Last Saturday night Gary and I were attending a close friend’s 40th birthday. There were lots (and lots) of people and usually I would find every excuse possible not to go. This friend however knows my propensity to opt out of large gatherings and made me promise I’d go. So I did 🙂 Whilst we were there, I had a few people come up to me and express their appreciation of Thomas. I’m not saying any of this to boast….no honest I’m not…..(well, maybe just a little). This led to lots of discussions about home schooling, and how Thomas is doing and what his plans are for the future.
One question which comes up often is how I will cope when Thomas leaves next summer for college (only during the day, he’s not going to live away just yet!). My answer is an unexpected one, especially for me because I honestly thought I would feel differently. If there was ever a candidate for empty nest syndrome, it would surely be me. But this is (surprisingly) not the case. I am ready for Thomas to fly the nest. We have spent years building his roots, giving him a solid foundation as well as a knowledge that home will always be a soft place for him to fall. For the last few years he has been flapping his wings, strengthening them for the day he will fly off to new places. He has not hurried this process. Bit by bit he has been taking on the responsibility of his own life and his own choices. From his little Saturday job he tithes, he saves for his future, he pays for all his own clothes, his social life, his hobbies, his hair cuts and his phone. We provide food (like, lots and lots of it!) and a place to live and of course huge mountains of love.
But I digress. When asked how I would cope my answer was that really there was nothing to cope with. I am ready, Gary is ready and most importantly Thomas is ready. Not because he is so perfect (he isn’t), and not because he will make no mistakes (he will). I feel he is ready because I know he will take responsibility for his mistakes and do everything he can to right them. And he will ask for help if he needs it. In short, he will live his live like an adult. Of this I am sure. And so there is nothing to worry about. No reason to fear or worry. More and more over the past year he has taken control of almost every aspect of his life. I rarely have to nag him to do school work, even though he finds a lot of it difficult. He knows he needs the exams for the next step in his life. So he puts the hard slog in. His life is no longer my responsibility, or Gary’s. It is his.
Today I am reflecting on this very thing. Parenting is such a process, and it happens over so many years. Years that whizz by. I know I have said it before but I am SO pleased we home-schooled. I am SO grateful to have spent every day with these incredible children. Except three of them aren’t children anymore. They are young adults, and it has been a privilege to have been such a large part of their lives. I appreciate the loving relationships I have with each child. We are so close, and I honestly think that is, in a large part, down to home-schooling and spending so much time together.
The older girls will have another three years left in our home-school, with both of them choosing not to go to college for their A Levels. I have three more wonder filled years with them, and this just excites me immensely! From next September onwards, our home school will be an all female one. We are all in cahoots plotting and planning the changes we might make. It’s going to a fun few years as I help the twins reach the place Thomas is in. The years go by in the blink of an eye, and I intend to wring every last second out of them. Our precious moments.