A common theme on my camera and to-do list these days.
Water, weed, bloom, repeat.
Every time I blink another week has slipped past and I find myself wondering how on earth this summer is zipping by so quickly.
It's just the pace of the days with a house mostly full of teenagers, mixed with the mama holding down an official part-time commitment to plants.
Saturday Markets. Gardening. Homestead chores. Herbal product making. Eating. Driving school for the big girl. Work schedules and play dates and camping trips squeezed in the midst of it all. And more eating, because let me tell you four growing kids need a lot of fuel. I've been looking at the hammock wistfully…. but there just doesn't seem to be time.
And somehow – I am okay with all of this. It's new and settling in slowly…. but juggling all these beautiful pieces of life is starting to feel balanced…. if that can even be a real thing. Can it?
I flipped the calendar ahead to our fall plans and was slapped by the reality that my oldest is just a few weeks away from being 20. Next oldest 18. Two adults. TWO! One headed to her freshman year of college this fall (but still staying home for now as the school is local) and the other looking at packing a bag and heading somewhere. He tried college one semester and being a prep cook for a year and after saving some money is thinking of traveling around a bit to see what's out there. Still in the finding himself phase of growing up. We're encouraging this. If he gets stuck in some place a few time zones away and needs rescuing, we'd do so. Though I doubt we'd need to.
I have these moments where I am completely caught off guard by how much the kids have grown. Our other upcoming birthdays are 14 and 10. They'll all be double digits this month, it feels kind of huge. Kind of amazing. I can't believe I've been parenting for two decades…..
Which reminds me, I sat next to this rather peculiar man at a fancy dinner party (for Joe's work) and he asked me a million questions about our life. You know when someone goes a tad beyond casual conversation and you start to feel a bit like you're being interviewed? It was one of those. He was so surprised to learn we had four children and even MORE surprised when I told him they had all homeschooled at some point and two still were.
Goodness, he said to me, we sent ours off to school as soon as they were old enough.
Trying to be polite I said, well I suppose it's nice to have a break a few hours every day.
He laughed and said, oh not locally, to boarding school.
While I am usually very well behaved at events my husband is attending in a professional matter, this comment caught me so off guard that I answered him before I thought much about it.
Oh, I really enjoy my children. In fact, I genuinely like their company and who they are becoming as human beings. I said.
He looked a bit stunned. And then carried on with his questioning. Fortunately, the auctioneer started up and was too loud for the conversation to last much longer….
I'm really not even going to bother with any judgment about this man's idea of raising children. I actually just want to hold onto the part where my own truth jumped out - and how good that felt, and how after all this time I still regularly look at these four of mine with such amazement and such gratitude. Blooming and growing into their own selves as I do my best to water, weed, bloom, repeat.
(edited to add, I have no issue with what families choose for their children's educational paths – it's a very personal decision and we all do what is best for our own family – I do however question parents who outwardly express their dislike of their own children.)