June 9, 2019

A Year of Lasts

Last Saturday - on June 1 - we attended the local homeschool graduation ceremony, as we have the first Saturday in June for a few years now. As in past years, we've been acquainted with most of the graduates' families and know a few quite well. So it was exciting and touching to share in their joy.

Afterward in the lobby one of my good friends chirped, "So, next year this'll be you!"

Of course, I knew that. But somehow her saying it out loud at the venue right after the ceremony hit me like a ton of bricks, and it dawned on me: Everything we do as a homeschooling family going forward from this day will be...a last. 

It's not that our everyday lives will instantly change the moment the four of us descend from the stage next year, the girls with diplomas in hand. They'll continue to live at home next summer as each makes final preparations for her immediate post-secondary plans that fall - I fully intend to milk as much out of that season with them as possible too! And, even as they embark on their respective adventures, I anticipate we'll still be "tight" as Jeff and I help them navigate through new waters; if we've done our job right, they'll remember their roots even as they also spread their wings.

But things will change when they're not living here for several months at a crack. When we won't start our days together with great "morning meet-up" conversation around the kitchen table. When I won't check their academic progress daily. When we won't plan for the father-child campout, winter snowball, and spring formal. When I won't give and get a handful of hugs each day and can't pop into one of their rooms for "just a minute" but end up staying for an hour to chat about one important matter or another.

And so - even though I've tried in my human weakness and sin to be as fully "present" as possible every day of both of their lives since each drew her first breath - the importance of each day in this last year of my girls' "childhood" seems magnified. Somehow I want each moment to make an impression, and I want to linger over each activity just a little. So we don't forget it. And yet we need to enjoy it all, so I somehow need to do that without being maudlin and melancholy!

I am so torn. I don't want the girls to stay little...except when I do. Yet that's obviously not possible so there's no sense in wanting it anyway. On the other hand, I am so excited for the plans God has given to each of them and for how He'll direct their paths beyond what we can see so far...except it means they won't be here with me, at least not as much or in the same way. I want to cling to the past and to every "last" of the coming year without letting my momma-longings get in the way of the girls' dreams for their next steps.

As I have with every milestone before - and will with all to come down the line - all I can do is take one day at a time, keep striving to be fully present, and trust God to guide me through. But if you talk to me over the next year and I seem a little "schizophrenic," give me grace. This year of lasts has arrived more quickly than my heart could have imagined even though my head always knew it was right around the corner. I'm a big jumble of anticipation and grief and joy and regret and loss and pride, and I have no idea which will prevail at any given moment.

And if I seem "missing in action" now and then over the next twelve months, you'll know where I am: enjoying a "last" with my precious girls.

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