Goodbye, Summer

Today is our last day of summer. Not the weather but the do-whatever-we-want part. Sadly, the weather will hang around another 200 days.

This summer has been our best yet. I haven't even minded the weather quite as much as usual. I've tried to look at this summer through my kids' eyes. To them, summer is fun, fun, FUN.

Whether we've been swimming, playing with friends, bowling, travelling, or just plain ol' hangin' out at home, we've tried to make the most of it. I think we'll all look back on this summer with sweet memories.

On Monday, we will begin a new phase in our lives. Liam will be going to public school.


When we decided to homeschool a couple years ago, I never thought public school would be acceptable for us. I'll admit that I even looked down on public school with a snooty nose turned up.

But my heart has changed over the past few months. I've wondered if I could be a better mother, if I weren't the sole teacher. I've wondered if I could have more quality time with my two youngest boys. I've wondered if my eldest could flourish as well away at school as he has with me. I've wondered if my mind could feel more stable without the sole responsibility of my kids' education resting on my shoulders.

Ultimately, homeschool wasn't working out as well as I had hoped. I couldn't handle all of the pressure. The perfectionist in me was a heavy-hearted, hardly-ever-smiling, grumpy mom.

I kept all of that heaviness to myself. I didn't want to admit defeat, especially to my husband. I knew he would immediately vote for putting Liam in school to help my sanity.

(I would not advise keeping such heavy issues from your spouse, by the way. We're supposed to be in this together. Your best friend should be able to bear up under your burdens with you.)

In late July, while we were in beautiful Vail, CO, I unloaded my heart to Rick. Surprisingly, he didn't shoot darts at me. I mean, I deserved it, but he lovingly said, "We can consider it."

I needed to hear that exact answer from him. I didn't need to hear, "Yes, absolutely. Liam's going to school. No questions asked!" I needed to hear that we could think and pray about it.

Think and pray we did.

And then, Rick had a heart attack on July 31. And our world was a little bit shaken.

We knew we were in the Lord's hands the entire time, but we felt like the heart attack was a wake-up call for us.

Not a wake-up call to change our diets, since this attack was not brought on by high cholesterol. But an alert to reassess where our hearts were.

The day after we knew he officially had a heart attack, Rick looked at me and said, "We have to simplify."

I swallowed and said, "Okay."

And he named a couple things we needed to alleviate. One of them was our homeschool coop.

"So, are you saying that we're not homeschooling anymore," I asked.

"I'm not saying that yet, but it's something we need to seriously consider," he said. "I want you to get online and start looking at registration times for our local school. I need you to be happy again."

We took the next several days to think and pray some more. I shed many a tear over my prayers for the Lord to please make His will clear to us.

Finally, we made a list of pros and cons to both homeschool and public school, because there are indeed pros and cons to every school setting. (Private school is just out of our budget.)

The head of my household looked at that list and said, "He needs to go to public school. I need to see you happy again. He just might flourish at school, but if he doesn't, we'll pull him out."

And the burden that has weighed so heavily on my mind for many months was lifted. I haven't cried since that day.

Until last night, when we took him to meet the teacher, and I envisioned my little first grader walking through that huge school without me.

He's growing up. Sniff, sniff.

But he needs to spread his wings a bit, and I know he'll be fine.

I just might need to cry again on Monday when I drop him off.

I'll still have my two little boys home with me. I'll be working with them, in case we decide to put them in kindergarten next year.

(At which point, I will need another baby in order to not work myself out of a job. Ahem.)

I'm signing off to enjoy our last fun day. The boys want to go play miniature golf.

I just want to watch them smile all day.


Jennifer said...

Wow. That made me cry. NOT because you are putting him in school, but because this has weighed so heavily on you for so long. I am glad that YOU didn't have a heart attack!!! That is a lot of stress. If it makes you feel any better, I really beat myself up when my oldest was a preschooler because I NEVER felt the calling to homeschool and all of my wonderful friends who did, made me feel badly; like I was doing something bad to my child! Public School *SO FAR* has been a wonderful experience for us all. Yes, there have been some challenges along the way, but nothing that I couldn't step in and "fix". You will be a superstar volunteer mom and your face will be a familiar one on campus. Liam is NOT shy, so socially he will LOVE it! I am proud of you for following what God is telling you to do! (and for me personally, I think that I am a better mom because of school)
oh, sorry that this is so long....

Jen Mall said...

I am so proud of you, too!!! I know how difficult this has been for you...on many levels! If it makes you feel any better...I have shed a few tears this weekend too...and I should be an old pro at this by now! But he is in a different hall now, ya now! That is big time! So I am allowed a few more tears this year!)

Debbie B said...

In about 3-4 years or so I bet I'll be going through the same thing. We want to homeschool but it terrifies me to an extent. I'm afraid I'll fail our children as a teacher if I try to be teacher and mother.
Thanks for posting this. I think I needed to hear your struggle to admit my own.