The front of my aunt's card this year stated: Happy 35th Birthday Kathleen (yikes!). How that one line has made me laugh. 35 years. That is getting pretty old. Looking around I can see it each day. The grey in my hair, a homeowner, a mother of three, one that enjoys sitting quietly to going out to a party and the reflection of memories that come to mind.
As I stated on Monday, we celebrated my birthday once again with a camping trip to Denali and a store bought fruit tart. My favorite of all desserts. I thought and reflected on the "35, yikes" a lot over the weekend. As I watched the kids pick all the berries off my birthday tart, as we gathered rocks in the gravel bars, as we hiked and climbed mountains together as a family and as I cozied up in my sleeping bag surrounded tightly by my family, I thought.
Years ago when asked what I would like to do when I grew up, aka finished college, my answer was to teach. Not in a big university where I must spend a lot of time aways from students fighting for research funding. No, in a small private school or a community college where I could share my passion for learning with students who want to learn.
Well, this weekend I looked at my kids, I reflected on my years and I thought about my dream job. My conclusions were that I am there. Ok, lets be honest (because birthdays are one of those days to be really honest with one's self) parenting is hard. I don't always love it. The sit up straight in your chair, don't hit your sister/brother, please share, and all the rights and wrongs that need to be taught. Nope, not my favorite thing at all. Thus a lot of my grey hairs.
But the being there. Each and every day being there to see my kids learn, grow and discover. The ability to teach my kids what it means to learn and how much fun it is.
Yeah, I do believe I have achieved my dream job. Not much of a financial paycheck but the biggest rewards I can think of.
I don't talk much about homeschooling on the blog, but it is something Josh and I have been considering, contemplating, praying over, talking to others about and learning about for the past three and a half years. We have been trying to determine the best decision for our kids and our family. Our decision to homeschool has become a huge focus in our day to day lives this past six months.
Abigail is reading and writing and as of two weeks ago is an enrolled kindergartener in a homeschool cooperative program. Ethan is learning to write, loves to rhyme and even though we mix up M and W, is learning his letters. But outside of books we are hiking, exploring, touching, seeing, knowing, learning. Over the weekend the kids learned what a braided river was by looking at it. They saw a dall sheep and then touched their tracks in the mud. We sat through a ranger talk all about mosquitos and Abigail can tell you about the BMW's of Denali (Bears, Moose and Wolves.) In my life with these kids we read a lot of books but seeing the look on their faces when they see and discover is worth every bit of work.
35 years. I am old enough to know that not all days are good days but instead that all days are opportunities.