The first day of school. James' first day of Kindergarten.
There were going to be smiling faces around the breakfast table, nibbling sweet rolls studded with apples and dripping with honey. I envisioned milk-mustaches above those smiles. There was going to be a flannel board calendar where the children could record the day's date an weather.
I imagined things. Pretty things. Quiet moments of learning. The sparkle of expectation. Sweet off-key singing.
And then life stepped in.
Health issues necessitated a crash elimination diet, so gone were the milk mustaches. The milk, too. Along with several dozen other foods, all of them favorites. What's left at the moment is not particularly heartening. But, hey! It's supposed to make us healthy.
But we're not. In fact, every single one of us is sick. We caught the cold on the camping trip. And that flannel board? I was supposed to buy the canvas frame to finish it on Monday when we got home from camping, but we were all too beat by the cold. And the laundry. And the stress of health issues and having to overhaul everything we eat and drink.
Needless to say, it wasn't perfect.
There was plenty of screaming from the toddler, who is still suffering from her as-yet-unidentified food sensitivity. The baby had his fair share to add, as well.
There were diapers and sore throats and a lot of snotty tissues. There was noise, and there were thrown Legos and stickers on the living room windows.
There were tears.
But there was also learning. And life. And love.
There was grace.
Maybe we didn't feel it over-flowing. But it was there. Just enough to get the laundry done and children fed and a booked afternoon appointment to see the doctor when we thought they'd be full. Enough to hold it together and use kind words and gentle voices when all I wanted to do was scream. Enough to finish our assignments and then collapse on the couch with some books and, yes, a movie at day's end.
Pretty much nothing went as planned. But maybe that's not the point. Or rather, maybe it is. Because if I'm honest, what I need to learn this year is not the making-it-happen but the letting-it-go.
There was grace for today. And there will be grace for tomorrow and the next day and the next.
And somewhere, sometime along the way, I trust there will be magic.