We love to watch DVDs of our kids from years ago. It’s amazing how quickly my husband and I have forgotten the high pitch of their younger voices and the childish roundness of their younger faces.
It’s hilarious to see the kids’ reactions to themselves and their siblings as well.
“Look at my teeth!”
“Look at my hair!”
“Did I really sound like that?!?”
During our Christmas holiday, we watched a DVD featuring a snippet of home-schooling life from about six years ago. My teens were mere third graders then, and my third grader a toddler. I was behind the camera, recording my older two in the kitchen as they attempted to recite their spelling words with their precocious baby brother horning in.
“Rowan, spell paralyzed,” I asked my youngest on camera.
“Perelized. D-0-P-O-D-O-D. Perelized,” he replied quite proudly from his perch in his high chair.
“Good! Now spell similar.”
“Similer. D-0-P-O-D-O-D. Similer.”
“That’s great, honey! Just like your brother and sister.”
In the background, his older brother and sister were laughing hysterically, both on camera and in the present day, as he continued to spell word after word with the same combination of letters. He was convinced that mastering spelling required the say-spell-say method, and he had the rhythm down perfectly, if not the actual letters.
Fast forward to this Monday.
Rowan and I opened up his brother’s old spelling book, which Rowan now uses, to the week’s current list. And there they were—paralyzed, similar, and more—all those words he had tried to spell as a two-year-old. Here he was, spelling them for real as an eight-year-old, sitting in the kitchen and practicing them with me while I washed dishes, just as I had been doing with his older brother and sister a moment ago, or so it seemed.
My kids know that I’m an unashamed weeper, and the waterworks turned on just for a moment as I ran my finger down the page, trying to fathom how six years could have gone by so quickly. My baby is no baby anymore. My oldest will be fifteen in a couple of weeks. By the time we record a few more DVDs, they’ll be grown and gone.
Part of me truly despises that fact, and I know myself well enough to admit that when they do leave the nest, I’ll be a complete basket case for a while. I will cry and miss them desperately and put on a stiff upper lip when they call home. I will be truly pathetic, as my daughter would say.
But when that season passes, I know I will find great joy. I will reflect on what a privilege it was to be the one who taught each of my children to read, to dig deep into God’s Word, to discover and use the gifts he gave them. I might even turn the school room into a craft room, who knows?
In the meantime, we face many more years of spelling lists and advanced math, dance lessons and robotics club.
And I’ll continue to pray that this verse will remain true in my life:
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” III John 4
Are you an empty nester, or still in the early stages of your family journey? I’d love to hear from you.