It was at the end of 2013 when I began the search for a little playschool for my son. I was almost eight months pregnant with my daughter, exhausted and in desperate need of help and a village. I came across a little school near our home, appropriately named ‘Small Miracles’. For me, this name was profound. Before I fell pregnant with my son, I experienced the utter devastation brought along by the lack of a heartbeat in the first trimester of pregnancy. When I fell pregnant with him a few months afterwards, I called him my ‘heartbeat-miracle’. Every single time I saw and heard his heartbeat, I experienced a miracle. It was thus not difficult to choose this little playschool for my son. Many a thing depends on a name.
For small it is, probably the smallest in our part of town. Twenty five little children from two to five years old go there daily to mostly play and learn a little bit, together with four teachers and four assistants. Over the years, it has had its share of ups and downs. Small places struggle to survive in a city where everything gets bigger and more competitive by the day. Most months, it’s hard to make ends meet. It’s probably not the grandest playschool you’ll find. It’s actually quite simple. Yet, “simplicity is the joy of life, it’s to give and take nothing more than what there is. It is to thankfully eat every skew little piece of bread which is love…” (Koos du Plessis, freely translated).
The addition of this little school to my family’s life was indeed a most extraordinary and welcome event. Something has to be said when a school probably means more to a mother than to her child. Indeed, this is true in our case. For the teachers and fellow mothers I met there became my family in the city where we live and to this day, still are and will continue to be. The friendships I built through the years I count together with my most prized possessions in my heart. The lifelong connections that have been and are still being formed through this little school make it a most profound place, one of the greatest importance. To drop my child at school means to be cared for by teachers, assistants and friends alike. Never, to this day, have I been able to stick to my promise to just drop my kids at school and go. The smiles I find inside the little school are just too inviting and the conversations shared much more important than the time that presses me to be somewhere else. Here I find teachers who look from their hearts upon my little children as I do and I can truly walk the, sometimes, lonely path of motherhood with them. All these things, I count as small miracles.
My children also found in this little school the most precious of friends. Here they learn to simply take care of each other and pray for one another. They know the comings and goings of every teacher and friend because they make it their business to know. They truly learn to love and bless others. They are surrounded by simple, pure acceptance and care. And because they experience this, they can learn without restraint. Being able to learn new things in this way is just the tiny cherry on the cake. When I look at my son who is now in ‘big school’, I am in awe of his confidence and strength. But mostly, I appreciate how he gets along with each and every little person he meets and how open his heart is to others. This little school helped him along this way. All these things, I count as small miracles.
I look back on almost five years of being part of this little school and wonder what exactly it is that makes is so significant. I realize that this school is an immense blessing in our lives. During a time when I desperately needed a village for my family, our hearts were indeed ready to receive this blessing. When our hearts are wide open to receive blessings without reservation and with nothing to lose or gain, we are able to be simple blessings to others. And this is where and when the small miracles in life are able to happen. Our children are indeed blessings and this they must know in their hearts. But it’s only when they actively learn to be a blessing to others that they truly are the small miracles they are destined to be with the influence that they are meant to have. They are small not in spirit, just in size. What a privilege that they can practice this from a young age at this little school.
All of this, and so much more, I count as small miracles. I will forever be thankful for the small miracles that happen in our lives because of this little school. Indeed, many a thing depends on a name.