The First Day of My Last Year Homeschooling
Very early this morning
our youngest went off
to her dual credit college class
my last year of homeschooling.
Her senior year in high school
begins the ending
of my long homeschooling career.
I have loved it.
It has been both wild and woolly:
challenging and cozy,
freeing and fabulous.
It was a lot of work;
sometimes the discipline of hanging back
and letting them discover for themselves
was the most difficult part.
For years I spent months
juggling, buying, and organizing books;
this year I bought only one
but it cost a small fortune.
when you’ve taught
where does homeschooling stop
and mere motherhood remain;
it is all balled up for me,
Today we are skyping with her older sister
to select books left in her room at home
to mail to California where
her first big professional job
is about to commence.
And today we mailed cookies to her older brother
as he launches his junior year at Swarthmore
pursuing six classes this fall
after working there all summer
without coming home.
So parenting continues from afar
after their sweet homeschooling days are over.
But here with our youngest
poised to spring out of homeschooling
it is like peering at an image in a slow motion camera
focused on a frog bending its knees in a deep squat
to better thrust off from solid ground
in a leveraged burst of unselfconsciousness –
born to hop away;
the direction and arc are clear,
but I observe it reverently
noticing every infinitesimally incremental detail
cherishing each second
for it will go fast
and all too soon our frog will land
with a splash in her destiny
that isn’t only about her because
we nurtured her, prepared her, and let her go.
I am no longer needed much
except for food and college applications.
I’ll drive her to pottery and music theory
and will teach her to drive.
She doesn’t need me to help her
get rigged up for her online AP Physics class
or map out a plan
for all her remaining independent study.
But my role as devoted watcher,
enabler, facilitator, and supporter
remains in a lengthy holding pattern,
circling in limbo
available to swoop in and be there
whenever she sporadically seeks it.
The baton has already been passed;
she is in charge
of herself, her education and her future.
Her path has been a custom one,
designed just for her
to accommodate her specific uniqueness,
and she’s growing into owning it fully
with genuine grace,
an amazing level of authenticity,
and very little trepidation.
My last year of being a homeschooler
feels a lot more like just being a mom
of yet another young adult.
I look back on the golden years
with fond wistfulness
and it seems very soon
all the frogs will have hopped
far out of the frame.
This year I am riveted to
taking in and treasuring
the beauty of its lingering presence
with thankfulness and hope.