We started homeschooling our kids in 1991. Wildly unorthodox at the time, and under suspicion and criticism, we did it anyway.
The youngest three at home, 10, 14 and 17, these years are swiftly coming to a close. 7, 8 more years. Oh, I know. It sounds long. But I’ve been around long enough now to know. NOT LONG.
It’s quieter now. It’s less work than it was. That might sound like a good thing.
But there was something profoundly exciting about those years of all those kids at home, every day requiring so many balls in the air. Ha. Sooo many balls. Sooo much air. It was full. Let’s just say.
Full of life. And what else matters, really? Maybe we did have too many kids, maybe we were too busy, maybe we could have used more sleep, more money, more weekends away. Maybe.
And maybe not. I will never, ever look back on our family life and wish I hadn’t had one of them. It seems base to even think that was an option. They are my people, and I am their mama. They are part of a continuum of parents, grandparents, great, great, greats that they will never know. And in that same continuum are their children and children’s children and so many great, great, greats that they’ll never know.
I’ll never regret that I skipped schoolwork to drink coffee with my adult kids. Or wished I hadn’t stayed up late so many times, or invited people over for impromptu dinners, or dated my husband starting at 11:00 pm, or drank wine with friends.
So do I live a life free from regret? Oh, no. Nope. I regret being mean. I mean, of course, there’s the great overriding meanness of my life because I’m the meanest mom in the world. Please, feel free to peruse this old post for clarification.
I’m talking about the other kind of mean. The one that comes with such great cost. Short tempered. Sarcastic. Impatient. Indifferent. Distant. Critical. That kind of mean.
Just nasty. The price is high, my friends, because it costs not just their dignity, but our own. Mean doesn’t look good on anybody. Especially unflattering on me. The cost is, for every unkind word, or act – another scratch in the relationship. How many scratches will it take until we don’t notice the scratches anymore? How many scratches can it suffer before we see it as a thing without value?
A thing not worth our effort.
I won’t ever be perfectly not mean. Because. Human.
But if I make a habit of being mean, even a hobby, really – honing my skill by long hours of practice, there will be so much to regret.
And that would be bad.