Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Baby #1 Flies the Homeschool Coop ~ And I'm Going to Need Therapy

Helloooooo!! I have missed you!! Where have I been for the past 1.579 weeks?? Well, just as we moved in, our sweet new home served us up a fresh slice of surprise, surprise, surprise (say it Gomer Pyle style!) which was no internet and absolutely no cell phone reception.  {Yay!} After living in a black hole for the last few days, we finally saw the light yesterday, thanks to all of the techie folks who threw us a rope and pulled us out.

Anyhoo....I can only assume that ya'll are back in the swing of school.  While my classroom is currently in fantastic crapstorm form, I am happy to report that our oldest was shipped off in tip-top form to a happily organized school with teachers who shower regularly and dress accordingly (unlike this teacher who, well, let's just not go there).  

How do you all do it?? I need your professional school mom advice. In an effort to kick off the academic year with a healthy dose of positive, I made waffles with love, dished out squishy hugs, pepped up my pep talk, and controlled my pathetic snotty sobs as best as I could. But, after all of that, he is fine, but I'm a wreck! I really don't know how I will handle Ben's absence in our homeschool.  I may be tempted to snatch him back...
Last night was the first time in ages that my nerves, like a pesky gnat buzzing relentlessly around my head, kept me from settling into a good night's sleep.  Sleep has never really been an issue for me.  I can sleep pretty much anywhere, anytime (any priest or professor will happily confirm your fact check).  But, last night, I knew that my son Ben, would be struggling to catch some REM's too, and worrying about him was really what kept me awake.

Sure enough, 11:00 p.m., we both staggered into the kitchen and rifled through dark cabinets in search of our trusty sleepy time tonic (you have to try this stuff!).  

"Are you nervous about school tomorrow?, Buddy?" 

{Long Pause}  "Yes."

His short and sweet answer was confirmation of my own restless feelings.  After another "good-night," I flopped back into bed, and stared out the window at the moon, wondering why we, in this big, big world feel so small and insecure about something as ordinary as school.  School.  Every kids goes to school.  It's not Mount Everest, it's school...

Knowing and accepting that we are in new in this community, that Ben has to begin again the process of making friends, learning a new system of procedures, accepting a fresh set of expectations, and waiting patiently for everything around him to become familiar and comfortable, left me wishing for a simpler path for him....for me.

I think that deep down, I just want it to be easy for him - easy like new experiences were for me growing up.  I wasn't afraid to do anything, I looked forward to change and newness, adventure and unpredictability.  I slept at night - every night, nothing kept me awake, especially nerves.  But, he's not like me in that way.  

The challenges life throws at us strengthen our character and our will.  Strength and endurance is what I truly desire for my children.  I don't want to raise sons who wilt under the slightest bit of pressure....or worse yet, run away from life's fiery furnace screaming, "Mommy!"  Easy street for them is easy street for me.  I won't deny the fact that at times I wish that everything in life was smooth as a baby's butt for the boys, because then I could check out for a moment, sit down and put up my parenting feet for a while....wouldn't that be nice??

This morning, I rose early, wanting to ensure that I had plenty of time to prepare a big breakfast for Ben's hearty appetite.  I was surprised to hear him up and around before the sound of his alarm.  Darn nerves.  I sipped my coffee while he inhaled his stack of waffles, letting his signature hum (the one that rises from a happy mouth whenever it's full of favorite food) fill the silence.

Ben's contemplative nature offers quiet more often than conversation.  Again, NOT like his mama, who would do well to contain the spewing verbal fountain of her mouth once in a while. He has a quiet confidence that is admirable, and a pleasure to know. If only he knew how very much I love spending time with him - even if we just sit and eat together - love for food is something we do have in common!
I wasn't sure if Ben would let me take a few pictures of him before school this morning - him alone, his brothers still buried beneath the warm covers.  Those boys do everything together, but today, Ben was flying solo. I wondered if he would miss them, or if he just knew, deep down, that this is his time, that he's the one who has to go first, he's the one who will show them how this "school outside of home" is done.
Any anxiety that may have been stirring within our big boy, was held at bay, concealed by the curl of a grin that I know and love so well.
Here we go. 
It's time. 
 Every mom in America does this.  
I can do this.  I can let him go. 
I will let him go - and he will be himself, just as he should be.
The end of all learning is to know God,
and out of the knowledge to love and imitate Him.
- John Milton


  1. Wow! Big day for you all! I'm sure you are thinking and worrying about him all day. My kids have always gone to school, but I worried like crazy the day my oldest started high school. I understand completely.
    As each of my kids heads of to school, it's the ones left at home who have the hardest time with it. Each morning, my youngest, now the only one left at home, asks, "Where are the kids?" Sometimes even before he asks, "Can I eat breakfast?" :)
    Next up, PTO! Ha!

    1. You are right, Christine! I wasn't the only one adjusting to Ben's absence....the other boys were missing him too. I take that to be a good sign, though!

  2. Beautiful! You did great :) Random...what lens do you use for your family shots?

    1. Beth - I have a Nikon D5000. It's not top of the line, but I really enjoy using it. It's user friendly and takes decent pics (i don't like to photoshop, so the guts of my camera have to be good!)

  3. Absolutely could not get through this without tears! Nervous FOR you and praying for Ben! Man oh man, I often look at my George and admire the God-given strength he has to be the first. Your Ben is worth looking up to - his brothers have a very fine example in his strength and confidence! Eager to hear how his first year of school (outside the home) goes. One day, I'll need your prayers to do the same. Sniff, sniff. xoxoxo

    1. Thank you, Jo! Enjoy every moment you have with your kids at home! I would do anything to go back to the days when Ben was little. Such precious time!

  4. Huge hugs!!!
    I did fine until the first time I dropped my oldest son at the middle school (2 years ago) - I was a mess that day. And then last week I dropped my oldest off at the high school and my youngest at the middle school and cried the entire way home!!
    They made it through and both seem to enjoy their new schools!!!
    My oldest seems to be like yours - he is very quiet and I now that he was beyond nervous. Every day has gotten easier (for me) - I don't think he talks much at school but he seems happy.
    I hope that your son is bursting with fun/happy stories about his first day!!!!

  5. This was a beautiful piece. AH, I don't even have boys in school yet - but I will. It hurts my heart even thinking about it. I love your last line though, "I can do this - I can let him go. I will let him go - and he will be himself, just as he should be."

    You are such a good mama. Thank you for your wisdom!

    1. Letting him go was so much harder than I thought it would be, but he's doing great, and I'm thankful for that!

  6. for some reason, I can't reply to your response. ..computers..I figured it was an slr. Do you use mostly the 18-55 lens? My pics don't involve a walking moving kiddo yet :) so my fixed 50 works well for a 10 month old lol.

  7. Why is school so hard!?! It nearly does me in every single year! I hope he had a great first day and is making friends quickly!

  8. Bless your sweet Mama's heart, I could feel your love for your eldest radiating back through his eyes in the photos. We literally had to build a home in the front yard of our school in order for me to be okay with letting my boys go. They are so much cooler about the letting go thing than I am, which I guess is okay. :) A backwards glance every now and then would be nice, though!
    Praying for a beautiful school year for you and your family and congratulations on your new move!


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