There was a moment (or maybe a few) when I was pregnant with my daughter that I hoped I’d have twins. I had one of those strange “feelings” that one child was all I would ever have. It was more than one of those “You did this to me!” moments directed towards my husband. Rather, it was an internal acknowledgment that somehow, like Melanie in Gone with Wind, I was not built for carrying and birthing babies.
Then my baby was born a preemie, all 5 pounds of her, and I realized that my body WAS built for birthing babies. I was euphoric (or maybe that was the drugs). I helped God create a beautiful wonder, and I marveled at the perfectness of every inch of her body. I wailed when I had to leave her in the NICU, and I experienced literal heartache every time visiting hours were over.
Fast forward thirteen years, and the heartache is back. For my little girl is little no longer, and I will never have another child again. Unless the Lord himself comes down and tells my husband “Thou Shalt Adopt,” that is.
I’m realizing that I homeschooled as much for the state of my own heart as I did for my daughter’s education. Homeschooling prolonged the time I got to spend with her. It gave the two of us special, concrete things to do together. I am not very imaginative when it comes to play, so I latched on to homeschooling as a means of spending quality time. It fed my heart to see her develop into the brilliant-minded girl she is today. The heartache at seeing my baby grow up didn’t feel so painful when I had her with me.
And now the heartache is back. But just as I knew being in the NICU was what my child needed those first few days of her early life, today I know she is where she needs to be. My husband just called me after dropping her off at school. I asked if she was nervous or anxious, and he told me that she was smiling and happy. She was where she needs to be. Out of the nest.
I blinded myself to this transition. Over a year ago, she started telling me that she didn’t want me to be “Teacher.” She wanted me to be “just a mom.” I failed to listen to the meaning behind her words and assumed she was just chafing at having to do whatever work had been assigned. Now it feels like scales are dropping from my eyes as I see her anew in this schooling hybrid.
This transition has been anything but easy. I am cratering under four teachers’ requirements and what feels like a ton of expectations. Going into this, I had no idea it would be so difficult to cede control over. It’s as if I have/she has four bosses. But I know that learning to comply with multiple expectations will only HELP her in the long run. It will also help me learn to transition from teacher to just a mom.
I have cried. A lot. Yesterday my husband just about gave up on me and retreated into an emotional concrete bunker to get away from my over-the-top histrionics. I don’t blame him. I want to get away from me, too. I will emerge from this semester a better mom and wife, right?
It helps to know that she is in the right place. When she walked out the door this morning with her hair pulled back in a hairband and her uniform all fresh and clean, she gave me a huge grin and said,
“I really enjoy early mornings like this!”
Of course, I didn’t remind her that just an hour earlier when she first woke up she nearly cried from exhaustion. I was happy to see her smile. Right then and there I offered mental praise to the Lord for showing me her heart. He knew this is what she needed for this time in her life…and, whether I want to admit it or not, He knew this is what I needed, also. It is comforting to know that Father still knows best!
“…for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!”