Don't let anybody kid you. The empty nest thing - you start prepping for it the day you let the first one check the mail or park the trash on the street. You don't successfully navigate that step till you cut the rope you tied around the child's waist to tether him/her to the front door.
Depending on who you are, it's all uphill from there. Meaning as a parent you spend most of your life walking uphill both ways while barefoot in the snow. (Southern speak dictionary available upon request.)
I know I'm a different breed. I figure it is my job on this earth to set my kids free to live bigger and broader than I was allowed to live at their ages. That process started the 1st day of Son #1's K5 experience.
At the time, I had taken a solemn oath that I would NEVER (*interject sniff of superiority*) become one of those weird homeschooling moms that wore Birkenstocks with denim skirts, used homemade deodorant, and ate only homegrown organic vegan.
The collective K5 mom roar began in early July. Moms anticipated the dreaded first day. Most pictured a day of tears, fears, and jarring encounters as arms were pried lose from waistlines. Those were the mental imagines of principals ushering moms out of Muffins for Moms while insisting the event did not last till the dismissal bell at 2:30p.
I always wondered if my little clutch of friends eyed me suspiciously because I was eerily quiet during these pre-game sniff-fests. My future looked rosy.
When the day came, I tried not to dance as I took the obligatory 1st day of K5 picture. His K5 teacher was a dream. The classroom was awash in fairy tale themed props complete with a floor to ceiling beanstalk and Jack's leg dangling from the ceiling.
|Courtesy M. Horrocks|
I figured I could do one of two things. I could set that kid free to live with my confidence, or I could forever tether him to my front door with my doubt.
|Homeschool friends know how to Par-tay!|
|Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative|
Despite having been told my sons have learning issues which would affect social interactions, I continued to look for ways to equip them to live larger than I was encouraged to live and to live more successfully than the doctors who evaluated them predicted.
I was an old hand at how hard it was to set him free to fly when he went on a High School summer mission trip to inner city Atlanta. It was, however, still no easier when he spent a week in his mid-teens doing inner city housing rehab in coastal South Carolina.
I got really good at one part of the process, I think. I got really good at NEVER letting him see me flinch. We always reminded him we were as close as the phone if anything or anybody seemed amiss.
Other than that, we never hesitated until after the wheels had turned enough revolutions to have him safely out of sight. Then, my heart sighed as I wondered, “What have I DONE?”
|Yep. Yep. Ask me about socialization.|
He graciously extended the invites to his friends and their families. Homeschooled kids don't get the memo that they must only invite kids their own ages to big events in their lives. I present the pictures as exhibit #1 if ever unknowing prey wanders into my 'but what does a homeschooler do about socilization' trap?
|Courtesy H. Wills - 2011|
|Prayers, Tears, and Fears for Parents in a Fraidy Cat World|
The jury is out as I wonder yet again, "What have we done?"
|I blinked . . .|
I'm a fraidy cat. I don't fly. My kids? One day...they will soar right out of my nest and into the world I tried my best to prepare them for. And then, I'm going to go sit by a pool, eat bon-bons, and watch the cabana boys. Yea...that's my story. And, I'm sticking to it.
|. . . and they were grown.|
To read more about my parenting and homeschooling adventures, you might enjoy:
Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!) Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who fears (reveres and worships) the Lord, who delights greatly in His commandments. His [spiritual] offspring shall be mighty upon earth; the generation of the upright shall be blessed.