Thoughts drift up as unspoken prayers, that swirl in my mind creating un typed out blog posts as we head into another season of graduations. This spring I have felt a season of unrest. It is the unknowing, the uncertain – the only thing that is sure – is that he is no longer under my control, direction or authority.
And yet I look back at that first day of letting him ride the bus to the preschool speech class – how big he felt, how un needed I felt. It was from this class that I was set on the solid path that Nathan would learn at home.
I’ve been scrolling through dozens of graduation posts this week. Close public school friends in town to homeschool families across the state that we have walked side by side with – co-ops, geography classes, guitar lessons, AWANA, literature circles, Fallacy Detective groups, Sign Language, Choirs – for Nate, a lifetime of learning and friendships.
Now we live a in a small tourist town, we only know of one other person who homeschools similar to us. We could have driven to Bend, or to Salem, to participate in a graduation ceremony. We don’t have any nearby family to host a graduation party for.
My guilty mom brain was getting the most of me yesterday. Will Nate feel sad that we attend these other large parties, but he will not have his own? Will he see the presents and envelopes and wonder why I couldn’t get folks here? Mom Guilt. I kept pulling back to last year when we were trying to plan a ceremony with the others in a nearby town, but the students boycotted it. They didn’t want one. “We ran out of classes to take and we’re done, move on mom.”
As I was swirling around these thoughts, I happened upon the photos above while cleaning.
“We know what we are, but not what we may be.” Shakespeare
How would I have known how this road would have turned out 16 years after that photo was taken at the Bandon Wildlife Center? I spent the late afternoon spiffing up for the Lincoln County Baccalaureate, pulling out nice clothes for Nate, eager to see a homeschool family there, ready to hear the speakers. Nate had finished his day of college classes and was working a new job for the Newport School District at their Outdoor School as a lifeguard at an RV Resort Pool while two of his adult friends taught surf lessons across the street in Pacific City. The day before he got a call from a friend that he met at camp while he was working there and asked if Nate would bring him surfing, as he was here on his college memorial day break from OSU. He got home from the Outdoor School and we scurried down to Newport – a 35-40 minute drive.
On the way down there I got to talk a bit about my mom guilt, and he assured me that he had closure from the graduation part last year with his friends. He chatted about his decision not to take the final classes to walk with the Taft High School class. He had tested out of two years, and has used Dual Enrollment to earn the other two while going to community college. He says he would have liked to participate with his same age friends in town, and a few of them have given him a hard time, but after two years in college, he’s just not in the same place.
We had used the Baccalaureate as a tool for a closing ceremony. He obliged me and took photos with his High School Diploma with me while we were all dressed up and still high on the encouraging words from the speakers. The main speaker is more well known to me, and has been – and may continue to be – more influential on my youngest son as she is closing her final year as his Athletic Director. I walked away from the evening feeling – full. Hole Filled.
It was the drive home, twisting along 101 on the edge of the Pacific Ocean up and over Cape Foul Weather – that the frosting was slathered thick on top of the night, completely filling my empty spot. Nate started talking about schools, and his thoughts of graduating. And how much he really felt whole from graduating Homeschool fully. I shared that I felt like the evening really helped me have closure. He assured me he didn’t need it with these words:
“Graduation gives freedom to my friends.
I’ve had freedom my whole life, “ Nate Shared.
I almost had to pull over. I told him I’d have to write that down. He continued – I’ve had freedom my whole life to learn what and how I’ve wanted to learn, to work anywhere I set my mind to, to accomplish adult goals while I was still 15, and to move forward to college classes when I was ready. My friends need graduation so that they can now be in control of their own lives. I’ve always had that.
I have a meeting this morning to check out an unexpected path for him next year. I’m sure I’ll be back to write about it later. Yesterday was a circle of thoughts, prayers, and emotions. Crazy how it went full circle before my head hit the pillow. I should know – by now – that ever since that little boy started his journey – the Lord has had a plan, has given the resources, and has put lil Nate in place – one step at a time. Looking forward to the next steps.