Thursday, February 20, 2014

Cosine, Theta and making choices that challenge us!

In my head, I think they are still here:

Cute, cuddly and holdable.

But the reality is that my three oldest are on the cusp of spreading wings, of reaching toward their God-given dreams and of soaring!

We visited Azusa Pacific University Monday. The campus was glorious, the students warm and welcoming and the faculty that met with us were energetic and God-focused. It was amazing.

So of course I cried. Yes, that was me, walking around that lovely campus with tears running down my cheeks.

I would be hard-pressed to explain my tears. I know the rational answer is that my babies are growing up and boy, does that ever make me weepy. But the reality is that I am very excited about the college options they are considering and am eager to see where their hearts lead them. And they are only juniors after all, so I'm not sending them off yet.

No, these tears were more from gratitude -- just the overflow of a Mama's grateful heart. I was overwhelmed with thanksgiving that I get to be on the front row of Benjamin, Mason and Claire's cheering section.  

I am the loudest voice you'll hear in that section, because not only do I love my children immensely, I really really like them. I mean I really like them. I enjoy being where they are. I love discussing books, politics, movies and everything in between with them. I love hearing their hopes, their dreams, their play-by-play of the latest Dr. Who episode.

The triplets were in the middle of sixth grade when we opted to pull them out and try homeschooling. I was nervous, anxious and frankly absolutely certain that I had no other choices.

There were many reasons for our decision but the biggest was that our precious Benjamin was on a downward spiral. The delightful little boy was becoming increasingly frustrated and the frustration was robbing him of his joy. He had grown to hate going to school. And to hate doing homework. And life for the year and a half prior to bringing them home consisted of very little beyond school and homework because the make-up work required if he missed for doctor's appointments, therapy appointments, etc took up all our extra time.

As parents, we sometimes have to make the hard choice. And I would be looking at our homeschooling option through major rose-colored glasses if I said this had not been challenging (or if I hinted that it won't continue to push, stretch and challenge me for years to come!). But homeschooling restored a quality of family-time that had been missing for us. It has allowed us to travel when Dad's schedule allows. It has allowed us to accompany Dad on business trips -- speaking to groups on Cerebral Palsy and even advocating for CP funding in Washington, D.C.

Yes, Pre-Calculus is taxing my brain as it has to flex from my normal-creative-side to a more technical side, but the trade-off is that I get to discuss history, and writing and literary works. I get to hear their views on economics in our country and discuss their ideas for a brighter tomorrow. And there is very little more romantic to me than watching my husband get up an hour earlier than work demands twice a week to teach our science-minded son Physics.

So as I reflect over the last few years and as we discuss SATs and college campus tours, I am glad we made the hard choice. I count the trials that led to that decision a blessing in hindsight and I am grateful that we made the choice to bring them home. I know that the tears on that campus Monday were not tears of sadness, or of regret over wasted minutes. Honestly, they were tears of blessing.

Hear my heart, I am not standing on a soapbox admonishing you to homeschool your children -- rather I am sharing a glimpse of our story, hoping that whatever trial you are facing today, you will be encouraged that God is with you; that He can grow you through any trial in ways that seem impossible to you but that in hindsight will cause you to count your trial as a blessing.

"Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him." 
James 1:12 (ESV)