My classmates and I bounced on green vynl school bus benches all the way to the Mission in San Juan Capistrano. Fourth grade is California History with Native Americans, the Gold Rush, Sacramento Government, and California Poppies. And fourth grade is the mural in Mrs. Nelson's class. It covered the length of the room, and I was in charge of the Redwood Forest. Last year my home schooled kid and I were going to cover one of our own walls with a similar map. Just me, my fourth grader, and a pile of colored tissue paper. But instead of bouncing together, side by side, mission to mission, we found ourselves bouncing between homeschool and private school. And so he traveled the California coastline through another teacher's lesson plans. Because my plans didn't happen.
So I took a deep breath and exhaled faith as we made a new plan... only to hit another bump, and bounce back home again near the end of the school year. And my other two bounced a bit as well.
We bounced on bumps, bumps like diagnosis' that are easier to label than understand. We bounced on ADHD and impulsivity. Another child bounced from Aspergers and landed on "gifted". And the third boy bounced from proximity, like when one child rolls into a ball in the middle of the trampoline and all the other children jump jump jump, and he goes flying.
Bouncing from label to label, from school to school, is tough. Tough on the children and tough on my pride, I'm coming to realize. But in the end, here's the humble truth... I'm just a mom, trying to do right with what we've been dealt, by the hand of a kind God. But still, bouncing around is sort of, well... embarrassing.
Yeah, by the time fourth grade came to a close, I wanted to hide beneath my pile of unused California History lessons, but instead I tapped into brave and grabbed hold of hard. And decided not to apologize to anyone; not to the kids and not to my family, and not to the readers who witnessed our game of educational pinball. Because I was doing the best I could.
And so are you.
And there's grace in that.
Grace for one another and grace enough to extend ourselves;
One day at a time, one child at a time. One bounce at a time.
So instead of apologizing for the bumpiness of our lives, I decided to simply live with my boys, in each moment, the best I could. And every time we bounced from school to school, I took them to the beach 10 times; and for every trip to the beach, I kissed their sandy shoulders and rosy cheeks one thousand million trillion times. Shrugging my own sun kissed shoulders when people exclaimed, "You're back here again at our school? With which child this time? I thought you were going to..."
Sending my kids to play, I look into the inquisitive eyes of all who question me and say, "It's messier than I thought it was going to be. But each bump has bounced us closer to one another, and closer to the place God wants us to be most of all...
Right. In. His. Hand.
It's not about private school,
public, charter, or homeschool.
It's the school of dependency,
one faith filled step at a time.
Fall is just around the bend. And it's not as simple as the school across the street was growing up. K - 12, and yearbooks lined up in a row, like a complete set of perfectly matching teeth. We're a ragamuffin band of personalities, trying to meet the needs of radically individual boys. So this year, this blessed year, one kiddo is going to be home schooled while the other two start another new private school close to our home. Lord willing, we'll make it through without any big bumps. But if we do bump, we'll do it together. As a family. Without apology.
As a family, looking for Native American arrow heads
at Cabrillo Point, in Northern California.
God is so good to give me the eyes to see that today. Today. Because there are still moments on other days when I feel a little embarrassed, wishing we were steady and simple. But, dear friends, we don't have to be. God is steady as a rock, immovable. And our home is built on Him. God is sovereign above all the ages, and all the changes, all the questions, all the bumps and bruises, and kisses that soothe.
God is the ultimate teacher. And His lesson plans are never thwarted.
From this homeschool, private school, public school bouncing Mama,
To the rest of you, simply doing the best you can with what you've been given:
May Peace, and Grace, and brand new Mercies be yours today!