to let her Daddy or her Ma (my mom) pull it, but only I would do.
During the process of wiggling, I had explained to Ella that the tooth must come out to make room for her permanent teeth. She began to cry and tearfully choked out, “Mama, I don’t want to lose my baby teeth; they’ve been with me since I was two!” No amount of tooth fairy promises could curtail the tears. She was graduating, finishing dance, and now her baby tooth was coming out. From this five year old’s perspective, this was a season of change, and she was feeling the emotion of it all. Small things for sure; but in her eyes, these were monumental.
As I watched her struggle with this idea of letting go of the old and embracing the new, it struck me that even as children, change can be hard. And if I’m honest, sometimes as an adult, I don’t handle it much better. I often want to hold on to things, even while knowing it’s time to let them go. I worry over what will be. No matter our age, we can be blinded to the beauty of what’s to come, by the worry of what’s no more. Just like Ella’s tooth, there are times that the new blessing can’t fully unfold until we release something that is binding us to the past. What is it that binds you?
Ella doesn’t fully realize all of the wonderful things on the horizon. Sometimes we don’t either. She has to graduate preschool in order to go to Kindergarten. She has to lose her baby teeth in order to grow up and get her permanent ones. It hurts. Change stretches us and shapes us. But I think that it’s in this time of stretching, in this season of change, that God can do His best work. It’s when we are a little uncomfortable, or even hurting, that He often has our rapt attention. When our attention is on Him our faith can be transformed, and our calling can be more clearly heard. God is a God of redemption. He is a God of creation. He is doing something new. Let’s not miss out on the new, because we are clutching so tightly to the old.
This little one’s tooth is out….and she’s ready for whatever comes next!