Well, I’ve been reading homeschooling articles again. Homeschool Blindspots by Reb Bradley was a recent one that made me think, and bookmark, and then go back and read again. Mostly because it made me uncomfortable. Which could be a good thing. We all need to be challenged sometimes.
But then, I am not sure I can take any more challenging right now. I’m pretty tired.
I’m tired of being second-guessed and being encouraged to second-guess myself. I’m tired of feeling defensive of the fact that we homeschool because of the assumptions other people — even the homeschoolers — make about us based on that label alone. And though it’s been years since I was young and arrogant enough to believe I had this parenting thing all figured out, I am tired of being warned about all the ways that, despite my good intentions and exhaustive efforts, I am very likely failing.
Nobody ever sold me homeschooling as a panacea for worldly temptations and sin. From almost the very beginning — no, scratch that, truly from the very beginning — I have seen its flaws and weaknesses and shortcomings all too clearly. They haunted me. They still do.
I am tired of the “Ah-Ha’s” and the “See, I told you so’s” I hear from all corners of the internet, and even in my own head sometimes, when the inevitable happens and older kids from even those “very good homeschooling families” fall into sin, or reject their parents’ values, or mess up and rebel in typical teenager-ish ways.
But mostly, I am just tired. Tired from late nights and early mornings. Tired from the mash-up of draining demands of big kids and little kids and middle kids times eight, with a home, marriage, and job thrown in for good measure.
So tired that I tear up when I read Bradley’s description of how he and his wife regret putting discipline and outward appearances before love in their own family, despite the fact that I know these failures have little to do with homeschooling. The blind spots described here are not homeschooling blind spots; they’re human ones. We’re all blind. We all judge when we shouldn’t, make selfish and prideful decisions, fall down in our faith, and fail at love.
We all get tired.
But God doesn’t throw our children into our arms and tell us, “Hey, good luck with these! You’re all they’ve got!”
We are not all they’ve got. Thank you God for that.
Tonight, after re-reading about blind spots, I made my tired way into the kitchen where I found a greasy mess from dinner that moved me almost as close to tears as the blind spots did. I grabbed a sponge and began scrubbing the stovetop. While I scrubbed, my oldest returned home from an evening out with friends and filled my ears with cheerful descriptions of the events of her day.
Tired or not, in that moment there, I had strength enough to clean a stovetop, one greasy spot at a time, and give attention to my happy daughter.
I don’t have enough love for a lifetime. Not even close. God doesn’t give me all the grace I need for a great big lifetime in this great big family all at once. He knows I would waste it. He gives me love enough, and grace enough, for right here, right now, one greasy little spot at a time.
I’m tired, but I am filled.