Walking into the grocery store with the youngest four, I crossed paths with one of the bakery managers. It was her day off, she was in “civilian” clothing and her hair was not up and under a hairnet (she has beautiful hair!) She saw my four and said, “You must be glad school is starting soon!”
Errrrmm. It’s a familiar line this time of year. Familiar, yet foreign. Familiar because it is a question just about every parent of a school-age child is asked at the end of summer. Completely foreign because I do not relate at all to what it implies. It implies that somehow I must be sick of my children being home. Oh, sure… I get “sick” of arguing and bickering amongst the children (NOT limited to summertime by any means!) but I do not get sick of being with my children. I like my children. They’re fun to be around most of the time
I do not look forward to even the idea of them being gone for 8 to 10 hours a day (though I’m sure there are days they’d like to be away from me for that long! 😉 ) I am thankful and grateful to have such a quantity of quality time with them. They are well-mannered, happy, disciplined people with whom I love to spend my days.
I do not wish to demean this woman. From every interaction I’ve had with her at the grocery store bakery (which have been plenty, believe me!) she seems to be a very lovely woman. She is just a lovely woman who is affected by the group mentality that focuses on the burdens of child rearing and the belief that the less time spent with one’s children the better and misses what joys they are (or at least can be.)
Upon hearing that we homeschool, she responded with, “You must have the patience of a Saint!”
I did a quick self-assessment. I would have loved to have said, “Why yes, I do. Thank you for noticing!” but that would not be true. I have more patience than I did 20 years ago or 10 or 5 or even last month (I hope, anyway) and I may have more patience than some others do, but I am not an heroically patient person! Again, that little implication is there… that this is something I endure with white knuckles and a locked jaw. It really isn’t. I wish that I had a better response than, “No, I really don’t.”
I wish I’d have said, “You see my children with me several times a week. You see how well-behaved and helpful they are. It doesn’t require heroism to be with my kids ~ it is my joy to be with my kids.” But I didn’t say that.
So, no. I really don’t have and extraordinary amount of patience. Quite honestly, I run a bit short some days. What patience I do have, though, is a product of being with my kids. For 23 years they have done me the great favor of helping to smooth out some of my rough edges. And no. I really am not looking forward to a time when they will be away from me for hours on end. I look forward to long hours spent learning, living, loving and playing together.