23 years! I barely remember the time in my life when I wasn’t homeschooling. 23 years is a long time and its all about to end.
At the end of this 24th year my twin daughters will graduate and so will I.
No longer will I search each fall for the best curriculum.
No longer will I stock up on school supplies, buying countless cheap spiral notebooks just because they are on sale.
No longer will I sign up for countless activities that I’m sure will train, shape and mold my children.
No longer will I fret if I have taught correctly, planned for their best future adequately and given them what they need to succeed in life.
This is my final year.
Moms all face transitions in their lives. Mom’s of infants are filled with both joy and sadness when their little one achieves milestones. When they quit nursing, moms feel free to go out alone but hate going out alone. Their little one’s first step brings joy but the awareness that they are growing too fast.
Working Moms face a great transition when returning to work after their baby’s birth or as they send their little one off to daycare or Kindergarten for the first time.
We all face transition when we lose loved ones, change jobs or move to a new home.
Besides dealing with the common feelings that occur with any change, sometimes a change smacks us in the face with an identity crisis. So many of us find and define our identity by what we do. We easily mistake our roles in life for who we are.
In college I was a swimmer. Workouts 5 hours a day and an intense focus to better myself and achieve my goals led me to believe that swimming was my identify. The problem was that when I was injured and could no longer swim, I wasn’t sure who I was. Searching for my identity was a roller coaster but it led me to Jesus and there lies my true identity.
It’s 35 years later and I’m facing another identity crisis. I have proudly worn the badge, “Homeschool Mom,” for so long, it’s not going to be easy to take that badge off.
Years ago, I laid down my own desires and creative business plans. For me home schooling five kids and following the plans I had for myself didn’t mesh. I chose to make “Homeschooling Mom” my main identity. I am not sorry for my choice but now I’m faced with a transition that challenges this identity. If there is a way to wholeheartedly give yourself to raising kids and that not becoming your identity, I didn’t find it.
All moms face the rough years. It’s funny how we’re glad they are past but grieve leaving them behind. I remember the sleepless nights. I remember the completely messy house that would never stay clean. I remember the desperation I felt as I wished someone, anyone would come help me and give me a break. I remember the feelings of inadequacy, hopelessness, frustration and grief, but mostly, I remember the joy that being a mom has brought me. I remember the sweet times, the sweet faces and the sweet memories.
I am thankful that as my sons have grown and left home that my years with my twin daughters have been delightful. I’m ending on a good note and any memory that brings sorrow fades into forgetfulness.
I have faced all three of my sons leaving home.
I have been delighted and cried as two of them have fallen in love and gotten married.
I have wished the best to one as he moves far away even though my heart aches.
These have all been transitions I navigated with mixed feelings, success and failure. However, through the changes I still had the twins. Through these changes I still sat on our swing by the creek and read aloud with my girls. Through these changes I still had two girls at home who had grown into my friends and companions.
This final change, the one that challenges my identity will be life defining. How I cope will be determined by how I face these “lasts.”
No matter how hard or easy motherhood has been for any mother, the end of this season of their life is a tricky transition. We’re facing an empty nest and no mother remains unscathed in this transition. We all face a life and home without the daily presence of our children.
I want to find ways to celebrate this transition. I don’t want my heart to break. For this next year, I’m going to find ways to enjoy the “lasts.”
I WILL enjoy these “lasts.” I WILL discover the identity that doesn’t include homeschooling mom. I will find joy and delight as I learn to overcome the sorrow and loss.
I will come out on top when the last school bell rings.
Join me on my journey. The Last School Bell, will be a regular monthly blog post. As I document and traverse this tricky season, I’d love to hear from you. Facing an empty nest is such a huge and challenging event in the lives of mothers. If you’ve faced it with success please share how you did it with us. If you’re in the midst, share with us how you’re coping or questions you might have. If you’ve got a long way to go, enjoy this wonderful season of motherhood and feel free to include your insights. Let’s build a community of Moms who support each other and find victory in the difficult seasons.
Come join me on Instagram. Just one more way to stay in touch and be encouraged.