This year marks the end of an era in my family: My youngest sister is graduating from high school, which means that my mom is retiring from homeschooling after over 25 years. Today I want to reflect on and appreciate this huge accomplishment, and the hard work and sacrifices she made to give my siblings and I the best education and childhood possible. Because when she made the commitment to homeschool me, she may have thought she was just giving me an education. What she didn’t know was that through her example of being a godly woman, wife, and mother, she was giving me everything that I needed to live the life God had planned for me.
It all started with teaching me to read and write. Writing has always been a passion of mine, and it was my mom’s encouragement, proofreading, and challenging me to write more that helped fuel this passion. She gave me my first journal and set aside time in my schedule for me to write, which created a daily habit that I learned to love, and now have years of my life documented in journals.
Through the years, my mom taught me math, spelling, science, English, history, Greek, Latin, and more. When I reached high school and it came time to learn things like algebra, chemistry, calculus and physics, she relearned the subjects right along with me. I might have not enjoyed every day of school, but the one-on-one time with her was the highlight of every day.
Besides the subjects that she taught me directly, there were so many ways that she contributed to my education indirectly. I cannot fail to highlight the hours she spent every week driving my siblings and I to homeschool classes and other enrichment activities such as sports and music lessons. One of the things I neglected to appreciate as much as I should have was how whenever I needed a piano accompanist, she always stepped up to the plate and helped me out. I don’t think I fully realized that other kids actually had to seek that out and couldn’t just depend on their parents to help!
Even more than giving me an education, I learned so much more about what it means to be a Christian, a wife, a mother, an adult, and a housekeeper. I saw her spending time in the Bible and being encouraged by other like-minded women. I admired how she expressed love and respect toward my dad. I watched her do tasks like meal planning, budgeting, grocery shopping, cooking, baking bread, and so much more. And of course she taught me how to keep a house tidy and to do daily chores. By the time I moved out and started my own home, there was very little that I couldn’t do thanks to her showing me all I needed to know!
Most of all, the greatest lesson and gift my mom ever gave me was having a positive attitude. For as long as I can remember, her favorite adjectives were “Happy” and “Fun” — usually said together. For example, apples cut up using the apple corer were referred to as “happy fun apples,” or the park within walking distance was the “happy fun park.” She read many books to me over the years, but one that stood out to me was “Pollyanna,” the story of a girl who would look for the good in every situation. The positive words and encouragement she gave became the voice inside my head that has carried me through some difficult years. I don’t know how I would have gotten through the years that Curtis was stationed on a submarine without having this optimistic outlook on my life.
Thank you, Mom, for everything you’ve given me, and all you gave up to raise me and educate me. I’m so blessed to have once called you my favorite teacher, and to now call you my best friend. Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. I LOVE YOU!