Monday, November 23, 2009

At the library

I ran into a friend at the library today. She had a grande something-yummy-with-whip in her left hand, and in her right hand were three of the novels that have been on my "to read" list for so long that I had even forgotten to put them into my Paberbackswap wishlist. She'd just come from getting her hair done, she said--and indeed, her hair looked as fresh and springy as the very hip dress boots she was sporting.

"You here with the little ones?" she asked, tilting her chin to Manolin, who was strapped into the stroller, scowling. Oliver stood dutifully nearby, mumbling, "Howwd dight, 'Li. Howwd dight, 'Li," as a reminder of his role in this whole process.

"Oh, no. They're all around here somewhere," I said, waving my hand to indicate that my offspring were lurking deep in the stacks. Not deep enough, apparently; Just then, Logan bounded by, followed closely by our rattling, overstuffed book bin.

"I don't know how you do it," she told me then, and I pondered this familiar phrase anew. What part is so novel? What seems impossible? At what point, I wonder, do I approach insanity in the eyes of the masses?

"It's not that tough," I said then, catching the beautiful sight of my daughter's lithe form heading towards me with a toothy grin, arms full to bursting with her haul of reading material. "They're great kids."

"Yeah, but ...." and she stopped for a minute, pondering the plausibility of it all. "You gave up all of this," she raised her latte and reading material, "for that." Again, she nodded in the direction of my little brood.

I couldn't think of a thing to say, so she filled the silence.

"I have the best of both worlds," she continued. "I've got my kids. And when they're at school, I get this too."

She offered me a the Cheshire Cat grin of one who has figured it all out.

Just then, Atticus--who must have spent the past ten minutes plotting out his sneak attack--wrapped his arms around me in a bear hug from behind, nearly toppling me over in surprise. I laughed so hard that Manolin and Oliver caught the giggles and started shrieking. Our joy echoed through the stillness of the library. I ruffled Atticus' copious strawberry-blond hair.

My friend was staring at me now. Her eyes had softened.

"My nine year-old wouldn't be caught dead hugging me in public," she admitted with a longing sigh.

I contemplated her coffee, her new haircut, her ability to read for hours on end, uninterrupted. I could still feel the firmness of my delighted, delightful Atticus' arms as they snaked around my sides. I made a mental note to check my Paperbackswap wishlist status, and to put a Starbucks card on my Christmas list.

"God bless you," I told her, and I meant it. "Have a great day."


Melanie said... just made me smile and count my many blessings! Thank you!!

Camille said...

I love how you write it all out so beautifully Mary Grace!! You have "captured" it!! Yaaay for home education and the joys we get to enjoy!

Thanks for taking the time to blog about it. :)


Isabel said...

Thank you for sharing this. I just came across your blog for the first time and was so blessed by your post.
Isabel :)

Gayle said...

Love love love this! Beautifully written and made me feel totally validated in a week where I'm feeling like a total failure in all things home, kids and marriage.

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Laura said...

Good stuff... my nine year old loves to hug in public, too. Praise God! And I just discovered that I can buy Pumpkin Spice creamer for my coffee at home... small miracle :).

Can't wait to hear how God is going to use you all in Nepal. We are heading into the mission field next year in a remote area of Honduras.

Many blessings!

Jennifer Jo said...

I love the picture at the top. Good story, too.

Anonymous said...

Ah, yes.. the reason we do "this" brought to the forefront. She can enjoy her "alone" time, I'll take my hugs.

The Beaver Bunch said...

Thanks for the reminder that we are gaining SO much more than we are losing.

Hands down, any day.

I needed reminding today.

April said...

Such a sweet story! For a homeschool mom the sacrifices are many but the blessings are unceasing.

Unknown said...

OH YES, "HOW DO YOU DO IT???"" I get so tired of hearing that. My new come back will be "How do YOU NOT DO IT???" HUGS!

Missus Wookie said...

Yep - I'm hassled and frazzled but it's done (mostly) joyfully. Thanks for the reminder - 'cause it is still cool when at 17/15 they hug you in public too.

Karla Cook @ Roads to Everywhere said...

Uh-huh. Just wonder if she'll be so delighted with her choice in 10 years when her children are grown and she won't know when it happened. I've spent practically 24/7 with my kids for the past going-on-17-years and *I* still don't know when it happened. I can't imagine how I would feel if they had been gone 8 hours a day for most of the year! But then... some people do feel like the trade-off is worth it.

Hey... and we still have time for books and coffee, don't we? So maybe not the latest haircuts... or trendy boots... But always books and coffee!

mary grace said...

Thanks for the compliment on the photo, Mama JJ. That's my beautiful Atticus and I dancing the afternoon away a few weeks ago. :-)

Benny said...

So very sweet... and so very much one of the best parts of homeschooling, in my book. That Atticus is a sweet one, isn't he?


Beth said...

Oh, this is so wonderful to read. A great encouragement!

Traci said...

Love the photo. Have longed to have "the best of both worlds" and then realized that I have the best God has blessed me with. I love having my kids with me all day. Yes they get on my nerves but running through the house having a nerf gun war with my boys, or baking/sewing with my girls...thats living and loving for me.

Jodi said...

Great post! I had a similar thought today when my 15 yr. old son called me on his cell while feeding at my mom's.
Anyway...he ended with "love you mom!". Wow!!!
How cool is that? Yes, yes, yes, it is worth the cost of having them at home. 1000 times over!!

LindaOz said...

This post brought me to tears. The 'craziness' (perceived or otherwise) of homeschooling and having our kids with us all the time is nothing compared with the blessings and relationships it brings.

Blessings to you today.

PS: My 14yo still hugs me in public. It's so cool!!!

Luke Holzmann said...

Gave me goosebumps.

Right on.

Or, in the words of Cheat Commandos: Rock rock on!


Ticia said...

That friend only thinks she has the best of both worlds. When my kids were very young I worked . But I missed so much that I will never get back. Was it worth it? no way! I have homeschooled for 11 years now, ever since I quit working outside the home. I ALWAYS worked inside the home. My kids are 15 and almost 18 . We drive this ugly old beat up honda on its last leg but when we drive by the skate park (they are both skateborders) They wave and smile at us! And I love it! I wouldn't trade it for the world.