I sighed in the grocery store the other day. The store clerk, seeing I was watching my children, made a comment expressing sympathy about how it was only the beginning of summer holidays. I smiled, paid, and thanked him. He doesn’t need to know how much he misunderstood.
To me this isn’t the beginning of a summer of having the kids around all the time. My kids have been around me almost constantly since they were born and this particular summer I am in mourning for the fact that my time homeschooling is coming to an end. This isn’t the beginning of a two-month time with the kids home, it is the end of a much longer time.
To say that the four of us – my three kids and I – spend most of most days together feels like a bit of an understatement. The kids will be off in their rooms a bit, particularly after a trip to the library when they have a stack of new books to read, but the vast majority of the time we’re in the same room. It drives me nuts, but I love it too. Sometimes it feels like we’re a four-headed beast, or maybe an octopus since octopuses have consciousness at the base of each tentacle.
I have for years gone back and forth with that hesitant question of whether or not I’m really doing enough homeschooling. Am I doing a good enough job? Would the kids be better off in school, where they could both meet more people and have more independence? Finally we’ve decided to put it to the test. We will send them to school and see how it goes.
My husband assures me this is a win-win thing. Either school goes well or we will know that homeschooling is the right option. What I fear most is the middle ground, the area where I could be stuck unsure whether the hardship they encounter will be character building and good for them but wondering too if it is unnecessary. I want certainty. I crave certainty.
There is no certainty. I know that. I take deep breaths. I lure the kids outside with sword fights and to sit in the shade reading. I try to savor these days.
I feel foolish mourning something most parents go through much earlier. I tell myself that I am lucky for having stolen extra years at home with the children, but I still grieve. I don’t want them to go! But I do want them to succeed and to have every opportunity available to them. I will try to let go.
It isn’t that I don’t have other things to do while they are gone. I’ve always been one to fill my life with projects. I have a book I’m working on writing, several online classes that I’ll be teaching, and lots of other things to work on. But despite how busy I expect I’ll be, I’m going to miss these kids so much.