My blog is a dusty, neglected corner of the internet these days, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. Writing and I have had an increasingly complicated relationship recently. I know I need to be writing. I just don’t know what, or where. I’m lacking direction and it’s making me procrastinate and make excuses.
That’s neither here nor there. I decided to blow some of the cobwebs out of my blog tonight because things are changing in my family. Good changes? I think so. But honestly? Really hard changes. The kind of changes that keep you awake at night, that make you cry into your morning coffee.
Last school year was really hard for me. I struggled with depression basically from September through April, and I could barely function some days. I felt completely incapable of handling my life and the challenges of being a pastor’s wife, a homeschooling mom– honestly, just the challenges of getting dressed and making breakfast were almost more than I could handle some days. And Art and I started talking about ways we could ease up the pressure on me.
Through the wise counsel of friends and family, and through a lot of prayer and conversation, Art and I reached the decision to enroll two of our children in our local school this fall. After seven years of homeschooling two and then three kids, this year I will only be teaching our seventh grader. Next Wednesday, for the first time in their lives, two of my kids will get on a big yellow bus and head off to school.
I believe God led us to make this decision, and I believe it is the best decision for our kids and for our family and yes, for my own mental health. R, who is going to be a freshman this year, will almost definitely graduate from our local school. G, who is starting third grade, will have her situation reevaluated at the end of this year. If she thrives, as I fully expect she will, she’ll stay at public school. S, who is behind and needs some extra attention this year, may end up heading off for high school in a couple years, or not. Each child is different. We want to do what’s best for them.
And meanwhile– after a change in my meds, my depression has all but disappeared. We’ve had a lovely long summer because we finished early and didn’t start in July like we have in past years. I am excited for this new adventure for my kids, and for the opportunity to really pour into S and help him get caught up.
But I am mourning. I’m mourning the freedom of school-when-we-want-to, of choosing to take a day off and head to the park and call it a field trip. I’m mourning loss of the sweet joy it has been to be with these amazing kids, who I love so much, all day every day. I’m mourning the routines I’ve built up over all these years. I’m mourning the fact that I will no longer be the main voice my kids hear. I’m mourning month-long Christmas breaks and vacations in October. I’m mourning the simple words “homeschooling family.”
And, as much as I pray, I am afraid. Afraid we made the wrong choice. Afraid of peer pressure and immodest girls and bad friends, of third-grade-girl drama and driver’s ed and my kids losing the sweetness that I love about them. Afraid that they’ll be too much like the other kids– and not enough like the other kids.
We are leaving one season of life– me and the kids with binders and flashcards at the kitchen table– and entering a new one, with bus schedules and lunchboxes and, oh yeah, me and one kid with binders and flashcards at the table. These transitions are hard, sometimes devastating to a mama heart.
But here is what I know. My God who loves me and has always faithfully cared for me also loves and faithfully cares for my kids. He will be with R in the locker room and with G on the playground. He will be with S and me and our pile of flashcards. He has a good plan along this new road we are taking. He does beautiful things, and He gives good gifts.
We’re going to plunge into this new path with eyes wide open, looking for Him at every turn.