I didn’t realize I was stressed until the text came in. Squinting at the words on the screen, ridiculously small for my middle-aged eyes, emotion poured forth as the tiny words coalesced and their meaning penetrated. An internal dam broke, relief flooding through me as my breath whooshed out, a soft emptying of my lungs. It was that released breath that illuminated my hidden stress, pent up worry freed to the air, a small, dark cloud, vanishing in an instant. Poof!
“I hope you don’t mind,
I hope you don’t mind that I put down in words,
How wonderful life is, now you’re in the world.”
Your Song, Elton John
As I looked down into her sweet, soft face, the chorus of this song suddenly had meaning. I’m not sure where I was or how this particular song came to be playing. While I’ve long respected Elton John as an incredibly talented musician, he was never one you’d find on my playlist. All I remember is that profound feeling one gets when art intersects with emotion and becomes personal. I kissed her fuzzy, dark hair and knew that this was now Her Song. The one that makes me think of her, that makes my heart feel funny in a full sort of way.
My daughter took the call yesterday. She relayed the inconsequential information first, then with dancing eyes, she nonchalantly remarked, “And by the way, I’ve been accepted. They reviewed my admission and said I’m a perfect match for their school.”
I knew this was coming. I too was sure that my daughter would be a perfect fit with the vision of this small Christian college a couple of hours from our home. After the excitement of the moment died down, I pondered the path which had led to this day.
We’ve all dealt with those nasty little buggers. The kid that you hope won’t be at the playground on the day of your planned outing. The one you pray won’t end up in your Sunday School class. The little tyrants, bullies, and trouble-makers. *Sniff.* What in the world is wrong with their parents anyway? Can’t they see that no one wants to be around their kid? Don’t they see how disliked they are?
In last week’s post, The Amazing Secret to Good Parenting, I shared that good parents are continually evolving. Indeed, I know that in my own experience, I am learning and growing at least as much as these young people I’ve been charged with raising. Even so, after a time, complacency sets in. We get in a groove and, thinking we have this parenting gig under control, we stop seeking fresh insights.
I feel the need to unburden myself today, but please don’t tell the ladies at my homeschool group. If my secret were to get out, I fear I may be lynched as the chiefest of all hypocrites. At the very least, I’m sure that they would cross the street when passing me by so as to not be tainted with my particular brand of heresy. I hesitate to let it out here, but, I simply cannot hold it in any longer:
I hate homeschooling.
There. I said it. Is that thunder I hear? Am I to now be smote mightily?
It was not my intention to take a hiatus from writing this season. Rather, I had every intention of offering my usual weekly missives to hopefully encourage you during this hectic time of year. Somehow, life has gotten the better of me.
Keeping up with four busy children is tricky enough. Youth groups, piano lessons, dance classes, and school make for a full schedule. Add to that the demands of the Christmas season: shopping, wrapping, parties, etc. and the juggling act becomes impressive indeed. But that was not enough for us this year, no siree. We decided to be a part of a theatrical production.
My best friend growing up was an orange tiger-striped tom cat named Kitty. (The name seemed marvelously fitting to my three-year-old mind.) Kitty was a lover and, bless his furry little heart, was mentally challenged as well. He had a curious habit that never failed to make me chuckle.
In his desire to find a warm lap to snuggle on, Kitty would leap up on the first available person. If rejected, he would try the next lap. Like a persistent door-to-door salesman, he would make his attempt on literally every lap in the room. When rejection met him at every turn, he would do a strange thing.
Now that most of us have been toiling away at a brand new year of homeschooling for a few weeks, I’d like to ask you: How’s it going?
If you are anything like me, you diligently waded through the avalanche of homeschooling catalogs last spring. You painstakingly chose your curriculum. You had visions of your home being a haven of academic and domestic bliss. A place where the learning is joyous and teacher is compassionate, wise, creative, and fun.
Am I the only one who consistently harbors these delusional fantasies? Year after year, the impossible dream of finally achieving homeschool Nirvana is firmly fixed in my mind. And year after year, my dreams are shattered into a million tiny shards of colorful hopes that are blown to the winds as reality settles in. This usually occurs within the first month of a new year. Heck, it’s been known to happen within days! Are you there yet? Can any of you relate?
The day I learned that I am not the Messiah was clear and sunny, a rarity for our neck of the woods. I could feel the warmth of the grass as I settled into a spot close to the baptismal. A perfect spot for taking pictures. I was glad I’d remembered to wear my sunglasses as I looked up at the bright sky. My ‘babies’ were about to be baptized. And I had had nothing to do with their decision to do so.