I reluctantly agreed to homeschool my children when they were younger because I was, well, younger, and could still recall my own private/public school experiences. Junior high was a particularly troublesome time for me, due to my environment and my ability to naturally gravitate toward trouble. With a capitol T. I realized early after giving birth to my own children that they shared my gene pool.
So I homeschool them.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Tonight I drove Cailey to a birthday party for a dear friend of hers who was also turning 12. We were too far from home to return before the party ended, so I promised Emme some mom/daughter shopping time at the mall. She was very excited at the prospect. I thought back a hundred or so years ago to my own 14 year old self, and a mom/daughter shopping trip would have been the LAST thing on my wish list. The age of 12 was about the time that my relationship with my mother disintegrated and she found herself living with an alien. And unpleasant alien. The relationship continued to crumble throughout my turbulent teen years and on into adulthood. It wasn’t until I gave birth that I fully realized the extent of the hurt caused by my pulling away. But since my mother had died just after I learned I was pregnant with Emme, I was never able to really reconcile and fully apologize for the hurtfulness and the folly of that lost teenaged girl.
A benefit of homeschooling is the constant contact I have with my children. I almost choke on those words, because it’s even when I’m seriously considering BOARDING SCHOOL IN A REALLY HARSH CLIMATE, I do see the rewards of being so intertwined (particularly) in my daughter’s life. Not that that can’t happen if your kids are in school, I just know the types of people and situations that I was involved with in my own life. I made some horrible decisions. My parents had no idea.
Let me make this really clear. Homeschooling is not for everyone. Such a personal decision. AND IT’S REALLY REALLY HARD.
I hope I’m crystal clear about that.
Anyhoo. Tonight I sat in the van chatting with my 14 year old daughter. We stopped at Starbucks for Tall sustenance (this was her first Frappaccino NOT SHARED). Then we perused the food court and the mall. For an hour and a half I chatted and laughed with my girl as we window shopped. I often marvel about how open she is with me about her thoughts, feelings, and insecurities. And this kid is really really funny. I got a glimpse tonight into the type of adult she will be and the kind of relationship we will likely enjoy.
I thought to myself, WHAT A GIFT. I’ve watched her mature so much in the last year or so. Not that we won’t have issues in the future, or that she won’t punch her brother in the throat when she’s had a belly full. But I believe that Fiddledaddy and I have forged a solid foundation with this teenaged young woman. And for that I’m so grateful.
I write this moment down so that I can hold it close to my heart the next time we go head to head over math or when ALL THE HORMONES ARE FIRING. I can re-read about this tender time the next time I’m in my closet and hear my son report to his father, “DAD, MOM’S BEEN IN THE CLOSET FOR A REALLY REALLY LONG TIME!”
It’s the little things that we cling to.