I began a precious endeavor 21 years ago that will never quite be finished. My endeavor, nonetheless, has its milestones, the next of which is scheduled for May 6, 2017.
From day one, I understood I had a solid block of 18 years to reach one of the major milestones. For this project, I was gifted with a unique sense of urgency. I tell you quite honestly that God taught me to number my days aright and make the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. He gave me a heart of wisdom to realize that I had only the brief span of a childhood to daily drink in the rays illumining from that little platinum blonde.
That is not to say I have no regrets, nor to assert that I always gave it my best effort. I simply mean I never lost the urgency of the deadline. “Only 18 years! … Only 12 years! … Only six years! …” and, hyperventilating, “Only this year left!”
I could not have suffered any greater heartache upon my daughter leaving home at 18 than if she had taken an internship in Antarctica. It was irrelevant that her college was so close that I could do her laundry on the weekends.
On the day she moved into the dorm, an irrevocable shift occurred in our relationship. We had been wrenched apart (that’s what it felt like to me anyway) by social norms and expectations. Whereas she had the ability to quickly regenerate, my wound was left bare to throb in anguish and slowly scab.
Now her university graduation comes cruelly quick and opens the wound again. Before you dismiss me as melodramatic, you need to understand that at this next milestone the chickens will come home to roost. All the grief I gave my own mother as I trotted the globe, I am about to reap.
Home schooling takes so many different forms, and for our family, our classroom was often in some other country. I raised a faithful, fearless global citizen who speaks Spanish and Portuguese and has traveled to 17 countries. She’s just getting started, soon to be armed with a degree in intercultural studies and community development. But now, it will be … without me.
Unequivocally satisfied with my approach to home education, I nonetheless wonder if I fully thought it through. Maybe we should have baked more bread and done less backpacking. Maybe I should have kept her closer to home.
Who knows if our paths will converge again in front of a shared bathroom mirror. For now, the intervals between visits will grow longer. I miss her already. In the interim, I thank the Father for having impressed upon me the urgency of childhood.
Author: Donna Schillinger. Published in: Review – Spring 2017. Donna Schillinger serves as publications manager for Texas Home School Coalition. This article is reprinted with permission of Texas Home School Coalition and the author. It originally appeared in Review magazine. Visit THSC.org.