It wasn’t too difficult of an assignment, really—to speak for fifteen minutes at a homeschool mothers’ Christmas luncheon about what it means to be a homeschool mom. Pretty straightforward, right? Yet despite my best efforts I was once again down to the wire and facing a blank page.
“Who am I to offer ‘words of wisdom’ to all these moms?” I thought. “Most of them have been homeschooling for years and have already experienced the things I’m going through right now!”
With my frustration building, I went to make sure my little ones were all tucked in for the night. I had to chuckle at their poses in bed—obviously sleep had caught up with them while they were still mid-wiggle. But as I bent down to kiss my six-year-old, she wrapped one arm around my neck and gave me a sleepy kiss. “Will you be here tomorrow morning, Mommy?” she asked.
I sometimes had morning errands to run and would be up and out before the youngest ones awoke. “Yes, Darlin,’” I said. “Lord willing, we’ll make Christmas cards tomorrow, and when Daddy gets home, we’ll put up the tree!”
Eyes still closed, she smiled. “Happy, happy, happy,” she said as I unlooped her arm and tucked it under the covers.
Reluctantly, I closed the bedroom door and went back downstairs to resume my battle with writer’s block. But as I stared at my screen, I couldn’t help but think of my little girl’s question. As much as we love our children, none of us can promise them we’ll “be there” in the morning.
Beyond God’s grace we have no guarantees that we will have another day to watch over the little lives that mean so much to us.
And so I thought, if I knew this were my last Christmas, my last few days to spend with my children and husband, what would I do differently?
- I wouldn’t just say “I love you” but would use every way I could think of to show them.
- The dishes could wait while I sat on the floor and read stories.
- We would act out the Christmas story with blanket tents, and I wouldn’t care how big a mess we made.
- Instead of just setting the trimmings out, I would make gingerbread houses with the kids and eat just as much candy as they did.
- I would stash mistletoe around the house and catch my husband and children under it as often as I could.
- We would go out together and make it our mission to do something nice for someone in every store we visited.
- We would all write special thank-you cards to Daddy for everything he does for us and surprise him at work with cookies and hot chocolate.
- We would make funny Christmas caroling videos and email them to the grandparents.
- My snow angel would be right in the middle of all the smaller ones in the yard.
- And when it got dark, we would turn off all the lights except the tree’s, and in one giggly, wiggly, blanketed pile, we would all make wishes on the stars that had taken up residence in our tree.
What is all this, really? What age-old wisdom would I be imparting to my children through antics like these? Will this help them get into better colleges, find satisfying careers, or achieve world peace? Not likely. But they will learn how to live. They will understand that the little things and the not so little things—like spending time with the people you love—are what really matter.
It’s so easy to let the pressures of seasonal expectations get to us. We quickly forget that our time with our beloved spouse and children is so very brief. None of us is guaranteed another Christmas, another new year, or even tomorrow.
Today is God’s gift to us, and we give a new gift to our children every day that we teach them not just how to get through life, but how to live it to God’s fullest.
So no, I couldn’t offer any great words of wisdom to the moms I would speak to, but I could offer a reminder—a reminder that living love isn’t something we do only at Christmas. As homeschool parents, our choice to homeschool our children is a choice to live Christmas all year long: loving them with our lives by teaching them how to live and love life and each other.