To Bethany on your high school graduation:
A little more than 18 years ago, you made me a mom and stole my heart. You were the first baby I really liked.
In your preschool years, we spent our days playing games together, doing puzzles, and reading books, except for that year that I had to work when you were two and Grandma took over that job for me.
When the time came close for you to go off to school, we had already been playing school for quite a while and I liked the idea of continuing just that. So for half a year we added workbooks and continued playing and learning.
Kindergarten time arrived, and, with a new baby in the house, we decided to try real school. It was nice, for about 2 weeks. I felt like school was separating our family, and I guess I wasn’t ready. So dad and I did our research, learned what we could about homeschooling and created our exit plan that would take place at the start of your Christmas break.
We loved going back to natural learning and hands on projects, learning through field trips and library visits, but mostly we loved having our family together again.
There was another short stint in school for most of second grade. You wanted to go experience school. It was after another baby in the house and a big hurricane, and I was at my end, so I let you go. You learned a lot and had some neat experiences, but it was a long year and my heart just knew that it was not a good fit for our family. At the end of it, I knew we needed to commit to staying home, and I am glad we did. I know we gave up some traditional school experiences, but we got to dig deeply into some others.
I loved your preschool years the most… until we got to high school. These last 3 years have been pretty great. There are three things I am especially grateful for.
First, you have taken ownership of your education. You decided what you wanted to learn, and went after it fiercely. I could not fight it because I knew it was in line with who God made you to be. So little by little, I put my premade lessons aside and came along to learn what you wanted to learn. Some you learned on your own, and others we did together. Much of it was through dancing, great books, documentaries, and sewing projects. How many pins did I stick you with?
Second, you have shown great passion for life. You find beauty in the everyday stuff like watching clouds or listening to a good rain, photographing dew drops on a flower, or swirling your coke around in our one and only wine glass while you cook a meal for us. You have a beautiful and joy filled countenance when you dance. You are amazing when you work with little kids and when you encourage your friends. You live in the moment, have big ideas, and at the same time, find joy in the simple things.
Last, you have taken ownership of your faith. I know you are not just going through the motions of your parents’ faith. I have seen a change in your life, and I have watched you work at honoring Christ in your actions. You have loved your family and your friends, not just in words, but in deeds. You have inspired me to love better as well.
Watching you grow up from that little girl who peeled all the crayons into the one I see here has been an honor. I am sad that this part of our lives is coming to an end. I am glad you have decided to stick around a bit longer instead of moving to Paris. I am proud of your accomplishments thus far. And I look forward to watching you branch out and experience the many adventures that await you in the upcoming years.