For many moms, sending a child to boarding school is probably a bit like giving them up for adoption. You are entrusting another to care for that child who you birthed, who you love, who holds your heart. For let’s be honest, the minute we give birth there is a crack in our fine-oiled armor – A crack that is all soft, sweet-smelling baby. The crack widens when boarding school is a part of the picture.
And often there is criticism from others when boarding school becomes a part of the lives of children. Sometimes the criticism is founded, other times it perhaps needs to be rethought and the words “God didn’t intend it this way” or “Your kids will never really heal” needs to be said cautiously, if at all.
For there are those of us who went to boarding school and knew even as young children that it was okay. We knew beyond doubt that our parents loved us. Knew that we were given to them as a gift on loan. Our parents understood that they were never the primary authors of our story – for that authorship belongs to God alone. But they wrote on our lives and allowed others to as well – our boarding parents.
Some of those boarding parents wrote well – words of wisdom, laughter, joy, and discipline. Others weren’t sure what to write – and that’s okay. They are and were human. Others wrote poorly – and that was difficult.
Today I honor my mom and two of those boarding moms – Deb & Eunice.
Eunice spoke into my life when I was a little girl. I was seven years old when I met her. Eunice was pretty and had the voice of an angel. She could be heard singing in the halls of our dormitory. I would pretend I was homesick just so I could have Auntie Eunice to myself. Auntie Eunice wrote music and joy into my elementary world. She mothered so many of us so well, yet always gave us up without a grudge when our real moms came to reclaim us.
But we were still always her kids.
Deb spoke into my life when I was a teenager. When boys and belief became more complicated and I was learning to work out my faith with fear and trembling. Deb’s small studio apartment had room for our cooking, our laughter, and even our tears – sometimes falling so fast it was hard to keep up. Deb loved us when we were unloveable and kept in touch with us when we faced the daunting task of returning to our passport countries. Deb was less housemother and more friend.
Deb and Eunice taught me to love well, without holding too tight. They taught me about sacrifice and perseverance. They taught me about laughter and the long journey. As I grew they became my friends – friends I could pray with, cry with, and laugh with until the wee morning hours.
And my mom allowed them to do that. She gave me to God and prayed for those who could walk beside me when she wasn’t there.
And He granted her request.
So to Deb, Eunice and Mom – Happy Mother’s Day and thank you! You loved well and taught so many of us to do the same.
Happy Mother’s Day. Thank you for loving well
- “I Remember” Communicating Across Boundaries