A couple of things happened yesterday that reminded me anew of how blessed we are to live the life we are living and to be able to homeschool our children. This was only the second rehearsal of the year. Before it even got started, the choir director and I both noticed that the little boy sitting next to Evan was crying. Big crocodile tears, sniffles, red eyes, the whole bit. My colleague went to the child and talked with him and tried to comfort him. It seemed she made a little progress but a short time later I looked back at the child and he was crying as hard as before. I went over to him and suggested that he take a break, go to the back of the room, sit by the parent attendant for a little while and maybe get a drink of water or go to the bathroom, coming back to rehearsal when he felt better. He looked at me with big, sad eyes and said, "I miss my mom." :-( I told him his mom would be back for him soon. He did take me up on my suggestion and after a little break came back to rehearsal, but the tears continued off and on for the rest of the hour-long practice. I felt so sorry for that little boy who had probably been at school all day long and was already exhausted and wanted nothing more than the comfort of home and family for the rest of the day.
Later, after rehearsal, I chatted outside with the choir director and traffic parent for a few minutes. As I watched Evan run around on the grass with other children waiting for their parents, I joked about how much my isolated, homeschooled child enjoyed this weekly social time. The traffic mom suddenly perked up.
"You homeschool?" Yes, we do. "How long have you done that?" Since my oldest, a college sophomore, was in second grade. "And you did it all along?" Why, yes, we did. The woman's face expressed deep longing. "I wish we could homeschool. We had [her son] in private school for a while but now that we have two more children we can't afford it anymore. I work from home during the day and have another job a few nights a week and I just feel like I don't have enough time with my children, you know?" Yes, I said. I know. Being with our kids is probably the number one reason we homeschool. "I would really love to do it," she said. "I just don't know if I can." I told her she could certainly do as good a job as any school--that schools don't have it figured out any more than we as parents do. And most important, she would be able to spend more time with her children.
About that time some child somewhere needed to be told to not do whatever stupid, life-threatening thing he was doing. Our conversation ended, but I told her to let me know if she had any more questions about homeschooling.
I thank God that as I write this blog post my youngest child is in the same room with me, giggling about the Calvin & Hobbes strip that he read last night. There, but for the grace of God, goes a sad, little boy with tear-stained cheeks, surrounded by strangers, longing for his mommy to put her arms around him. And here by the grace of God sits a mommy who can give those hugs whenever they're needed, and who, truth be told, needs them herself as much as or more than he does.