Move Over, Aim
May is the month that we celebrate our "Barbie-versary;" May is the month that our family of four became a a Fab Fam of Five. May is the month that God gently taps me on the shoulder and says, "Move over, Aim. I'm driving this bus."
Barbie's story is well-documented on my blog because I can't help but attempt to put all these feelings into words. It's what I do. My words are the jars, and these beautiful moments are the fireflies of my life; writing is my way to capture, examine, and keep them on the shelves of my mind. (If you don't know our story, you can read about our first year here and our second year here.) I've never wanted it to seem that this is a perfect situation. It's not. It's messy; it's complicated; it's not easy. I've written these anniversary posts as a way to give glory to God because He orchestrates it all. Even the hard parts.
While working at Camp Cho-Yeh on the leadership team last summer, Barbie informed us that she did not want to return to SFA in the fall. She needed a break, and she wasn't even sure she wanted to finish school. She was offered a year-long paid internship with Camp Cho-Yeh, and she wanted to take it. Needless to say, I went into FULL. FREAK. OUT. MODE. Barbie was used to Supportive Aim telling her, "Sounds like a good plan, Barb. Great idea, Barb!" But not this time. She got Freak Out Aim. She got Parent Aim.
Because our phone conversations were limited to 10 minute increments because of Barb's camp life, Jason and I made the trip to Livingston to meet Barbie. This called for face-to-face. This called for a sit-down talk. I guess we were staging a type of "intervention." After much talking, crying, and praying, we came to the compromise that Barbie would accept the internship and take a few online classes at SFA with the mindset to return to school the following fall.
Honestly, I was not a fan of this plan. In my mind I kept envisioning Freshman Barbie sitting across from me in my classroom at Poteet High School telling me that her life-long dream was to graduate from college. How could I let her give up on that dream? But as we drove away from that Weekend of Compromise, something shifted in our relationship with Barbie. Jason and I became more than her "support system;" we became her parents. I learned that weekend that "Mom" and "Dad" are nouns; they are names; "Parent" is a verb; it's the action. It's where the hard work is done.
And the hardest part of that work is letting go and letting God guide the path of your kid. Like God has done countless times in the last three years, He put His hands on our hearts and whispered, "I've got her. I've got this. I always have. And I always will."
So we sat back and watched the year unfold. We watched God do His Amazing God Thing. And we watched Barbie blossom.
This internship was the best thing that could have ever happened to our dear Barb. Her confidence grew; her faith flourished; and Barbie realized that SFA was not the place for her, so she applied to Texas A&M University and was accepted.
Last week I met Barbie in College Station so that we could have a meeting with financial aid and start setting the wheels in motion for her to begin the fall semester. When we walked onto campus together, the magnitude of the moment washed over me. Barbie's first visit to A&M was the summer before her Senior year; I took her because she had never been on a college campus (Of course, I was trying to plant that Aggie seed in her, and it apparently took root. WHOOP.) I was still "Mrs. Bailey" to her, and we had no idea what God had in store for us.
After visiting numerous college campuses over the past year to recruit counselors to work for Camp, Barbie fell in love with Aggieland all over again and took a huge leap of faith in applying. And here we were...almost four years later. Not as teacher and student but as so much more. As Aim and Barb.
After a walk through the Evans Library so that I could check out the furniture and layout for our remodeling project at MHS (Barb was a bit embarrassed by my oooing and ahhing over the comfy chairs, which is the job of a parent---to embarrass your kid) and feasting on wings at Wings n More, we settled into a table at Sweet Eugene's, the hipster coffee house of Aggieland. Countless students sat huddled over their laptops, fueled on caffeine and anxiety, for finals were upon them. I just wanted to rub their backs and say, "You think this is stressful? These are the good times. Just wait until you become a parent." But I refrained. I had embarrassed Barb enough for one day.
So we sat at Sweet Eugene's for two hours with coffee, conversation, and a slice of Italian cream cake to pass the time. We talked about Jesus and life and about this past year. I told Barbie how wrong I was about her deviation from "the plan," which was really my plan. I was so wrong.
And that's what God has taught me this year: It's not about MY plan for Barbie's life but about HIS plan. There are different paths that can lead to the same destination. As long as God is driving the bus, it's the right road to take.