Friday, August 28, 2015

A Back-to-School Story

With all of the recent back-to-school posts on social media recently, I was reminded of this experience last year that I never recorded. It motivated me to write the experience down and make sure it isn't forgotten.

In our family, it is quite traditional for my husband Mike to give "priesthood blessings" the night before a new school year.

Last year, for whatever reason, instead of assuming each child wanted a blessing, Mike asked the children to tell him if they wanted one, and he would happily oblige. Four out of five of the children asked for one. One child, my oldest son, Luke did not. {Here I want to  to say, that though I do put faith into Priesthood blessings, I have always been a firm believer that the sincere prayers of mothers are heard in the same light.} However, with Luke starting a brand new school-junior high no less-I was somewhat disappointed at Luke's lack of desire for any heavenly help.

Sending my first-born to junior high 4 years ago was very difficult for me. Likely due in part to my own difficult experiences with junior high after moving to one from another country! Sending my second child to one last year felt just as hard as it had been with my first. Actually though, it felt worse. Typically confident and fearless Luke acted more nervous than Megan ever had. I think exasperated by the fact that at the 7th grade orientation day just a few days previously, Luke could not figure out how to open his locker.

We practiced and we practiced and we practiced. I was determined to not leave the orientation until Luke had it mastered, but it was clear that either a faulty locker, or Luke's inability to master the lock was causing frustration and embarrassment. Instead, I suggested we take a deep breath,  leave the school and maintain high hopes that on the following Monday morning it would work for him.

Back to the Sunday night before school.

My mother heart could tell Luke was heading to bed nervous, yet neither my husband or I felt it appropriate to force any issue of a priesthood blessing thinking it may calm him. One of the last things Luke said to me before he fell asleep that night was, "Maybe I'll just take WD40 to school with me. That will help with the locker."

The next morning, I'm not sure who was more nervous for junior high. Luke or me! One of the first things out of Luke's mouth upon waking up and facing the daunting reality of his first day of junior high was, "I've figured it out. I know what I'll do, I am taking a screwdriver to school with me. That WILL open the locker."

My tough, can-do-nearly-anything-12-year-old son was nervous for junior high. He wouldn't admit it. He didn't admit it. But I knew. My mother heart knew he was nervous, and I knew the deepest root of his nervousness was that darn locker. Luke built a scooter when he was 5, he could change a flat tire on his bike at age 6, he built a make-shift shed when he was 10 and has likely outdone his peers on building or creating numerous projects.

But my then 12 year old, couldn't independently open his locker at 7th grade orientation.

Luke allowed me to walk him to the bus-stop his first morning of junior high. We didn't say much to each other besides me defending my decision that he couldn't take WD40 or a screwdriver to school. One of the last things I said to him, as a sort of consolation for none of his desired tools was, "Luke-I'll be praying for you."

And I did.
I prayed all day.
If I wasn't on my knees praying, I was praying in my heart. If I wasn't praying in my heart, I was praying aloud while going about my chores. My prayers centered around one thing.
Luke and his ability to open his locker.

Luke returned home later that day and of course one of my first questions to him was, "How did the locker go?" He looked at me, as though he didn't have any recollection of it ever being an issue and simply said, "It opened every single time."

With tears streaming down my face, I placed Luke's face in my hands and looked him in the eyes and quietly asked him a question, I didn't need him to answer.

"Luke. Who needs WD40 or a screwdriver, when you have a mother who prays?"

There are a variety of explanations one can offer for Luke's first day of junior high, but there is only one that matters.

I have no doubt that there are few things more powerful than the sincere prayers of a mother. I am grateful that Luke and I learned firsthand that day, that a mother's prayer can transcend an earthly trouble.


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