My kids are 9 and 5.
We are a long way off from high school graduation.
Or are we?
This week I had the realization that my daughter is entering 4th grade- the grade I used to teach in my pre-mom life. I used to think those kids were so “big,” and now many of them are graduating college, getting married, having families of their own, and sending their little ones to school for the first time.
I remember these same kids wearing their private, Christian school uniforms, sitting in class, and learning their spelling words using the say-spell-say method. These kids stood just below my shoulders and many of them (especially the boys) now tower above me.
Now my daughter is entering 4th grade. If these last 9 nine years have flown by so quickly, how quickly will the next 9 years go? Because when she’s 18, she will graduate.
A few years ago, I attended a our local homeschool graduation ceremony. As I looked around at all of the families attending, I knew these parents had thought graduation was a long way off for them, too.
I was there for one particular student. I had known this young lady through church since she 4 years old and had the privilege of being her fifth grade teacher when I taught at the Christian Academy. When she was entering 9th grade, her mother began homeschooling her.
From the moment the processional started and she walked in, the tears began. In my mind, I could see the little 4 year year old her with two pigtails walking down the aisle…. and then I envisioned a grown Addie and Ian making that same march.
Right now, the graduation of my own children seems to be a long way off. I am still very deep in the trenches of homeschooling. Ian is entering Kindergarten, and Addie is going into 4th grade.
There are days when I wonder why I have chosen to homeschool my kids and take on myself a responsibility that others actually get paid for.
There are days when it takes my super smart nine year old five minutes to give me the answer for a simple division problem…. not that she doesn’t know it. Her mind takes little trips and she asks me a million unrelated questions in between finding the answer and writing it on her paper….. like “Mom, why do mosquitoes bite? Is it because of Adam and Eve?”
There are days when being wife, mom, teacher, home-keeper, cook, and launderer are overwhelming.
There are many days when I have to remind myself that my goal is not to have super smart children but to raise godly people.
Attending that graduation ceremony gave me the long term perspective I needed.
I was able to see the tape across the finish line as each parent handed their student a diploma.
I was able to remember all of the answers to my “why’s”.
I was able to picture Brian and myself handing our children their diplomas and sending them into their next life adventure knowing that we had completed our purpose in the first part of their lives.
I was able to celebrate with these families who had once been in the trenches and had now reached the end of their race.
At one point in the ceremony there was a recognition of the families who were not only celebrating their child’s graduation but the end of their homeschool journey because this was their last child to be homeschooled.
I cried… again!
It dawned on me that homeschooling does not last forever.
This race has a finish line.
My children will not stay little forever.
I will have to let them go at some point.
I am so glad I attended that graduation. Sometimes, you need to see the bigger picture to appreciate the small strokes you are making in canvas of your child’s life on a daily basis. These strokes can add beauty or can ruin the overall portrait.
As my friend Kristi often says, “The days are long, but the years are short.”
I’ll rephrase it: the school days are long….. but the school years are short.