Whether we have kids in school or homeschool, our lists of "to do's" at this time of year are long and complicated. My kids start school on Thursday. I just found out that the high school my kids go to has decided to have morning hours for my ninth grade daughter and afternoon hours for my tenth grade son for the first week while they finish some renovations. That means I will be driving to and from school twice, plus driving my middle schooler to his school. I can't express how much I am dreading that. And then somewhere in there I will be trying to get our homeschool stuff ready to start the day after Labor Day. Plus there are the lengthy school supply lists that I can't get til Tuesday night at open house and the required uniforms I still need to purchase. I also have to conduct a P31 conference call on Monday night and take all my kids to open house on Tuesday night while daddy is out of town-- this is after being a single parent to the five for the last week while we were at the beach. I also just found out that one of mine must have a certain booster before the first day of school, which means working in a trip to the doctor. I am also trying to finish a proposal that I promised my agent I would have done at the end of the month.
You know, life stuff. We all have it.
As I thought about this phenomenon of back to school and stress and just all the stuff that has to get done in my home and yours, I realized that having six kids has been good for me. It has made me a less anxious person. Not that I don't get stressed-- I so do. I just wrote a devotion about stress because of it.
But I realize that having this number of children has taught me a lot about control-- and how very little I have.
And how the best laid plans will never actually work out like you think or hope they will.
And how you can't predict anything when your life is at the mercy of the 7 variables I like to call "the other people who live in my house."
And how the best thing you can say to yourself is, "I can't worry about it." Because you know from experience that worrying about it won't change it or, as the mom in Hope Floats says, "Crying about it won't make it clean."
And how there are very few things in life that, if they don't get done, will alter the course of your family's destiny or unravel the very fabric of your existence. Usually, deadlines come and go and things still work out somehow. Sometimes you just have to let things go.
And how trusting that things will work out somehow is part of living in freedom and embracing your calling. Wringing your hands and worrying over things that are out of your control will age you beyond your years and lead to numerous ailments.
I think it's so easy to get caught up in the moment. To make things seem bigger and more monumental than they actually are. I am training myself to pull back from situations and ask myself, "Will this matter in ten years, in one year, tomorrow, in fifteen minutes from now?" And mostly, the answer is no, no, no, and no. I have to learn to let go of my agendas, my desires, my longing for perfection and control. Every day, my six kids give me a chance to practice this. It's good for me, even if it hurts at times. Like exercise, or eating salad when what I want is chocolate cake. Probably most of you didn't need six children to teach you such things-- God knows I am a slow learner and need consistent reinforcement. I needed these kids, this life, this intentional surrender to shape me into something more than who I used to be. I am grateful for what they are teaching me, every day.