Yes, I’m really doing this! We are currently at a local campground–a mere 15 minutes from home. I’m basking in the sun, staring out at the lake and enjoying the laughter and play of my kids on the beach. It has been a long-time dream of mine to travel the US in an RV and homeschool on the open road. One of the major motivators to shift to homeschooling in the first place was the ability to travel. Heck, we were spending thousands of dollars on private education back then (18 years ago and only 2 children enrolled in school). The thought of all the places we could go with that money was astounding. Of course, the savings in tuition was also the key factor freeing us to truly be open to life as well. Homeschooling allowed us both the large family God planned for us and the ability to educate them well in faith and academics. But, I digress. The babies came and traveling very far was not really a feasible option. Until now.
Four weeks ago, I said “yes” to God. I finally let go of my pride and stepped whole heartedly into the vocation of wife and mother. For 24 years of marriage, I had believed that wife and mother were not enough. Someway, somehow, I had bought into the belief that I had to have some sort of tangible giving beyond my home to be “worthy.” It might sound funny, but I didn’t even realize that this is what I believed. Six months ago, I was ready to go out and find a job. Not for the money, but for the affirmation and appreciation of my efforts. I was grasping and desperate to be more. To be someone. To be me. But, I didn’t know who I was. Through prayer and faith, I just kept taking one day at a time and letting God lead me. As painful, dark, and terrifying as that walk of faith was, I couldn’t go back. I refused to stop living again, to stop being, to stop loving. So, I kept moving forward motivated by love and hope and faith. Then, one day my path was made clear to me—first in my heart and then in my mind. I had to quit my job and embrace my vocation as wife and mother. Easier said than done.
My job was working for my husband. My job was a key role in creating and managing the databases for our business with our oldest daughter (my step daughter) and her husband. We have four workers to run a business that needs to support both families and I was backing out! I kept arguing with God that I couldn’t be replaced. That they needed me. “How will the databases be created and maintained?” I asked. God said, “That’s not your problem. You obey and let me do the rest.” And so, I did. I obeyed. My husband was shaken, but he is not one to question God and supported me in the decision. My step daughter seemed relieved. It was time for us to rebuild and strengthen our relationship on a personal level. It was time for me to enjoy my grandchildren. As a mother and a daughter, she understood and was also very encouraging and supportive. My kids were excited. You must realize that my younger six children have no memories of a healthy mom! The six of them were born in a seven-year timespan. My health crashed after the youngest entered the world with both of our lives teetering in the balance. I gave six-weeks notice and taught my husband how to create and manage the databases (apparently I am easily replaceable—a good lesson in humility right there). And today is the fourth Monday since beginning my new career doing the most important job I’ll ever have: homeschooling homemaker.
When I talked to my husband about traveling the US, he wisely suggested I start with a week-long trip near home and work up from there. Seeing that I have no experience in pulling a 30 foot camper, I wisely agreed. Last week, I looked at the 10 day forecast and decided that it was a live or die opportunity. If not now, when? I packed over the weekend and Patrick drove us out to the campgrounds last night. I cancelled all commitments and rescheduled appointments for the week. And here I sit, surrounded in nature (I’m admiring a baby woodpecker only 20 feet away in an oak tree) with six very happy children.
The older two just took off for a hike and the other four are frolicking on the beach. We have already worked in our math lesson this morning and will soon explore the love of grammar and writing; but the most important lesson my children are learning is to follow God–to find and live the life He chose for each of them to live. They already understand in their tender ages that this earthly life includes pain and suffering; but by striving to live God’s will, one will find peace and joy.