Why I Have No Regrets
My eldest son graduates from Gramercy Christian School in a week. Fresh from California and in a little bit of culture shock, Owen started GCS as a fourth grader, under the watchful eye of Mrs. Suzanne Israel. I will never forget his first day of school. I somehow missed the memo that the first day at Gramercy is always a half-day of school, and so I received the fateful call from the front office and began the mad scramble of loading two little ones in the car and rushing up the road to pick up the two kids I had failed to retrieve on time. Mrs. Israel met me at the car. She was worried Owen was behind in math, and I instantly broke down. In the sweetest, most southern way possible, Mrs. Israel comforted and encouraged this blubbering mother of four, suffering from the stress of a cross-country move and the burden of shouldering the academic and emotional needs of four children whose lives had changed yet again.
Yesterday in the mail my graduating senior, who not only capably managed that transition from California, but has thrived academically, socially, and spiritually at Gramercy, received a letter from Suzanne Israel. She is no longer a teacher at Gramercy and has, in fact, been retired a number of years now. My son stood in the kitchen and read that letter with a tentative smile and a few tears, remembering his first year at GCS with the kind of bittersweet nostalgia that accompanies a young man’s senior year in high school. He said, and I quote, “I am deeply touched by this letter.”
Here’s the truth. I have spent some dollars putting my kids through private Christian school. I have negotiated some difficult years trying to determine if the payoff is worth the cost. At times, I have had to let some things go and focus on a bigger goal, but this is why I have no regrets. There is a reason I chose to surround my children with teachers, mentors, and coaches who will not only invest in their academic and athletic growth, but also in their emotional and spiritual lives. Mrs. Israel wrote these words to Owen, and he took them to heart: “I cannot begin to tell you in a few words what it means to fully rely on God, but I can tell you that God deeply desires that kind of relationship with you…. I’m remembering you with much love, and praying that your life will be a life that fully relies on God.”
As a mother still burdened by shouldering the academic and emotional needs of four children whose lives are changing, and will continue to change, I’m not sure what better gift I could have given my son than to surround him with people like Suzanne Israel.