Normally we are doing school during school days, but we had some special stuff going on that afternoon. Then we'd finish our school work when we got back home.
As we sat in the restaurant, I looked around mesmerized at what I saw. At least two very long tables full of ladies about my age, were wearing exercise clothes, all having a grand time gabbing and visiting. I stared. My heart sank.
That's what people do.
They go to the gym to work out together while their children are in school. Then they meet out for lunch somewhere while their children are in school. I felt a pang of sadness and jealousy for a moment there. I gazed at them longingly. And thought about how the only way I can get a work-out is to do it in the cold and the dark at 6:30 a.m. while everyone in my house is asleep because my children are always home. And the rest of my day is spent teaching them. Then taking them to lessons and activities. Haven't had lunch with a girlfriend in ages.
But my 5 year old looked at me and smiled brightly with her sweet little eyes looking up at me trustingly. She snapped me out of my trance. We talked and hugged while we waited, and she asked me questions such as, "Are baby penguins bad?" She's so happy, I thought. She's with me. Then I went home and had a really fun afternoon my children, with lively and meaningful discussions. We laugh a lot. They're my friends.
I realized that with homeschooling, I'm right where I want to be.
This got me thinking back to all the wonderful and fun things that my children and I have experienced together over the years, during weekday school hours. We would have missed so much of this, probably all of this, if we hadn't been homeschooling. I'll take this list any day, and do lunch with friends when I'm a grandma.
- As the school bus was taking children to school one weekday, I was on my morning walk and I saw a turtle on the sidewalk. When I got home, I told the children (who were just waking up and still in their pajamas) about the turtle, and we all got in the car and rode to see the turtle.
- The oldest three children were home those precious days after the birth of their baby sisters. They were home when the baby learned to roll on its back, but then was stuck there like a beetle. They were home for all the exciting milestones.
- My two-year-old said the following about his baby sister: "Elizabeth's blood vessels seem to be turning into a dull red."
- We've gone on vacations to very cool places that are normally extremely crowded, but we go in the off season when everyone else is in school, and it's less expensive. Once we were at a popular amusement park that has hour-long lines to go on roller coasters. We had the place to ourselves to the point where the roller coaster employees would let us take another turn around on the ride, without even getting off.
- My daughter sat in my lap at the piano one day, and as I played she said, "Mommy, your fingers are dancing."
- When my son was 8 he hugged my leg and said, "I'm so glad I live here with you. You're so sweet."
- One day I read to the children about archeology during science. The next day at 7:30 a.m. my child was outside in the yard, digging up rocks and even a huge boulder. He came in and hugged me, then told me the big rock was too heavy to lift, so he'd made a lever and "that made it hop up."
- My 4 year old kissed me on the cheek, told me she loved me and said, "I'm so glad God gave me a mommy."
- At the park one day I locked my keys in our car. No one else was at this park but us. We were out of water, had no bathrooms, no cell phone in those days. A policeman pulled into the parking lot and got the keys out for us. The children and I marveled that this was no coincidence, but God had sent a policeman to us that day.
- During a history lesson we got to talking about Joseph from the Bible and his jealous brothers. My young child said, "Joseph's brothers should have been content with the things that they had, for He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'" This elementary aged child was quoting scripture and applying it to events in history.
- And, most recently, just a few days ago actually, during a literature lesson with my 11th grader, our book asked the question: What is the greatest virtue? My son thought about it for a second. "Fear of God," he said. "Everything else falls into place if you have that."