Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Elena's REAL Promotion

After Grammy died last week Tim thought through several options about getting out to her funeral; drive, fly, carpool with his Dad, drive with some of our girls, etc. Finally, he decided to drive and take Elena, Camille, and Leanne. This was devastating news to Elena.The funeral was scheduled for 1 p.m. on Wednesday in Texas, the day after her 8th grade Promotion on Tuesday night. I tried to talk Tim into letting her stay home from the funeral and just take Camille and Leanne. No go.I was actually surprised how much Elena's Promotion meant to her. Camille was happy to skip it. As we were discussing the situation I asked her why she was so upset to be missing it, all the while validating that it was an important event. Elena is not one to get overly emotional about much, and she is hard to draw out. She's difficult to read usually, but here she was crying and very upset. So, she replies, as can be expected, "I don't know. I just really want to go."
"I agree that it's important, but where are all your emotions coming from?"
After several minutes of questioning her and trying to draw her out, she said that since September she had been looking forward to the event. She had worked really hard in school all year long and was looking forward to that validation. It was also a big deal to her because she was being promoted to high school - not just any grade.
She had worked hard and did very well in her challenging science class. I realized how important the night was going to be, but I also realized that Tim would not cheerfully let her stay back,. He had a hard time spelling it out for her, only saying "Well, I really want you to go." I had to say to Elena "Your Dad is not going to budge. You need to go to the funeral."
Boy, when it was final and set in stone, the tears rolled - mine and hers. I felt so bad for her. She rarely asks for much and is generally easygoing and helps so much around the house with chores and childcare. The one thing she really wanted was taken from her. Oh, I was sad for her. Her blubbering sobs in her bed that night broke my heart. I tried to comfort her and express my sadness that she was going to miss out. I tried to encourage her that honoring her dad's wishes pleased God and that God would bless her. Still, it broke my heart to see her so sad.
The next day a friend suggested we fly her out to the funeral after Promotion Night. I asked Tim about this, and he was leary of going beyond $300 for a one-way ticket to Dallas. Elena and I (mostly Elena) looked for hours and made several phone calls to see about a reasonably priced flight. One flight was the perfect time and price -$287-but they were going to tack on an extra $100 for a companion to travel with her because she was under 15. Elena continued looking and tyring to find something better, but nothing showed up, despite our prayers. So, Elena came to the conclusion that $387 was too much to pay for a one-way ticket to Dallas. She gave up her search and accepted her fate: she was car-bound for Texas - and no Promotion. I was relieved at how quickly she had a good attitude about it. When Tim, Elena, Camille and Leanne left early Sunday morning she seemed happy about the trip. I was glad for her. Tim also added in a trip to Carlsbad Caverns and a trip to the Grand Canyon. Because Elena wants to study earth science in college I thought these would be great trips for her. I am diligently praying that God would reward her in many and surprising ways.
I'm so amazed at my precious daughter. I realized that her real promotion was one of character growth and faith in God, rather than standing on a stage and being "promoted" to high school. That will happen regardless of public recognition and a formal ceremony. But, the opportunity to honor her Dad, trust God, and embrace second best in her mind with a good attitude is a far more important event. I'm so proud of her. She's growing up! She is being promoted, so to speak, in maturity and godly character. And she's learning lessons that are far more important than pleasing her understandable and normal desire for public recognition. I believe that God, in the heavenly realm, is giving her recognition for trusting him and pleasing him and that in the life to come that promotion will be far more significant and meaningful.
I was also glad to be able to say to her "There have been many times when I've had to prefer your Dad's wishes and not get my way. It's hard at times, but God has honored my faith and my desire to love your Dad. And many times, Dad has been right (not always, mind you, but that was not relevant during this conversation or any conversation for that matter). Anyway, I'm looking forward to how the trip goes and I'm expecting to see how God rewards her.
I decided to go to Promotion that night anyway. And lo and behold, when I wasn't expecting it, I got encouragement notes from the leader of the Academy that Tim and Elena and Camille had written to me. All the moms got them and they were so meaningful. I was surprised and blessed for sure! Even so, I choked back the tears when the 8th graders, minus one - my beautiful daughter who had bought a special dress just for the occasion - stood in front of the audience with their certificates and special gift cards as they were being prayed for. Sometimes, at those moments, keeping an eternal perspective is very helpful.

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