There are alot of changes coming my way. I haven't really allowed myself the luxury of truly contemplating them. Occasionally they sneak up on my cluttered brain and I manage to suppress them again. But this morning I woke up with the realizations slapping me in the face. I don't know why they were so heavily on my mind upon wakening. Perhaps I had dreamt and don't recall the dream. Nonetheless I have to face the facts that a change is a comin'...
I have homeschooled Son #3 his entire life. He has never been in school. He is the only one of my four children that I can say that about. The others spent a year or two in public elementary school or some middle school. Even Daughter has left this year to go to the Ballet School. But Son #3? Well he has been with me everyday of each year while all the others came and went.
He is preparing to turn fourteen years old and next year will be attending our local high school. I always planned to send the kids to high school rather than homeschooling. Now it is his turn.
Yesterday we were sitting here finishing up some of his lessons and he said,
"Three more weeks and I am done. I can't wait to be finished."
I knew what he meant. I knew he meant that he was ready for summer vacation. What teenage boy isn't? But then I interjected a thought,
"Yep. In three weeks you are finished. We will have completed our ten years of homeschooling together. You won't ever homeschool again."
I felt his eyes upon me. Quietly he responded,
"I hadn't thought about that."
I didn't look over at him. I thought that I could get kind of teary-eyed about it and I did not want him to think that I didn't want him to move on. Because I do. I want it for him. I know how much he has to offer and how much there is for him to accomplish. It's just there will be an adjustment for me. Adjusting to the fact that for 14 years he has been home with me - no matter what. Son #3 has always been my constant.
To further continue my pity party, my mind turned to the thought of Son #1 graduating in three weeks. I know that there is no way to hold back all of the tears on that day. Especially when I feel them well up on me nearly daily now and I fight to dam them up as it is.
Again, I am happy for Son #1. He has completed his time and is ready to embark on the next level of his journey. And I do want that for him. It's just there will be an adjustment for me. Adjusting to the fact that for 18 years he has always been here. My go-to guy. I have always counted on him.
It started when he was a mere 18 months old. He entertained his baby brother while I cooked dinner. He brought me diapers when Son #3 came along. He held Daughter's hand when we crossed the street. Need the dog taken out? He's there. Need the trash taken out? He's there. Need the laundry hampers carried down? He's there. And as of late, he has become my chauffeuring partner in crime. Each day asking,
"Mom, do you need me to pick up or take anyone today?"
I have come to rely upon those two of my babies very heavily. They are the two always there to watch a movie with me. Share a snack. Go for ice cream. They have been my tagalongs. Always there. Always around. And it has been great.
In creating a family everyone plays a part. Their role in the family is decided early and then you just live life with those roles. They were also each the older of the pair. I mean Son #1 was big brother to Son #2 and that made him "Mommy's helper." Then when Daughter was born, Son #1 and #2 were already in school, so that made Son #3 the big brother and helper. To this day, Son #1 and Son #3 can be counted upon.
Knowing that in a short time Son #1 will not be there when I yell down the stairs is freaking me out. Realizing that I have eaten lunch with Son #3 everyday - EVERY SINGLE DAY for the past 14 years and that soon I will eat without his company is difficult to imagine.
I think I have formed amazing relationships with my kids.
It's not just that their absence is looming over my head.
We are close.
We have bonded.
It's just -
We have come to rely on each other and expect the consistency of our roles in the family. We each have played our parts for the past 18 years. It's who we are as a family. As an entity. As a cast.
Mommy. Baby. Mom. Child. Big Brother. Helper. Teacher. Student. Counselor. Mother. Adult.
The roles are about to change and that change coexists with their absence. This changes our show. We will no longer be the same act.
I don't think they will ever realize how much I have loved their company. Their time. Their roles.
So to Son #1 and Son #3 I leave you with this -
You played your parts splendidly.
As you leave the stage, I am standing on my feet,
... applauding proudly,
... shouting "ENCORE, ENCORE"
...and I wish that upon hearing me call for more,
...you could each return to the stage.
...to our family as we have always known it.
Obviously, our family circus will be a tough act to follow but I have no doubt you will be great in whatever your next starring role.