05 May It’s Our Time
by Sonnie Shay, Advancement Team Coordinator
I’m in a bit of a reflection mode as our oldest is about to graduate from The Covenant School. Our sixth grader has walked these sweet halls over the past eight years, starting in PreK, and I’m in a bit of disbelief that we’re here. I’ve had so many people tell me about this, this time slipping through our fingers phenomenon. Moms and dads ahead of me in this parenting journey who have nonchalantly mentioned, “it’ll be here before you know it.” They were right this time and I assume it’ll feel much the same for each adolescent milestone ahead. Deep breaths!
I’ll never forget sitting at a volunteer luncheon at school, possibly at the end of our second year at Covenant. Our oldest would be about to finish Kindergarten, our middle daughter was a three and a half year old, and our youngest was nearing six months old. I was a ragged mama at this point. I hadn’t figured out oh-so-many things and the days were LONG. Motherhood was still foreign to me, like putting on a disguise each morning and peeling it off after the littles were in bed. I didn’t know how to contribute to a class party or put together a cute teacher gift. I felt like other moms, other families, had it all together. As I sat moving food around on my plate, feeling like an imposter, the head of school began to speak and I’ll never forget what she said. “This is your time, moms. This is your time to be present with your children. You are welcomed in this space, not only by the school, but by your children. They want you here. Once they move on from here the school experience won’t be the same. It’ll be time for them to start becoming increasingly independent and your presence won’t be as welcomed. But right now, it’s your time!”
Her words did not come across as inconsiderate or condescending. I felt what she was saying. It wasn’t just something to say when you don’t know what to say. She knew from experience and I heard her. These elementary years are the times memories are formed AND remembered. I wasn’t being asked to do everything or anything perfect. I was being extended the invitation to be present. Come with your store bought goods, come with your homemade book character day costumes, come with your leggings and messy hair, come with your ironed suit and matching heels. Come.
And believe me, I know we cannot do it all and sometimes we can’t physically be present. There is no guilt in that. And there aren’t brownie points for saying yes to every opportunity to volunteer, either. We all have a place where our strengths and limits are needed and valued. This is true community and I believe The Covenant School fosters community in a real way.
I may look a tad bit more together these days than I did at the beginning of our elementary journey. I have learned and grown alongside our sweet boy who will be launching into a new season (God bless the first borns!). And I am so grateful for the charge, those many years ago, to be present no matter what present looked like. Because right now, as we have three weeks left before our son graduates, I know I have invested in his foundation, not because of anything great I did, but because I simply showed up on my good days and bad days and I will never regret it.”