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.