Two weeks into our school year, and three weeks after the transition began from homeschooling three to homeschooling two, I often find myself reflecting about how our lives are different with one less child in the house.
1. Grocery shopping is markedly different, though the oldest has never been an “eater” (unlike her mom). Still, there are items that I either don’t have to buy, or don’t have to buy at the same frequency.
2. The oldest was/ is a late bloomer in a number of ways, stepping into her place as guinea pig/ role model (wink) about mid-high school. But when she stepped, she stepped up BIG, and in that way lending a quiet leadership for her younger siblings.
These reasons are in some cases intangible, and in other cases inconsequential. The most practical, visible sign of her absence after school is the lack of a second driver while hubby is away. In the last two years, I had grown quite accustomed to not having to stop in the evenings and taxi anyone to the dance center or church.
The most practical, visible sign of her absence during the homeschool day is that the hours zzzoooooooooooommm by, and before I know it, we are done. The oldest had a love affair with the bathroom, so school often began much later for the younger two than the hour in which I awakened. Now, both children are downstairs within 15 minutes of my saying, “It’s time to get up!”
On the one hand, it’s a good thing that we finish early. Without the oldest here to help transport, this is our evening schedule:
Monday–both kids at the dance center
Tuesday–son attends a dance academy in town
Wednesday–kids attend children’s/ youth mid-week ministries
Thursday–both kids at the dance center
Friday–competition team practices
Traveling at the speed of our school is not without its consequences, however. I’ve noticed that both kids are exhausted by the day’s end, even on weekends. As an example, Fridays are generally laid-back nights for us; hubby’s home from traveling, and the kids get to stay up late and hang out On this past Friday night, with no suggestion/ reminder/ warning from us, both kids were in bed–and fast asleep–well before midnight. I pass by their rooms later at night and I cannot help but think of Cinderella, and how much fun she wanted to have and the many things she wanted to do once on her own time. Yet, she had a clock to beat. By the time she completed her responsibilities and got established to have a good time (with the help of the fairy godmother), there was little time to just enjoy the ball. That’s my crew: once school is completed, and they have returned from teaching/ attending classes, there is limited time for them to just hang out before their own “midnight” arrives.
As for me, with some advance planning, I have been able to avoid most of those pesky disruptions that plagued us as we came to a halt on last year. But today, I desperately needed to get groceries, and only had two windows of opportunity: 1) after Dad left (~5 a.m.) and before waking the kids this morning, or 2) after picking up son from college before dance. Did I also mention that 1st Monday is the tween book club night at the library? After a rocky night of sleep, I chose option #2, which meant that the kids and I did have the opportunity for Bible study and our read-aloud, The Fires of Merlin (book 3 in The Lost Years of Merlin series). I was determined to get in the Word today–it had just been one of those days. I had one friend who was fighting aside her newlywed husband to gain custody of his son, who is in a bad situation. I had another friend whose husband left after being confronted about sexual misconduct. I needed a Word, if no one benefited immediately. But I digress…
I deviated from our reading through Leviticus together and instead chose a one-chapter book for this one night: Jude. In the past, I have never paid that much attention to the book of Jude before, but I loved its straightforwardness about the deceivers that will enter the body of Christ in the last days. The kids sat patiently through my reading (no narrations at this hour), and even excitedly through this portion of The Fires of Merlin. It left them however, with less than an hour for showers, getting out trash, desserts after dinner, and the few precious minutes to do something they wanted to do. Again, my “Cinderellas” worked hard for the few minutes they could enjoy the ball before they both crawled into bed. As on most nights these days, it did not take them long to pass out. Of course, the real Cinderella got the biggest prize for all of her work at the end. I think these two are going to be happy with the results of their efforts, too. Hopefully before their chariots turned back into pumpkins, they had a chance to reflect on the power of these words:
But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life!
Go easy on those who hesitate in the faith. Go after those who take the wrong way. Be tender with sinners, but not soft on sin. The sin itself stinks to high heaven.
And now to him who can keep you on your feet, standing tall in his bright presence, fresh and celebrating—to our one God, our only Savior, through Jesus Christ, our Master, be glory, majesty, strength, and rule before all time, and now, and to the end of all time. Yes.
Jude 1: 20-25