When we started homeschooling, I had three children ages 4 and under. We bought a boxed curriculum that year, one of those terribly stuffy, all-in-one deals that delivered a classroom kindergarten experience right to our front door, pencils and all. We all hated it— even my husband, who had been its biggest proponent when we had started researching our options. The fact is, a home isn’t a classroom and therefore, classroom management just isn’t a skill a homeschooling mother needs. Oh, she needs plenty of other skills. (Like delicately balancing the personalities of a whole family full of people who live and work together all the time.) But homes and brick and mortar schools are totally different beasts, and what works in one really doesn’t work well in others.
This isn’t a milk and honey season for us. Everything– time, money, the ability to stop and simply be present for a few hours each day– seems to be in short supply.
The temptation, then, is to mourn the loss. To look backwards at those years when the bank account was fatter and we could routinely bless others, to regret that days are no longer spent curled on the couch reading book after book to the children splayed all over the floor. To recall all of the moments that are not now and wish them here, to be lived again and again, forever.
Plans can change, right? We all know this. And yet, when the idea crosses our minds that maybe, just maybe, God is changing the direction in which we are headed, we’re gripped with panic. “What do you mean, God? I thought we were going this way!”
January started out with a bang for us; not only are we in need of a meeting what feels like an impossibly large deductible for an unforeseen roof repair, we also found ourselves on the hook for a van repair totaling nearly as much… in addition to some other financial stuff we knew was coming. Suffice it to say, it’s a beans and rice kind of month for our family. Thankfully, we all really like beans. And rice. And not only can I get wicked creative when it comes to combining the two, I am also blessed to have a stockpile of frozen meat and berries in the freezer, hens laying nearly a dozen eggs per day, twenty pounds of potatoes, and plenty of butter, flour, and other staples. No one’s going hungry here, no matter how lean the bank account might look!
As much as I’d like to escape some of my first-world problems while overseas, sadly I cannot.
Life just doesn’t stop here because I’m there.
There have been trips almost cut short because of fevers so high in one of the children they were having seizures. Other trips have been stopped before I even left the country due to emergency surgery.
The hardest part of moving from one home to another is leaving behind the memories. Yes, I have missed certain elements of a specific home’s layout (I still think the huge laundry closet located in the kitchen of the very first home that we owned was brilliant) or just an overall place (our home in Washington will forever be in my heart). But it’s the memories that happened in those spaces that made me ache as we pulled away from the curb, no matter how thrilled I was to be moving on.
These things we mothers do, quickly, without thinking. Walking down the stairs? Might as well grab a cloth and wipe fingerprints off the banister as I go. Quick stop in the restroom? Give me a second to clean the toothpaste out of the sink as I wash my hands.
I cried. I’ll tell you that right up front, so that you pick up the thread of this post with its full weight. I cried right there at the table, that laughing, overwhelmed cry that requires you to grab someone and hold them a little too tight for just a little too long.
On this day a year ago, I had no idea that this place I now call home even existed.
I met Babita when she was 12, two years after we first placed her picture on our refrigerator.
It was the summer of 2009, and finally, yes, finally, after years of prayer, I was in Nepal, a country that God had placed in my heart before I ever knew a thing about it.
There she was, at a children’s home in Kathmandu, where she had come to stay a few years earlier. It was an awkward meeting in front of the other children, me handing her a teddy bear just like all the others that each of our children, who at that point numbered five, had tucked in their beds at home.