Today was the first day of school for the Rapid City School District.


It doesn’t mean a diggity-dang thing to us here at Casa de Daniel until I let it.

Homeschooling is the best decision we’ve made for our family.  It has been a blessing to us and continues to be.  At this moment, it is the right thing for us and for our kids. That doesn’t diminish the encompassing envy I felt towards the parents of the kids who returned to school today.

I imagined them, taking photos of their scrubbed and polished offspring in their new clothes and shoes and backpacks, tears on the outside but unbridled joy on the inside.  They ushered their young into radiant classrooms, shoulder to shoulder and exchanging courageous smiles (the moms, that is). They talked about how hard it was and double checked for lunches and such and had to relearn the drop-off shuffle in the parking lot.  But after they broke free of the 15 mph zone, it was pedal to the metal to Starbucks, riotous laughter on the cell phones to friends and lots and lots of “I’m free!” Maybe they got home and queued up an entire season of Doctor Who or something, putting their yoga pants back on and eating ice cream from a carton while playing Candy Crush or surfing Pinterest.

Well, that’s what I’d do, anyway.

My day- and everysingledayofmyeverlovinglife – was begun with three little girls bickering with one another and running all over the house.  My shower was interupted (full out, curtains yanked back interrupted) 3 times.The boys had to be told 3 separate times to get a move on. Chores were expected to happen but didn’t without A LOT of reminding/coaxing/borderline nagging.  And then?  Then there was the CONSTANT PRESENCE of my children.  Wherever I went they followed.  They pressed in close, wanting my lap, my chair, my drink.  I monitored testing with one and answered “What does this say?” every 1.2 seconds from another, told a third not to give up and try again, no like this!, and tried to help a fourth with a beading pattern that hurt our brains.

Then Gemma and Jac returned from errands and things got REALLY fun.

It was, in the words of my father-in-law, a porkchop on my butt kind of day.  The kids were always right there and it felt like I couldn’t breathe.  At nap time, when the house felt still at last and the youngest breathed the regular breaths of sleep, I thought I might steal a moment to myself.  Like a ninja I crept to the table to work on a project I have been pushing aside for a week.  Quickly, deftly, I set up my paints and gathered my brushes.  I reminded myself that afternoons are for inspiring; we use them to show our kids how to be studious, passionate, industrious.  I would get this done, come what may!  Sure enough, 5 minutes into it, Gemma started yelling.  “Mom!  Mommy!  Mama! Mama!  Mommy!  Mama! Mommyyyyy!”  This was followed quickly by a sleepy Ellie asking if this was a project for her or for Tess and a ready argument why it should be hers and the emergence of Tess and Gemma from their room.  The boys were on their heels and for one dangerous moment I didn’t know if I should burst into laughter or tears.

I’m hormonal, alright?

All of this was punctuated by the thought that, “Those moms who take their kids to school have 2 seconds to rub together. Is that to much to ask, Lord?!”

I made dinner battling my restless heart.  I know too soon I will have empty arms and an empty lap and too much quiet in my days.  It’s just that somedays – today – it feels like it can’t come soon enough.

The greatest irony?  In the midst of the all of the chaos and closeness, we had an extremely productive day.  So much was accomplished being together that we all felt good and full even before supper was served.  Which was a good thing because the oven decided to crap out on us on top of it all.  But with my finished projects (and no paint on Gemma!) and all of our learning we had accomplished, we were unfazed.

It was a grace and I’ll take it. Happy first day of school, Rapid City!