“I don’t want to go, Mom,” cried Abby. Please, just let me sleep.”
“Abby, you have to get up. School starts today. It’s a brand new school year. Isn’t that
exciting?” Eleanor asked, trying to rouse her.
“Oh, Mom, please!” Abby rolled over and pulled the covers tightly over her head, willing
the world to go away.
“You have to go, Abby, now get up and get ready.”
Abby threw back the covers and swung her feet over the side of the bed. “I don’t have
anything decent to wear,” she grumbled.
“Honey, why don’t you wear your new lavender outfit? It looks so nice with your blond
hair,” Eleanor soothed, as she walked to Abby’s closet.
“It’s too itchy!” Abby crossed her arms to match her face, bent on staying home.
“Well, here’s your green skirt, how about this?” Eleanor questioned, as she held it up
for Abby’s inspection.
“No, that skirt is too long.” Pouting and grasping for more excuses, Abby declared,
“Besides, none of the kids will like me!”
Eleanor sighed, “You don’t know that. They might just learn to love you.”
“Well it’s raining outside, I’ll get all wet!” she whined, as she pointed out the window at
the cloudy but dry heavens.
“You can take my umbrella. The pretty one with the pinwheel stripes,” suggested her
mother. Turning to leave the room, she added, “Now, when you get ready, come on
downstairs for breakfast. I’ve got bacon, oatmeal, and toast all prepared for you.”
With her mom gone, Abby forced her feet to the floor and trudged to the closet. She
picked a pair of faded jeans and a sky blue pullover. She put her socks and dirty tennis
shoes on and ran a brush through her long blond hair. “Hmm,” she thought, “ponytail or
barrettes? First day... I’ll tie it back in a ponytail, keep it out of the way.”
Abby bounded down the stairs and flopped down at the kitchen nook. She inhaled the
oatmeal, stopping occasionally to nibble at the toast. “Mom, I’m scared.”
“Honey,” Eleanor began, “this is just one more brand new start. They come with
regularity throughout your life. A person is born, they start their life. Then they start to
crawl, walk, eat solid food, talk, go to kindergarten. Each start opens new doors, new
Eleanor picked up Abby’s dirty dishes and placed them in the sink. She turned on the
water and added the dish detergent. “Abby, remember how the Israelites had to make
a brand new start when they left Egypt? What an adventure they had, first in the
desert, then the promised land! Abraham too. God called him from his ancestral home
to go to an unknown land. He started off without even knowing where he was going.
But what blessings he found waiting for him! Then there’s Ruth, Mary and Joseph,
the disciples, why... the Bible is full of people who had to make fresh starts!” Eleanor
finished washing the small amount of dishes and dried her hands.
“Now, Abby, it’s your turn. A new start, a new school year. Just think of all the exciting
opportunities waiting for you.” Eleanor grinned at her daughter, “now you’d better go or
you’ll be late.”
Abby surrendered, got up, walked to her mom and gave her a hug. “Thank you, Mom,
for breakfast... and everything.” She grabbed her sweater off the peg on the back
porch and stepped out the screen door. She walked the three blocks to school and
pulled open one of the double doors. She turned to the left, butterflies in her tummy,
and walked to where she knew she would find her classroom.
The classroom was already filled with kids, talking, laughing, and scrambling for desks
amidst the first day’s jostling to determine the pecking order.
Abby slowly walked in, sliding one foot... dragging the other... dread filling each
half-hearted step. With eyes darting about, she prayed, “Oh Lord, I know you required
fresh starts from many in the Bible and you were always there with them as they
stepped out in faith. Please be with me today. Help the kids to like me and help me to
do well. Thank You.”
She walked to her desk, turned to the children and said, “Good morning, class! I’m so
glad each of you are here to start fifth grade. My name is Ms. Abby Preston, and I will
be your teacher this year.”
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