I’ve been having an existential crisis lately. Apparently, this isn’t uncommon for homeschoolers in February. I can only imagine how difficult things must be for those of you with snow!
Anyhow, as is often the case with this sort of thing, it is tied to what has been going on with us. My 5 year old had some sort of stomach virus over the weekend, and my nearly 1 yo is going on 48 hours of a persistent high fever. Luckily it is responsive to motrin and “airing him out.”
Anyhow, this means that we have been home A LOT. Since Friday. Those of you who know me IRL know that I hate being home. I loathe it. Sure, you can’t always not be home, but in an ideal world, I’d leave home at 10 and return at 5, cook dinner, etc.
I think the reason I hate it is because it’s so boring. There’s a good chance that I have some sort of undiagnosed attention deficit disorder. That would explain my sophomore year in college–I got permission to take 19 semester units so that I could be student body president, play two varsity sports, AND be student body president, not to mention the other activities I participated in. That semester I earned the only C of my college career. I was so tired that I literally forgot to do a major homework assignment, and did miserably on the final.
The hatred for being home has clearly worn off on my children, who everyday, as soon as they wake up, ask where we are going today. So, you can imagine, it is hard being home.
Another related factor, is that being sick means that we can’t be with our people. I NEED people. My kids NEED people. We had SO many cool plans this week: a Chinese New Year celebration at a local museum, a park day, a trip to the zoo’s new playground, homeschool day at the Charles Schulz museum, and a playdate at a local park with some new homeschooler friends. All those things, and similar fun things I would typically do as an alternate, were scrapped.
To top that off, very little sleep has been happening. Baby is sick AND teething, can you blame him?
But these things affect me, I am only human.
Add in 3 big kids who are rambunctious and curious and strong willed.
It left me questioning WHY I am doing this.
I am not a patient person. In fact, I am very passionate, but I do try to be the best that I can, and am constantly trying to improve myself, and do what’s best for my kids.
We are fortunate to live within a great school district. It has wonderful facilities, due to a bond measure reduced class sizes, and some pretty cool enrichment activities. So I have been pondering, why don’t I just send my kids there. Why should I homeschool.
Then, last night, I was fortunate to come across this article that one of my friends shared about 4 year olds (language & sarcasm warning).
Then, when I was up at 2:30 am, and a 15 year old young girl in Instagram follow requested me, and we began chatting. And I thought about all the other older homeschool kids I am friends with, including some young adults. I thought about how neat they were, and how much love they had for their families, how inspirational they were. If my kids turned out like that, I will have accomplished everything I initially set out to do.
If we had been able to do all of those things we had planned, would I be having these thoughts at all? I highly doubt it.
After I got the baby to sleep in the middle of the night, as I was laying down, I began thinking about things, and I realized, there is a reason I started on this path. It is a calling. You don’t just ignore a calling because it’s difficult. To the contrary, you persevere strengthened by your faith and resolve to do better, be better, and accomplish the task laid out by your creator.
When I sent my children to daycare/preschool, it felt profoundly wrong. In fact, I felt sick to my stomach. I thought that was a normal thing, and that it would pass, but it didn’t. Instead, I had to actively ignore my feelings as people told me that more time away was better! Better for me, better for my girl!
Aside from my feelings of connection with my children, forcing them to sit in one location, limited to one room most of the time, just feels wrong. It confines their life experience to four walls, and in many cases to pieces of paper, rather than living breathing life.
All my life I dreamed of getting to this place. Happily married to a loving husband. Living in a house, bustling with joyful, smart, and loving children. Children whom I get the privilege of being with all day. Who share my enthusiasm for trying new things, going on new adventures. They rarely say no when I hatch a new plan, or dig out an art supply.
Another realization that I had, which I often reflect on, is the finite nature of this period in my childrens’ lives. They will not always be this age. Things will not always be this difficult. I will not always be embarassed as they act out and a perfect stranger comments that I “sure have my hands full!”
They will grow up, and they will leave! And I will be so sad! I will miss this simpler time! I will wish that I had it back to do all over again. More glitter, less worry. Why was I so stressed over that, it wasn’t really important.
I hastened whether to post this at all, as it is so deeply personal. But then I thought, maybe I can help someone else get over the February hump, then it’s worth it.
All of the wonderful things we have experienced together have brought us to now.
When the fiddle had stopped singing Laura called out softly, “What are days of auld lang syne, Pa?”
“They are the days of a long time ago, Laura,” Pa said. “Go to sleep, now.”
But Laura lay awake a little while, listening to Pa’s fiddle softly playing and to the lonely sound of the wind in the Big Woods. She looked at Pa sitting on the bench by the hearth, the firelight gleaming on his brown hair and beard and glistening on the honey-brown fiddle. She looked at Ma, gently rocking and knitting.
She thought to herself, “This is now.”
She was glad that the cosy house, and Pa and Ma and the firelight and the music, were now. They could not be forgotten, she thought, because now is now. It can never be a long time ago.
Here’s to the now.