It was Friday the 13th and I woke up feeling emotional. It’d been a restless night and before I could get a cup of coffee I was in tears. In a few hours I’d be sitting in Chase’s last IEP meeting which suddenly felt like a nightmare to me. After 15 years of hating these meetings you’d think I’d be ecstatic to be so close to done, but instead I couldn’t hold it together.
I didn’t know what to make of it so after asking some friends to pray for me I ditched my morning dose of Christian music and put dance tunes on. Scared by the booming bass Buddy hid in the closet—the same one where all week long I’d been finding pennies on the floor.
This is as unusual as me dancing in the morning. I make a big effort to empty my pockets daily so that pennies I find outside the house are never mingled with my cash. The first day I didn’t think much of it but after three days I began to wonder why I was so off my game.
Friday I didn’t have time to ponder it anymore so I ignored them. The bigger question was what shoes should I wear? My favorites the penny loafers (no pun intended) or the ballet flats I’d just bought? Was it warm enough for either?
Hmmm maybe I should change pants and put some boots on? It was chilly. What about a pair of heels? Yes, it’s a meeting that calls for professional clothing I decided. I put them on but then felt like a glamazon—much taller than I wanted to be.
So, back I went to the loafers which now felt boxy and all wrong. With this I reached for a pair of booties that would look sharp but they felt too hip for the meeting. Somebody would certainly think I was trying to dress younger than my age—God forbid.
The shoe frenzy continued until my phone chimed telling me it was time to leave. Frazzled, I grabbed the pumps and ran to my car.
The meeting went fine. I didn’t tower over anyone and when Chase’s very tall teacher walked me out of I was able to make eye contact so the shoes suddenly felt right. Then I found a quarter by my car and had a good laugh thinking I’d probably tried on 25 pairs.
When I got home I decided to head to my closet to clean up the shoe debris. Walking upstairs my phone chimed telling me I had a text message. It was one of my girlfriends asking how the meeting went.
“Fine,” I said. “Much better than expected—I don’t know why I woke up feeling so weepy.”
“I’m sure it’s just because there’s so much change ahead for Chase,” she said. It’s got to be a little overwhelming. I’d feel the same way too.”
Looking into the shoe heap in front of me it finally clicked. That’s what this was all about. I wasn’t worried I didn’t have the right shoes for the meeting I was worried I didn’t have the right shoes for what lies ahead.
Chase is leaving what I call the bubble—the circle that surrounds him at high school. It’s small, manageable, and easily influenced which makes it feel safe. His next circle will be bigger and one where there are so many variables I know I won’t be able to wrap my arms around it. I’m there now with his brother and it’s scary. My feelings aren’t unfounded—bigger circles require wider shoes.
“You’re right,” I answered. “It’s the change that’s overwhelming me.”
“I know but remember God will help you surf the wave,” she said. A reference to the daily prayer I offer God where I ask Him to help me navigate whatever wave He might bring—strange language for someone that lives in Colorado but not someone who grew up at the beach like I did.
As we exchanged messages I noticed that tucked amongst the pennies in my closet was a row of flip flops—one for every occasion. Teri was right. There’s not a wave God won’t help Chase and I figure out. His circle is going to grow but no matter how big it gets God will be out in front of both of us.
After cleaning up my closet I grabbed my phone and sent my friend this reply,
“Thanks for reminding me I’m a surfer. I forgot that this morning.”
“You’re welcome,” she said with a wave emoticon attached.
I haven’t found another penny in my closet since then but I’ve found a lot of quarters around town. A reminder that God is always bigger than whatever circle we find ourselves in.