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Wasted Hours

We worry about what a child will becomeThe other night, I sat at the table with papers spread about. In those papers were the details and road map of the last 14 years of my homeschooling journey with A. Of particular note, were her high school years as I set out to document her coursework for her transcripts.

My stomach knotted as I shuffled the papers. So many years passed far too quickly. Tucked within the pages of records, I found treasures more valuable than all the gold in the land. The scribbles of a 5-year-old. My fingers traced the crooked letters. A card written by my 3rd grader learning to write a proper “thank you note”. I smiled back at the simple heart next to her name. A poem written in 7th grade to memorize the countries of Africa and the doodle on a random page of Chemistry notes. All reflections of a journey that began when she was 4  with a box of crayons and a coloring book and will end this spring with a cap and gown.

As I recorded class names and grades, I thought about who she was then and who she is now. And I realized, at the core, she is who she was at the beginning; my animal lover with an indomitable spirit. She’s always had a strong sense of self and an even stronger sense of right and wrong. Rarely, does she see the “gray” in life’s conflicts, but she’s come to accept that gray is usually there. She is and always has been introverted, but she’s unfailingly faithful to those lucky enough to be let into her heart.

As the evening progressed, I moved the papers from one stack to the other. 9th grade, 10th grade, 11th grade all recorded and documented in advance of my meeting with the director of the school that will issue her official transcripts. A journey summarized on a page, but not reflected are the hours I worried about who and what she would become. Now, as we round the bend to the finish line, I realize the error of those wasted hours. She is who she’s always been, my wonderful, beautiful, amazing A.

Roots and Wings

wings 2

It’s the special bedtime story, the birthday traditions, the favorite family game. It’s the stories that are shared time and time again, the inside family jokes, the favorite meal, the annual holiday movie. It’s the snuggles when they are small and the cuddles to mend a broken heart. It’s knowing almost every line to a favorite movie, the name of a well-loved toy, and the acceptance they hate seams on their socks and shoes with narrow toes. It is the reassurance of  love, regardless of stumbles, and the promise to lift them up, dust them off, and set them on their path again. We give them roots.

We watch them fly, short flights at first, not far from the nest. It’s a slumber party, an afternoon at the mall with friends, a movie date. They cautiously test their wings, and we watch, ready to catch. We smile while our hearts leap with joy and with fear. We reassure as their flights grow longer, more distant. It’s an overnight leadership meeting, a week-long service trip, a month abroad, college in another state. Some days, there are screams of delight, other days tears that make your heart-break, but you listen as they find their own solutions. We grow in trust, in them and in ourselves, and they the same. And, in a blink, we let go. We give them wings.

#NaBloPoMo Day 19