Looking Back, Full Steam Ahead

Looking back, I proclaim 2011 to have been the Year of the Roller Coaster.  There were so many twists and turns through my life journey that it’s difficult to even remember all of them.  Truthfully, the year was filled with much angst, pain, panic attacks, and poor health — but also with love, life, and peace that defies human understanding.  I still do not know how I mustered the courage to power through some of the tasks set before me.  If someone had told me last January that by the end of the year I would have successfully had a hysterectomy, I would never have believed it.

If someone told me that I would turn in my “homeschooling mom” credentials by the beginning of 2012, I would never have believed that, either.  I am living proof of this verse:

 In his heart a man plans his course,
but the LORD determines his steps.
Proverbs 16:9

Beginning tomorrow, my identity as “homeschool mom” will be replaced with “school mom.”  Frankly, I feel a bit lost.  Here’s a snapshot of my girl back in our early days of homeschooling.  She’s holding a watermelon we grew in our garden:

Do you see those dimples and those sweet, chubby cheeks? Oh, be still my heart.

Now, I blinked my eyes one time, and suddenly here she is….transformed into a young lady of 13:

Time isn’t just marching on.  It feels like time is racing ahead faster than I can keep up!

I’ve heard from all my daughter’s teachers — every one of them has been encouraging and kind.  But the fact remains that someone else will determine the curriculum.  Someone else will determine my daughter’s grades. Someone else will hear her jokes, watch her smile, and be a guiding influence as she grows and matures into the lovely young woman God has created.  All I can say is…thank goodness her school only meets three days a week rather than five…or else I would be a mess!  This is a bigger transition, probably, for me, than it will be for her.  I have abdicated some of my responsibility —  MOST of my responsibility — and that is scary.  I won’t be there to remind her to put her name on her paper.  She hasn’t had to have proper headings on her papers because, well, she’s been the only student now for six years!  Mostly I’ll just miss being in the same room with her, sharing her space, feasting my eyes on this strange, beautiful girl the Lord somehow shaped out of me and my sweet hubby.  She’s too old and too big to sit in mamma’s lap, but she does still like to give us generous hugs. Now that she is taller than me, she curls her head on my shoulder and pats my back.  The back patting has been a routine of hers since infancy!  Now someone else will get the back pats — at least during school hours.

Is it obvious that I am not necessarily going into this transition with rainbows and doves and a smiling heart?  More like kicking and screaming, probably.

But parents do what is best for their children. The Lord has shown me that it’s time.

This will be the year that my daughter will fly out of the nest.

As for me? I’m scared to death, but I shall wait on the Lord.  Perhaps this will be the year that I, too, will spread my wings, try something new, write a novel, take a class, spread a little joy…full steam ahead!

2 thoughts on “Looking Back, Full Steam Ahead

  1. Well, again (and somewhat unfortunately) I can relate. We have officially decided that Gabriella is going to high school next year. Real high school. PUBLIC high school! Like, full time and everything.

    (Kill me now)

    We hadn’t really planned on it, but we found out there is an early college high school (a free public charter school) very near our house, through the University of Toledo. Basically, if all goes well her first two years, she should be taking a full load of college courses her junior and senior year, and then graduating as an incoming college junior. Two years of totally free college. As a family who can NOT afford college yet won’t qualify for federal aid, we just couldn’t turn our nose up at that!

    It is very hard to get into this school, they ONLY take incoming freshman and there is a rigorous testing/screening/interviewing process…only 100 total students are accepted a year from the entire county. I very honestly almost hoped that she wasn’t good enough! I prayed that if it wasn’t God’s will, she wouldn’t get in or pass the tests and if it was His will, she’d do very well. So, guess who got in? And actually had the second highest test scores??

    (Again, kill me now!)

    So, we just found out she got accepted a couple of weeks ago and I’m going back and forth from being in denial to a full on panic attack over the whole thing. I can’t believe I’m almost out of time with her. That’s how it feels, out of time. Obviously school doesn’t even start until August, but I feel lost already. I’m so worried she won’t be her anymore after she’s exposed to all the crap out there! It isn’t a Christian school, not a homeschool or sheltered environment, just a straight up public school! (ARGH!) Not to mention that she’ll be spending her time with COLLEGE students by her 16th birthday and that thought gives me hives.

    Can you tell I’m not totally on board with this plan?

    Sorry this is so long. I am just so distraught over whether or not this is the right decision and I’m mourning the loss of my daughter in a way. This is HARD. Honestly, I almost wish I’d have just sent her to kindergarten!

    Anyway, I can’t wait to hear how your daughter LOVES it and simply blossoms in school. 🙂 I can then pretend that my daughter will be just fine.

  2. Once again, we relate on several different levels!! 🙂

    Let me step aside from the me inside that is kicking and screaming about tomorrow’s First Day of School and share with you the good news — I have several friends whose 100% home schooled children successfully went to public high school. One of these girls just started her freshman year this year and is doing very well.

    It occurred to me the other day that I am not just sending my girl off all by herself. The Lord Himself is with her, always. It’s the same with your girl. Since God’s fingerprints are all over these transitions, you’d think we would be able to step back, smile, and watch them take flight!

    For me…it comes down to trust and control.

    I’ll pray for your transition if you will pray for ours! (It doesn’t help that her first day just happens to be a milestone birthday for me…so I”m feeling really OLD on top of everything else!)

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