The school year was ending and I pictured summertime full of lazy reading days with the peanuts. Water. Beach. Fun.
Somehow this summer didn’t quite meet those expectations…wasn’t even in the ballpark. Instead it was a summer full of illness, surgeries, excessive heat, changed plans, and juggled schedules. The kids watched more movies than books read. I took more pain pills than vitamins. And we seemed to scramble from one drama to the next holding our breath. Although while I fought to keep my emotions in check.
Summer was a bummer.
Last week I began to gear up for the new school year. The homeschool bell was fixin’ to ring (if we had one, of course). And school would be back in session.
Instead of a lazy weekend getting ready to start the new year we were hours away saying goodbye to my loving grandfather as his life ended. I was a mess.
Through texts and emails friends and family urged me on Sunday not to pursue the start of school on Monday. “Take a few days off.” “Rest.” “It will wait.” And while their worries and sentiment were appreciated no one understood.
We needed school to start. Because that is our normal.
Crayons. Glue. Storybooks. Projects. Laying on our bellies in the living room discovering far off lands in the pages open between us. Reading Bible stories and singing scripture. Homeschool is the breath of our family. And we needed a deep breath. We needed normal.
Over-tired and overstimulated from the weekend. The kids slept in. That’s okay, they’ll be well rested.
Trying to take some fun back to school pictures. The kids began to cry because the sun was in their eyes…everything was too bright. When I called off those pictures. The kids began to cry, again. That’s okay, I’ll find a way to turn this around.
We had tears pictures. Arguments over who wanted to sit where or how they looked at each other. There was wiggling, complaining, back talk. This is not okay, I want to throw the book across the room and just cry.
This was not our normal. This is not what I craved. Longed for. This was hard.
But normal is a rhythm. Not a goal. I breathed deep, spoke softly and kept going.
And then somewhere in the middle of the afternoon, it came. A few minutes where I taught, they listened. We laughed and poured over books together. Like a cool drink of water on a hot day it felt refreshing all the way to my core.
The phone rang. The moment was broken. But it was there.
Romans 5:4 tells us that perseverance builds character and character builds hope. Yesterday God helped me over a huge hurdle and I began to teach my children a lesson. We don’t quit when it is hard or not what we expected. We were buildin’ some character, let me tell you!!
Life isn’t pretty. And it rarely goes as we’ve planned. If I had stopped we’d never of had those moments of peace, those reminders of why we do this.
As I write to you to now, my little man is laying on the floor next to me (flanked by our dogs) working on his phonics. Happily. Our sweet princess is sitting in the living room singing praise songs while chipping away at her math. Joyfully. Contentedly.
Father, I thank you for the normal days of life. For the rhythms of family, home and life that whisper your grace to burden hearts and tired bodies. Amen.