I remember the dread I would feel, when I first imagined you coming into my home. I had this really limited view of you based on an incorrect stereotype and somehow assumed you’d turn me into someone I wasn’t. So, when you came into my home five years ago, a home with a tiny 6 week old baby and three other little chubby cheeked girls, aging up to five, I had no idea that you’d be both such a blessing and also one of my greatest challenges.
You blessed me with leisurely mornings and long sips of coffee that energized my day. Mornings, in which I wasn’t hurried and so I sat long in my chair with my Bible open, begging the Lord to speak His words into my heart…and He did. As each little messy-haired girl would stumble down the steps, I’d get to talk with them and hold them or make them a “to-order” breakfast, because well, we just weren’t in a hurry.
The field trips you invited were so much fun. As we pretended to be heading off to Europe, eating crepes at a nearby restaurant, you filled my girls with delight for travel and adventure and an interest in the world outside of our little town. You allowed them to experience vintage Doctor’s offices, flower gardens, agriculture, and the joy of hours at play.
You ignited in me a passion for the arts and history, something that this nurse never really experienced. You gave me an appreciation for the daily work that it takes to land at the end of the school-year with children who actually learned something. So, each time, I would sigh in relief and enjoy the summer with a peaceful heart. My husband tells me that I’m so different as a result of these years of hard-work. His smile and tone tell me that this was a welcomed surprise.
But you know, you were also so difficult in some ways. I had no idea that getting bigger kids to do their school-work would be so challenging! I learned negotiation techniques that might qualify me to work for the U.S. Government! And some days, I had to put my foot down in ugly ways that I never wanted. There were mornings that I would wake up and groan, wishing you’d just leave my house so I could get a break. But then, there would be these glimmers of hope, like the friendships we were making or the joy my kids had when they could tarry long on a subject they really enjoyed, and so we marched on. Not always happily, but we marched on.
You built a community around us that I’ll never forget. These other women were in the trenches with me and so our bond just grew. I remember calling my sister so many times in tears, because someone had ruined what was supposed to be a “fun” day. She knew. She always understood. She had invited you into her home as well.
This past year, when my oldest daughter declared her desire to go off to school, I tried my best not to feel offended, like I hadn’t done a good enough job. As much as I wanted to fight back and say, “No! Not yet.” I knew I had to listen, because you taught me that as well. Through these years, God has taught me to be open-handed with my kids and not to plan too far into the future. Through our years together, I’ve learned to cherish my relationship with my kids and listen to their hearts.
So, I have to say, thank you! Thank you for coming into our home and changing me in ways I didn’t know I needed to change. Thank you for showing me that I could teach. Thank you for leisurely mornings and afternoons to read. Thank you for teaching my kids to dream about Asia and Africa or whatever piqued their interest that week.
I’m not sure if we’ll ever invite you back, because we’re excited about this new adventure and fully plan to embrace it. So, I guess I’ll just say, “Good-bye for now, dear friend”.