Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of our lives. A day that will radically alter our season as a family. We get these kinds of days several times throughout our lifetime and sometimes life changes more than we ever thought – sometimes it’s not as big of a transition as we thought.
For our family, tomorrow brings the beginning of public school life and the end of 6 years of homeschooling. But bigger than the schooling part of it, will bring an altering of the reason WHY we have homeschooled for 6 years and what kinds of changes our family will be living in because of that decision.
Six years ago, our family said ‘yes’ to leaving a stable pastorate position. We said ‘yes’ to letting go of any normality or organized daily lifestyle. We said ‘yes’ to leaving our 3600 square foot home for a 2-bedroom apartment with no kitchen that was situated above a church gymnasium. We said ‘yes’ to traveling wherever and whenever the Lord pulled on us. That could mean overnight just a couple hours down the interstate to minister at a church on Sunday morning. That could mean flying our family of 5 (at the time) across the ocean to live in France for 3 months. (Mind you, 2 out of 3 kids had never flown and none of them had flown internationally.) We said ‘yes’ to a lifestyle of flexibility, of adaptability, and a lifestyle of adventure.
But, though some parts of this lifestyle will change drastically, some will stay the same. My husband’s job description does not change. He will still be on the road more than he is home. Buying plane tickets will continue to be a regular part of my life. The kids and I might still even jump in the car with him for an overnight weekend ministry trip. But our family now won’t have the flexibility to jump in the car and go with him across the country for 2 weeks.
We will go to bed early and wake up early – instead of being in church services til 10:00 pm with a meal afterwards that we haul our family (now 6 of us) to because we can start our day in the morning as late as we chose. Homeschooling is cool like that. Homeschooling, for us, has been cool like that because we could do it anywhere – hotel room, someone else’s dining room table, a train making it’s way across the hills of France or a plane soaring over the Atlantic, taking us home. But public school isn’t like that. Kids have to be at the bus stop on time. They don’t come home til evening. And missing more than a handful of scheduled days will land a truancy officer at your doorstep. (Homeschooling means doing some summer days if needed.)
But, it’s time for a change. We don’t take any decision lightly when it will change the dynamics of our family life so drastically. But, we also don’t make decisions to stay in the same routine and life-plan just because it might be scary… or stretch us a bit. So I’m excited about the new plan. And equally scared about the new plan.
Most mamas who have this scary-excited feeling are saying goodbye to their kindergartener at the door of the school in the morning. I’m saying goodbye to a 7th grader and a 9th grader as they hop on a bus and leave me for the day. I’m thrilled for them. Nervous for them. Thrilled for me. Nervous for me. A bit hesitant to say goodbye to our family’s flexible and free lifestyle but also pretty excited to say yes to a bit of organization and routine.
So, tomorrow’s the day. The day I’m feeling scary-excited for. On one hand, just another day in life. On the other hand, the first day of the rest of our lives – or of this season. And one thing I’ve learned as I’ve walked this family journey for over 18 years. Seasons come and seasons go. And every time, it’s a little bit scary and a lot a bit exciting.