"I'm going to be forty!" wailed Meg Ryan's character in When Harry Met Sally.
"When?" asked Harry.
"Someday!" sobbed Sally.
And in 1989, that was funny. Oh my goodness, I laughed at that. "Someday!" Woo hoo, snort, punch-my-then-boyfriend-now-my-husband-in-the-arm-kind-of-funny.
Because I was 21.
And now, "someday" is next week. I'm going to be 40 next week. By the time you read this, I will already be 40, and suddenly "someday" isn't so funny.
I don't remember when the idea of turning 40 started bothering me. I just remember Meg Ryan's voice in my head suddenly. And it was annoying.
Until recently, I didn't feel even 35. As long as I cover the silver in my hair, I don't look 35. A year ago, someone thought my daughter and I were sisters, that the friend we were with, a woman my age, was our mother. I was even wearing grown-up clothes that evening, instead of my usual sweats. I've had complete strangers openly and loudly bemoan my lost youth because they look at my three children and assume I started having babies when I was 14, and, for some reason, it's acceptable to accost strangers if they're teen mothers. Then they figure out why my daughter is snickering and so they ask for my skin regiment, which consists solely of a liberal layer of extra padding (fat, to be clear), coffee (black, no sugar, no cream), and a concerted effort to wash my face daily (with water).
So I've been comfortably in denial, especially since I felt--mentally and physically--young.
Lately, though, I've felt 40. I'm tired. I know why--we're still, as my husband says, chasing shadows with our youngest child, trying to find out what's going on inside his tiny body. When I feel like we're getting somewhere, when something clicks, I have a rush of energy. My head clears and I'm focused. When we end up going in circles, my head starts spinning, my shoulders ache, and I can feel that energy disappearing. Stress sucks, literally and figuratively.
I don't like feeling, officially, "over-the-hill". It zaps hope and comes with a sense of finality, a suggestion that life is set. Immobile.
But...I remember, every once in a while, that my cousin just had her first baby a couple months ago. She's 45. 45!! And yet, her life as a mother is just starting. That kind of hope, that beginning of a new life journey, is undeniable. So many little miracles, so many changes, are still ahead for her and it's proof for me that I need to work on my state of mind.
That state of mind is important to me as a parent, particularly as a homeschooling parent.
I have to have that sense of hope, that sense that anything is possible, that ability to trust change and to embrace it and follow it. With change comes growth. I need to grow with my kids, to learn with them, because homeschooling is a lifestyle. If I lose my ability to grow and I lose the joy that comes with learning and exploring, it will threaten that life and permeate our family.
Hope is important. Joy is essential. When I realize that I'm losing either, it's time to seek it out, to find it in the little things and to nurture it so that it grows and attaches to the bigger things.
The presidential election is heating up. There is, for me, a renewed sense of hope with it. There's a fresh dream, an energy, an idealism that could solidify into a reality and I'm holding my breath because, with that dream, is a sense of future that I want to grab and hold onto for my children.
This is an amazing time to be homeschooling! We're in the midst of an historical presidential campaign and no matter who you support the implications of this race are undeniable. We have an opportunity to immerse our kids in real-life Civics, in a living history. This is an event they can reach out and dig their nails into, and I don't have time to be old and decrepit.
I need to keep up with my kids.
I need change: Change
Missy's homeschooling journey began when she realized that the walls surrounding her daughter's classroom were too narrow; there was no room for exploration, no space for stretching. Now, she and her three children stretch and explore the world together. My blog: caffeinatedjive.