accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
My daughter is amazing. And, although I’m biased, yes, she is truly amazing. During the course of these past four years, enduring much change, Maycee and I have journeyed through many unknowns. There have only been a few staples in our life where we live now: our church, my job, and Maycee’s wonderful school. She attends a Christian academy where she began preschool after we moved to the area. I decided to keep her there for kindergarten because I felt it was safe, the people had grown to know us, and most of all, Maycee loves being there. The school is in one city, while Maycee and I now live in another. It is a half-hour commute one-way, upon then which I have to turn around and go the smackdabopposite direction to head to work, another half-hour commute. Total drive time for one day is about 100 miles. With today’s gas prices, well, you can do the math.
Maycee flourished in kindergarten. She was pretty much the top student of her class, the top reader, received Principal’s Award and the beloved Christian Character Award at the end of the year for exemplifying the Fruit of the Spirit. Testing scores revealed that she was reading at around a 4th-grade level, and she was only six. Let me tell you, I was not the type of mom to push early reading, either. I’ve always read Maycee a bedtime story at night and spoken to her with a more grown-up vocabulary, but learning to read this quickly was primarily due to one-on-one reading tutoring within the classroom. She also was taught basic computer skills, music, and was starting multiplication. In between the academics, the school put on two large musical productions with the kids, and Maycee was also given the gift of having a chapel service every Friday where the students from kindergarten to sixth grade worship together as a school. It was a quite a year.
By the end of the following summer, after struggling to make it through full-time daycare for two and a half months, I knew that the bank was eventually going to break. Her father and I would face tough decisions regarding this private school placement. We received help from my dear ol’ dad, but we also had to come up with quite a chunk ourselves for the balance. My ex has had trouble landing full-time employment for a few years, and my income is low. It was a sacrifice, but we pulled it together and managed to place her for first grade. This year was just as stunning as the last with accomplishments continuing at lightning speed. Maycee even landed a lead part in the Christmas musical production. My once super stage-frightened child who would stand frozen, not move a limb, and stare into the great unknown during each and every pain-staking song, was acting in front of a HUGE family audience, donning a microphone! Now, it’s almost June, and the end of the school year is days away.
With another summer of full-time, out-of-sight daycare costs looming, car issues, house issues, and my ex still struggling to get decent work, it is currently music-facing time. “Oh, Darlin’ Darlin’, Stand by me. Oh, Stand by me…” Here is the beauty: the Serenity Prayer. First, I asked God to give me serenity. It’s been a tumultuous month with a break-up and getting my house back in order from repairs. However, God, please, give me the serenity. To what? To accept the things I cannot change. We live in a different town than her school. We need to embrace our existing community and continue to build relationships. Her dad and I cannot afford to pay for private schooling without selling the shirts off our backs. Now, God, give me what? Courage. Courage to change the things I can.
I can research the schools here in town (and I have). I can place Maycee in a good public school with free full-time childcare that is only a few miles from home. I can reinforce to Maycee that her dad and I love her ad-infinitum, God loves her, He is with us, and that while it won’t be exactly the same in the new school, she will make friends quickly because of who she is, she will still have a ton of fun, and even though she’ll miss memorizing her Bible verses and going to chapel, we can find other ways to get those extra “God” shots when we need them. Better yet is that her little neighborhood buddy attends the same school and can show her the ropes-sotospeak.
Wisdom. And, God, please give me wisdom. Wisdom to know the difference. I cannot change anybody. I cannot change anything that exists outside of my own self, life, or my daughter’s. But, as for her school situation, I can change that to make our lives more doable. My biggest fear has been how Maycee would take it. Maycee is an amazing daughter. Yes, I am biased, but she truly is an amazing daughter. She screamed, stomped her feet, said she wanted to die instead of going to a different school, she sobbed, she hyper-ventilated, she held her head in her hands as if it was going to come off her shoulders. I hugged her. I love her, and I stayed calm while she let it all go. She was letting it all flow out of her, processing the news that had been in the clouds above us for months and months with slight mentions every now and again. Then, with puffy eyes, red, swollen with tears, she stopped. She breathed. We rocked in silence in my chair. And then, my amazing daughter began to ask me questions about “Her New School”, and by dinner time she was smiling, laughing, and telling me how she went a “little overboard” getting so upset. She’s seven. Let me say it one more time: amazing.
Thank you, God, for granting me the serenity.
Have a blessed night everyone.