As the Family Goes

JP II Quote

"As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live." John Paul II

Monday, July 23, 2012

Time Marches On

Little water boy!
Summer.  The time of year when weeks and months go by and you feel like you barely have time to blink.  When you teeter aimlessly between total exhileration and complete exhaustion, and try not to get sunstroke in the process.  It's crazy, it's relaxing, it's fun, it's exhausting.  And before you know it, it will be gone.

Of course there is nothing I can do about how quickly this time seeps away.  I want to enjoy every minute, and make the most of this beautiful season before it is gone.  It is an exciting time for the kids, who get to visit with people they don't have much opportunity to see through the year, or go on day trips to fun places that are just too much to squeeze into a normal school week.  They get to escape the hot house with Mom and relax on a beach, or spend days at a time playing - just playing - in the yard with their friends. 

He found a lady bug!
And then September rolls around, and Mom breathes a sigh of relief.  No, I'm not the Mom from the Staples commercial skipping through the store picking out school supplies and singing, "it's the most wonderful time of the year" while my kids mope along behind me.  This is my fourth summer with school-aged children, and it's the first where I've felt completely free to enjoy them, because it's not a ticking alarm telling me when it's time to hand my children back over to the school system for another ten months.  Up until the birth of my fifth son almost two years ago, my entire parenting journey had been burdened with these kinds of things, that made the passing of time seem so dreadful. First was maternity leaves, which I always measured in fractions of how close to when I needed to go back to work (the first half was great - but I spent the second half trying not to think about the fact that I had less time ahead of me than behind me).  And I will never forget the summer before my oldest started Kindergarden.  It was all I could do not to sulk the whole season away.  Every day that passed was a day closer to when my little boy would be out of the house for the greater part of the day, for most of the week.  When my fifth son was born in November of 2010 my oldest was still attending a private school, and I will never forget how sad it was that we were all home and bonding with this brand new baby, and he wasn't there.

I made the decision to homeschool not for myself, but because I saw a need in my son that I worried could not be met in the traditional school system.  I had a brand-new baby (and three other young children) when we took it on full-time in January of 2011.  I was scared, but courageous - I was doing it for my boy.

Visiting with an ox - he was a bit scary!
And an amazing thing happened - it completely transformed me.  It wasn't completely unmanageable, and I wasn't being nearly as heroic as I thought.  There was no need - all God was calling me to do was simply to live.  That in devoting myself 100% to each member of my family I would not be spread-thin, but that I would discover the complete substance of who I am.  It was all the logistics around getting him ready and off to school, packing lunches, making sure homework was done, dealing the endless string of discipline issues that comes with having a spirited boy in a class full of spirited children (which, let me tell you, is emotionally draining!) - those were the things that nearly broke me in two.  As is God's way, sometimes you can't see the whole picture until you follow where He is leading you.  Only after you've walked a little way are you able to look back and see the wisdom with which you were guided.

Feeding some goats
This year three of my children are school-aged.  Which means that I have three very big reasons to be extra thankful when September rolls around.  For the first time in my entire parenting journey I don't feel like the summer is being taken away from me.  I don't feel regret every time something comes up that I just can't say no to - I am free to enjoy these days, this special time, and to watch the excitement in my children as they soak in the best that summer has to offer. All without regret or worry, because come the school year nobody is going anywhere.  Which is good news all around, because we have some serious bonding on the schedule with a certain someone who is set to make an appearance somewhere around October 9.

Hurray for summer!  Here's hoping I have the energy to keep up with everything this season throws our way.

Lazy days of summer