You see, I think in the world today, in the society that we live in, most mothers (and fathers, as well) do look back at some point and realize that they've missed a lot, that their children have somehow "grown up overnight" and then the parents suddenly yearn for those times when their children were small again.
But up until recently, I've never felt like that. When you think about it, it makes sense: most parents feel like they've missed out on a lot because they truly have missed out on a lot. They miss out on everything their child is doing while they're at work and their child is either in day care or at school. We homeschoolers always talk about the fact that children spend at least 15,000 hours of their lives sitting in school. Figure in eight hours a day of day care from six weeks old through kindergarten (10,240 more hours) and you've got over 25,000 hours -- that's 1,500,000 minutes of their lives that parent are missing out on.
Can you just imagine? One million, five hundred thousand minutes of your child's life that you've missed out on. That's the equivalent of nearly three years!!! No wonder parents feel like they're missing out!
But, I'm wandering away from my point. My point is not to make anyone feel bad if they are stuck in one of those situations where they have to miss out on part of their child's life. My point is, first of all, that being a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom gives us such an awesome blessing. We know we're being a blessing to our children by being there for them, but we're also immersing ourselves into blessings as well.
It's hard to feel like you've missed out on something when you haven't. When you've truly been there all the time - every step, every milestone, every word, every skill learned, and just as importantly (or perhaps more so), every lazy summer afternoon watching clouds, every cold winter day drinking hot chocolate and reading good books, every spring thunderstorm watched with wide eyes, every walk through the falling leaves in autumn - there is no feeling of having missed out.
When you have known every thing going on in your child's life, in their hearts and minds, every hope, every dream, every fear and every worry, when nothing gets by you because your life and your child's life are so deeply ingrained in one another that you literally feel their joys and their pains, you're not missing out on anything.
I am so thankful for the blessing to have been able to be home with my children all this time. I've been an official stay-at-home-mom for nearly seven and a half years now, since I found out I was pregnant with Jake back in January of 2003.
Lately, though, I have had this tugging feeling that I am missing some things. It has been heavy on my heart and I know the reason why I am feeling this way. You see, the entire last school year seems like a blur to me. I couldn't tell you with exactness just what we did, who learned what or what we really accomplished. I also realized just the other day that I don't know when the last time I went in my daughters' room for anything other than to give them laundry was.
I am feeling this way because since last August, every day of the week (M-F anyway), we have had other children at our house. Now, don't get me wrong. These kids (my nephews and niece) are not bad kids, not hard to handle or anything. I am glad that I have been able to offer help when needed and I don't regret it. But I haven't had the one-on-one face time with my own kids that I'm so used to, and it's been eating away at me.
The good news: my sister-in-law (my brother's wife) will be staying home and homeschooling her own kids this next year, so I won't have them, and this Wednesday (yes, in just two days!) is the last day I will have my niece (Tony's brother's daughter). After that, she'll be staying with her grandmother.
So, after this week, life should be back to normal. I'll be able to actually clean house and keep it clean again (yay!) and have time to read and write as much as I want. But more importantly, I'll have the time to sit and talk, or read, or draw, or stare at clouds, or whatever, with my own children again. I'll be able to go into my daughters' room with them and play or read or just hang out without having to worry about babies or toddlers wandering in and getting into things they don't need to have! I'll be able to spend that one-on-one time with my son, that time that is so crucial to determining his attitude for the day.
I thank God for the amazing blessing of time with my kids. Perhaps this past year has been in part His way of reminding me how good I have it and not to take this time for granted. I want to be able to look back twenty years from now and know that I didn't miss a thing.