Saturday, January 9, 2021

15 Years of Blogging

 It is hard to believe, but I have now been blogging for 15 years. How our little family has changed throughout those years! 

Here are a few excerpts from my blog post on January 9, 2006, exactly 15 years ago today. The post was called "Why We Homeschool: The Intangible Version," and gives a wonderful peek into what our lives were like then, when Jesse was 12, Laurel 8, and Duncan 5. 


We homeschool because....
* of days like today, when we had a spontaneous winter picnic. That in itself is lovely. But every aspect of it adds to the delight of homeschooling: my daughter made pbj's cut into perfect triangles; my 12-year-old son pushed my 5-year-old son in the swing so we could prepare the picnic; my parents joined us, making it a three-generation spontaneous winter picnic; my kids don't think it's weird to have a picnic on a rickety table in January. They're used to stuff like that.
* of days like today, when my son had fun doing pre-algebra.
* of days like today, when my dad came to hang out and read my son's math book.
* of days like today, when my daughter gave her little brother her "squishy pillow" to sleep with because he was upset.
* of days like today, when my littlest guy said, "Can I have these pennies to send to the poor children in Africa?"
* of days like tomorrow, when we can just drop all our "regular" studies to take advantage of a wonderful wildlife program that's going on all week.
* of hundreds of yesterdays and tomorrows, filled with yellow rainboots jumping in puddles; mouths smeared with cookie dough; tears shared over sad books; lightbulbs flashing when a concept is mastered; muddy clothes and huge smiles; popcorn and movies; little prayers said; brothers and sister huddled over a game; sweet kisses on my cheek; fights over who loves Mommy most; happy yells when Daddy comes home; sweet friendships with other homeschooling families; and a million other little day-to-day treasures that might never be captured without homeschooling.


The five year old is now 6'4". He's majoring in Outdoor Education in college. He still has a big smile all the time. He's one of the most pleasant people I have ever been around.  Today we waved goodbye to him as he drove off to college. I miss him already.

Before he left, my parents (95 and 93), whom we are so blessed to still have with us, came over for brunch. We ate biscuits and gravy. Mom said the same things over and over again ("Randy, did you make this? Jim has started cooking too!" "Duncan is so tall!" "Duncan, do you cook?"). Dad gave us all a lesson on eskers and drumlins — landforms left behind my glaciers. He is still teaching us, still sharing his expansive knowledge. And sweet Mom will always be the party girl.

That sweet little girl who comforted her little brother is still, at 23, comforting people, still making the world a softer, more beautiful place to live. She's in her second year of graduate school, getting her master's degree in marriage and family therapy. She and her husband live in a cute little apartment in Nashville. They were here for nearly a week over Christmas, and my heart nearly burst with joy at seeing my daughter every single day. I can never get enough of her. She is strong and capable, gentle and compassionate, funny and so much fun. Hunter has fit so nicely into our family. I can't wait to see where they go next in their lives!

And that 12-year-old who was having fun with pre-algebra is now 27 and in his second year of law school, having fun writing briefs and memorizing cases and working on the law review. He and his fianceé, Summer, decided to postpone their wedding because of COVID, but it is something we keep looking forward to, one of these days. Summer is lovely and funny and seems like she's been part of our family forever. We can't wait until the threat of COVID is over, vaccinations are had all around, and we can resume our monthly dinners with Jesse and Summer.

We're so proud of all our kids. Those three little people have grown into lovely adults who we consider our closest friends. They are compassionate, intelligent, and fun to be around. They care about making the world a better place, about justice, equity, and caring for this beautiful planet. And while they don't fight over who loves Mommy the most anymore, at least not that I know of, they clearly love us and enjoy spending time with us. Randy and I do not take that gift lightly. It's probably the great prize of parenting yet —having kids who like to hang out with us.

As much as we adore spending time with our kids, Randy and I have adapted to empty nesting well. He continues teaching at the University of Tennessee (21 years now) and I am now an adjunct instructor in the English department at our local private college, Maryville College. With the pandemic we are both working from home most of the time, Zooming, grading, and preparing lessons from our own favorite spots in the house. In the evenings we do what pretty much everyone else does: watch something on Netflix or Hulu. We will celebrate 32 years in March, but honestly, we celebrate each other every day. This year, like last, we will probably forego our anniversary trip, thanks to COVID. 

One of these days, we'll travel again.

And so here we are, 15 years later. All grown up, but still treasuring all those sweet, intangible things.

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