Remember when I did history week (peek back here) and you saw me with my dad on my first day of school?
Well, guess what else was so awesome about him? He also took us to first day of school ice cream when the day was over!
You might think I live for adventure, but deep down inside I’m a traditionalist. I still insist on opening stockings first on Christmas, serving dinner on my grandma’s china and most importantly, I’m still a big believer in first day of school ice cream.
Truth be told, I kind of thought by this point in life I would have a husband and my own children. And our little family would go to first day of school ice cream. We’d giggle like I used to with my daddy as we talked about things like new teachers, new friends and a very bright future.
I never thought first day of school ice cream would look like this:
I roll up in my nearby Hispanic neighborhood, fitting right in as a single woman, but sticking out because I’m driving (only the men drive) and of course, the blond hair. Excited faces- both kids and moms are waiting on the curb for me. The neighborhood has come out for my arrival. They are my family, after all. I get introduced to a new baby and fumble through my Spanish. We all do a lot of smiling.
There are more kids than can fit in my car (seriously considering how awesome those minivans are now) and I have to turn the two little guys away. It’s a fact that I have to live with in the neighborhood. They all want in. There’s only one of me.
We pile into the car, and the little girl I mentor turns to me and says, “do you know what my mom always seys when you say the time to be back?” And I’m thinking her mom always tells her something like, “I know you’ll be back after that. April always brings you home 15 minutes late.” (Because it’s really hard to stop kids from having fun- I do have a problem with that). But I was wrong. Her mom tells the kids in really fast spanish that I must not be able to understand:
“You go. Spend all the time you can with her.”
I knew the kids loved me. I LOVE them. But it became more obvious to me how important this all is when I heard their mom’s words. And when our topic at first day of school ice cream was not about a bright future. These 6-10 year olds were very concerned for someone close to them involved in drunk driving, court dates, jail time, and now deportation. They needed someone to talk through all of that with them.
I cry for them. I plead to God for them. I’m broken. I didn’t grow up in a world where I learned how to talk about all of this at first day of school ice cream. This is so messy, so extreme, so sleepless. I’m navigating a world I never planned for. A life I’ll never be able to step out of.
And I’m confident it’s absolutely the only one God wanted me to enter into.
I’m so grateful.