I have the brakes on, and they’re not working. This vehicle won’t slow. Time marches on. The sands flow through the hourglass and can’t be stopped. My days as a homeschooling mother of six are waning. The baby is ready to launch. The final art show, the final home school co-op performance, the final research paper, and the final concert have come and gone. Now remains the final week.
How did this happen? How did all of my adorable, precocious children grow up so fast? How did my baby grow to be eighteen? Where did the time go?
Granted, thirty-four years of parenting intertwined with twenty-eight years of homeschooling often didn’t feel fast; sometimes, days crawled by. But at some point along the way, the clock sped up. I swear it’s true. Faster and faster the years flew by, and now I find my nest almost emptied. Only one is left.
I was one of those mothers who savored moments, who sat and stared at nursing babies and soft-cheeked toddlers, who rocked infants and small children to sleep, inhaling their sweet fragrance while marveling over their delicate features, their silken skin, and the precious weight of their tiny bodies, thanking God as I gazed. When they grew larger, I sat at their practices, drove them from activity to activity, listened to them as they learned to read, and cheered at all of their events.
Out loud, I read to them the Little House in the Prairie series and The Chronicles of Narnia. We went through each at least three times. Even teens enjoyed those tales as they listened to their smaller siblings’ reading time. If the kids were in theatre or dance, I was a backstage mom or attended practically every performance, laughing and/or applauding loudly, so they’d have a good audience. If debate, I judged and designed training material. I made costumes; I taught in their co-ops. I did it all. I’m afraid I was often harried, sometimes hurrying too fast.
On a personal level, homeschooling was intellectual bliss. My writer’s brain was often crammed with facts, ponderings, and meditations. I am intellectually curious. Converting our home school to a classical program partway through the journey provided fodder for my brain, lending whole undiscovered tomes to be devoured: Augustine, Aquinas, Herodotus, Livy, Rebsamen, Ussher, Bauer, Lewis, etc. The Teaching Company provided college-level lectures that I enjoyed alongside my high-school-aged teens. As I studied with them, it gave me, the mother, the type of education my public school hadn’t provided.
I invested my life in them, and I am glad, glad, GLAD that I could do it! It was a rare and precious privilege, a weighty honor, a sacred undertaking. I loved this career of mothering. Thank you, Lord, for my patient, single-income, hardworking husband, the father of this brood!
Fully-invested, scholarly, somewhat distracted by my musings, a hand-planted-firmly-on-your-back-propelling-you-forward-type mother—that is who I’ve been for the past two-thirds of my life. Now it’s almost over. My foot is hard to the floorboard, but this vehicle can’t be slowed down. “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NLT). My season is ending. I am worn out from my efforts.
Lord, help me to shift to whatever you have next. My heart is full. I’m so grateful. These years have taught me so much, but mostly that it’s impossible for me to do any task, even a task I love, without constant reliance on you. My many failures prove that. My need for you has been the lesson. And so, I cling. Carry this mother through yet another transition, safely in your arms.
I think of you as a very professional mother. You have taken your job seriously and have done an amazing job. You are an inspiration to us all–that it can be done, done well, and we can write about it in the end!
Though we often don’t feel like we will, we usually do live to tell about it. 🙂 It’s sweet that you call me a “professional mother.” When I was in the hospital after my fourth child was born, I described to my hospital roommate what I did for a living, and she called me a “professional mother.” I think that’s a good job title. You’re a professional mother, too, Renee. You do an amazing job!
Melinda, I love every word of this … written like the talented, well-prepared writer that you are!
Isn’t it amazing how God works! When I think of the education He gave you through your sacrifices to educate your children, I am reminded that Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38, NIV).
You were giving your utmost to your children, and God gave to you what you were giving to them, good measure … ! He blessed you while preparing you for your future, which has already arrived! GOD IS SO GOOD!
Thank you for this reminder, Aunt Jackie. I cried my way through your comment. I’ve been doing a lot of crying lately. God is good. He calls to a task, he enables, he equips, he strengthens, and he uses it for good in your life. Such a good God we serve!
Amen! Such a good God!!! Crying is healing, by the way, as you know, sweet Melinda! 😉
Not only have you been very intellectually stimulated and blessed as you taught your children, but they too have had the best possible education! They have risen up and called you blessed as they found themselves so well-prepared for college–graduating from college even with very high honors!! As a public school teacher and then a Christian school teacher, I knew what a great job you were doing! What a great teacher-pupil ratio: 1:1 or sometimes 1:4–fantastic! BUT, you also made sure that they had a lot fo contact with other human beings, of all ages! I can still hear you as the one who laughed the loudest at the performances with a laughter that was so contagious the others picked it up! You also could yell the loudest at a swim meet or a baseball game! 😀 I’m so sure you will hear, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant!” Now, your prayers will be the way you influence their lives. As your mother, I’m so blessed by what you have done for my grandchildren!!
Thank you, Mom! That is so encouraging. Thank you for taking the time to write all those words and recollections. Love you.
Wow! This made me cry, my precious sister! Well said, “Elainie!” No wonder Melinda has done well!