and a season for every activity under the heavens...
The lazy days have come and gone and so has Labour Day. Summer is officially over and routines are being re-established. Alarm clocks are a daily occurrence and packed lunches are the norm. The familiar sound of the buses making their rounds disrupts the early morning quiet and carpool lines test the patience of those trapped within their confines. School is in full session.
For 21 years school had one common denominator for the Cash family and it was "home". For 21 years home was where at least one student pulled up a chair at the table, newly sharpened pencil in hand and began the learning process for that particular grade level. For 21 years life was familiar, chaotic, and "ours"...until it wasn't. 21 years and 5 students later, school as we knew it was no longer and we found ourselves embarking on a journey that took us into uncharted waters.
We have had kids in school before. Rachel spent her senior year in a Christian school, Benji's entire high school years were spent at the same Christian school and Jesse has spent the last 3 years (freshman thru junior) at the public school down the road. We prayed a lot about what school would look like for Jesse, Hannah and Caleb this year and things look vastly different. Jesse is spending his senior year at Loganville Christian Academy. Hannah is a freshman at Bethlehem Christian Academy and Caleb is in 7th grade at BCA. Caleb is the youngest one we've had enter school, but he has been diagnosed with some learning differences and we felt it would be good for him to get a head-start so high school might be a little easier for him.
Not everyone was totally thrilled about their new assignment (okay, Jesse was the only one looking forward to the change), but they are settling in and learning a new way of life. Having a set (early) time to get up and trading jammies for uniforms to start the day have been a bit of an adjustment. The technological side of things has provided a few bumps in the road and more than one meltdown. Totally exasperated one afternoon as he tried to figure out how to find his homework assignments on Schoology Caleb blurted out, "Whatever happened to pencils and paper? Pencils and paper! They worked great for hundreds of years! Why can't we just use pencils and paper?" I have to admit I definitely lean hard into his thinking on this, especially as I get used to having to track 3 students on Renweb and Schoology. All in all, though, everyone is hitting their groove and things are much smoother than the first couple of weeks predicted they might be. All 3 students are making their way so that just leaves...
The woman who, for 25 years, has always had at least one child home with her all day every day. The woman who was responsible for 21 years of information being introduced to 5 different students all in different grades and at different stages of life. The woman whose husband traveled all the time and who learned creative ways to keep toddlers busy while trying to teach others their times tables or how to dissect an owl pellet. The woman who fixed 3 meals a day and was continually cleaning the kitchen suddenly found that when she cleaned up after breakfast it stayed clean.
The first day of school was a moment I had been somewhat dreading. I had kept a strong front and cheerful face in the weeks leading up to the first day and all the way thru the drop-off line, but I didn't make it out of the parking lot before the tears started flowing. They flowed so much that I had to pull over somewhere to get myself together and I picked the one place I knew I wouldn't have to deal with other people guessing at why I was such a mess. I even turned off my GPS because I could envision Tim, wondering why I was taking so long, checking the tracker app and trying to figure out why in the world I was at...
the pet cememtery!!
Yep! I knew there'd be no prying eyes or judgment passed at the pet cememtery so I ugly cried to my heart's content and mourned the end of a way of life for the Cash family. It wasn't that I felt like we hadn't made the best choice for each of them, but life as we knew it had come to an end and more than 2 decades of familiarity had been replaced. I finally managed to pull myself together enough to venture home to Tim and a handful of workers who were in the final stages of our kitchen renovation. I had to steal away often that day to resume crying and I felt like a wet dishrag that had been wrung out by the end of the day.
We're all finding a new normal and I am finding that I can clean the house and it stays that way for quite a while. There's less pressure now not being the sole person responsible for their entire education and my introverted self does relish the quiet. I sure do miss my kids, though. I imagine a part of me will always miss the time when life was a little simpler and school meant "us". I'm so thankful for all those days we had snuggled on the couch reading books that became treasured friends and I'm thankful for those days when we struggled to even want to be in the same room with each other because cabin fever had taken its toll on us. All those days, the good and the bad, were what allowed our hearts to be bound together and what made our family uniquely ours.
Those 25 years are so precious to me and I will be forever grateful that the Lord granted us that time together!!
Ecclesiastes 3:4 ~ A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
I've had my time to cry and the grieving will eventually come to an end. Now I just need to learn my new dance!! Until then I shall remember this quote from my old friend, Dr. Seuss...
"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."