For those of you with children going back to school, how long did it take them (or you) to pick out that first day of school outfit?
In the world of digital photos and social media, wearing the right oufit for that first day picture is crucial. For a girl, the amount of time she spends picking out her ensemble in which she will walk down the hall is a complex math formula that could be taught in any pre-cal class:
Final outfit = Age of girl multiplied by infinity divided by the number of hours until designated event.
Because let’s face it girls. Even to this day we spend countless hours picking out our perfect outfit for anything from a Pilates class to a cocktail party.
But I digress.
It seems like yesterday I was going through this ritual with both children. Now my son cared somewhat, but he was able to pick out a favorite shirt and pair it with one of his 8 pairs of khaki shorts. There. Done. Finished.
My daughter? #Notsomuch. Her love of clothes comes second only to her love for Jesus and her family. For years we went through the ritual of going through her closet the day before school and trying on countless pieces of clothing and never-ending combinations until she had the “perfect” look. That ritual continued until college, when her first day of school outfit consisted of her favorite swap t-shirt and a pair of Nike shorts (I know this because she would always send me a first day of school selfie from college. Sweet, right?)
And then yesterday it happened again. Only this time she was picking out her outfit for her first official day of her new job. And yes, she tried on different combinations from the pieces we bought together a few weeks ago to start her work wardrobe. And when she left yesterday morning, all grown up, put together and polished, a flood of first day photos flipped through my mind like someone was shuffling a deck of memory cards through my brain.
I can see the little girl in her glasses and flowered headband, white tennis shoes ready for first grade. I see the 12 year old now with ears pierced and braces wearing a blue jean jacket because it’s always cold in the upper school buildings. I see the high school senior in her yellow and white striped polo shirt posing for her senior page portraits…
I see all the years of a new school, a new grade, a new cheer squad, a new locker, a new monogrammed backpack and yes, a new outfit. And now, as she drives away to start her new job, I see the all the years of encouragement and discipline, prayer and petition floating away with her, as if I have blown on the top of a dandelion full of hope and love into a gentle breeze that surrounds her wherever she goes.
And I both reminded of, and comforted by, these words found in Deuteronomy 31:8 ~
“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
I send her off into the world knowing I didn’t do everything right, but did the best I knew how. I send her off with hours of prayer behind her and hours of prayer to come. I once again put my trust in our heavenly Father, who loves her far more than I ever could and in ways I can’t fathom to guide and protect her in this new chapter in her life.
Today I know the new job is a blessing. I know this day is a gift. And I know the first day outfit was definitely on point.