T. S. Eliot
My home school years lurch one after the other, engulfing all of my faculties for months on end such that I hardly have time to look closely at the strange reflection staring back at me from that heartless mirror, and so I do occasionally give a gasp at how time has salted my hair and how it tugs without pity on all corners of my face.
I don't mind being surprised by the slithering, skulking, treachery of my own inevitable decline. Time does what time does. The lines on my face are not what bother me about passing time. It is the perfidious nature of the deeds of time that brings me to my knees. Time is a shameless charlatan.
When we decided to home educate, we knew we would not miss any of the milestones - we had reserved a front row seat in each of children's lives. Every year, Peter and I acknowledge that when we are sharing a park bench quietly, many years from now, we will never ever regret the extra time we have had with each of them. It is why we keep doing it. That, and the fact that it's so darn right in every way.
So, we have given our time and it has been so right.
With great clarity, I can recall the look in each of their eyes when they cracked the code and took off with reading. The daily casual breakfasts followed by rapid-fire discussions of current events, the palpable satisfaction for an essay well-written and the relief at completing a science project - with all of these things time lures me in, allowing me to imagine that the four of them have a place in my life that will never change and that I have an unchanging place in theirs. No. They all have very bright futures, that's for sure, but futures where mom and dad move to the background. While we work hard to guide and nurture, ensuring success when that moment of separation arrives, we are completely flabbergasted when it all goes well, and they walk off into the sunset.
I have not experienced anything that so thoroughly unhinges and yet is a good thing.
With John back at Penn and Nora in Eastern Europe, I am unmoored. Floating through the days, I realize that time has played a mephitic trick on me. I thought things would never change. I thought that we would be ushering in every Autumn together, every Winter, Spring and Summer, too.
But time has proved me very silly indeed.
Although I am temporarily stumped, Sir Time, I do not intend to change my ways, because, in the end, I really do win.
"So teach us to number our days, that we may get a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12