Once upon a time I wrote a post and left it sitting in “Drafts” for nearly four years while my whole life changed dramatically. I added another kid. I moved across the country – twice. We tried homeschooling again. Then I stumbled across this post, and I will tell you that follow-through and enjoying each season are still my weaknesses. I have, however, learned to let go a little more, breathe a little deeper, and trust that God will make lovely what my circumstances and my sanity cannot. This is a gift I couldn’t have even grasped four years ago when my life seemed so out of sorts but was, in fact, fairly simple and orderly. It’s so strange how time works and how it flies. So, while we gear up for a summer of fewer plans and more freedom and more together – let’s remember that with every summer, it’s almost time to let go a little more. These three months of together? THEY are gifts – to be washed down with a lot of coffee, obviously.
And without further delay – my words from four years ago that are still speaking to my heart today. I hope they do the same for yours:
You know that saying, “Never forget in the dark what God told you in the light?” Sometimes it’s applicable. In my situation it should say something more like, “Choose to believe that God really did nudge you to keep your child home this year because if you don’t you’ll lose your mind.”
The truth of the matter is this: God did nudge me to keep my oldest home this year. I didn’t understand it then, and I only understand it every other day for five minutes at a time now. This makes the day to day challenging and the view of nine months lumbering out before us make me want call the VPK we had her enrolled in and beg them to take her back. We are into the second week and I find myself mourning the loss of the first day of school excitement. I went to public school and overall – particularly in elementary school – had a fantastic experience. I feel like I’m depriving her of some of that joy. And also depriving myself of any mental stability at all. Ever.
I didn’t realize that this was going to be a “thing.” That some people were going to so blatantly applaud my decision and others would very obviously disapprove of it – even if they never say so with their words. Back in the summer when there was no pressure and all the days were just swimming pools and library fun, when I wasn’t responsible for teaching her anything beyond what we talk about in the car or at the lunch table – I thought that our whole year could be just like that, that we could just relish another year of freedom, but it doesn’t feel like that anymore.
She’s decided she doesn’t like our book for the week. Just plain doesn’t like it. It’s too long and she doesn’t feel like reading it, she tells me. For.the.love. This is the whole plan, kid – the book and the activities that stem from it! And you don’t like the book?! I did not account for this as a possibility.
Everyone keeps asking her if she’s started school and where she’s going. I then feel the need to explain myself – that we’re keeping her home because God said so. People don’t always understand that statement, and I don’t like to throw it around a lot because it begins to sound like an excuse to do the things you want to do, or an excuse to make people feel like they’re NOT doing what they should be doing, which is not the case at all.
The bottom line is this: I could have sent her to school and I firmly believe she would have done great – thrived even. I am not homeschooling her because I think that’s what good, Christian mommies do. [I feel the urge to throw in a belly laugh after that statement.] I fully acknowledge that I might just lose my mind, at the very least my general sense of hygiene, in the midst of all this. I don’t know what in the heckity-hoodah-hay I’m doing. At all. She probably won’t be reading when she goes to kindergarten. Gasp. My little love muffin may be so sick of looking at my face that she wants to throw something at it. I never grow tired of looking at her face, but I wouldn’t mind a mute button attached to her tiny, loud mouth. I’m going to have to tattoo She.is.FOUR. to my forehead and my arms, to remind myself and everyone else that this is not a big deal.
She is only and already four. We won’t be choosing this again next year, most likely, because during my five minutes of clarity on every other day of the week I understand this: It’s almost time to let go a little more. It’s almost time for her to taste the real world at a really great school among really great teachers – and a mix of children that is different from the ones she’s been in church with her whole life. I was half-present at best for the last two years with the miscarriages, the pregnancy, and the new baby with a heart condition. So…
This is a gift. These nine months of together is a precious, wonderful gift.
Perhaps THAT’S what I need to remember at 5:15 am when I’m groping around in the dark for a bottle and my husbands iPad because both girls are awake and the day stretches out before me like a marathon that I’ve not adequately trained for.
This IS a gift…And I need my second cup of coffee.