Every year for many years now, my August experience has been the same.
I start the summer joyfully (as do whichever of my kids are being homeschooled at the time, even the poor older guinea pigs I subjected to minor “summer math and reading” in early years—sorry, kids). I’m full of hope, relaxed expectation, and plans for catching up on all the things I had no time for during the school year. I even have a list of what I intend to accomplish in all of the “free time” I’m going to have.
During June and July, I continue my work as a freelance writer and editor, but with more flexibility than during the rest of the year. I begin my work day at 8:00, 9:00, whenever I want … and end when I feel like ending. Afternoons are spent with appointments, catching up on paperwork, visiting friends, fun family activities, trying new recipes, or writing for this blog. Sometimes I throw caution to the wind and flip my days, doing the fun stuff first and working later. But every day is full, and in a good way.
And then August arrives. Even now, when I’m down to just one high schooler, I start feeling little twitches of anxiety during the last week of July. Then the calendar rolls over and I’m officially facing the Final Weeks of Summer Vacation.
In early August, I start counting down the weeks. Three weeks left, then two, then (eek!) one. One precious week, and my to-do list isn’t even half checked off.
So I abandon all hopes of completing the list and focus on the real reason for my anxiety: Soon, very soon, I’m going to be adding school back into my days. Planning, teaching, discussing, grading, plus driving and more driving. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love this stuff. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. But how on earth am I going to fit it all back into my already busy days?
I worry about this every single year. You would think I would learn, but no.
Because as with all Impending Worry and Dread in my life, there’s only one cure for this situation. To get it over with and just begin whatever it is that I don’t think I can do. As soon as I begin, and I literally mean the very day I begin, the worry dissipates and I slide right back into the homeschool day pattern. Surprise, surprise! I can homeschool and reasonably keep up with the other things I need to do! True, it’s not the relaxed time of summer, but every time, every year, with every child, it somehow always works out.
Still, I apparently have to go through the Mid-August Homeschool Mom Freak-Out to get to this place.
God has me and my kids right where we need to be. He’s going to give me the grace to do this. I ought to know this after all these years, but each year I’m driven back to him to ask for the strength, the patience, the stamina, and especially, the time to do what he’s asking me to do. And every year, he comes through for me, and with me. Maybe that’s the point of my annual pilgrimage to Freak-Out Mountain. To meet the one there who can give me peace in return for trust and obedience. Every single August.