My Beautiful Mess

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There are fingerprints on the television. And on the walls. And on the windows. Tiny little fingerprints made by tiny little hands. And there are crayons buried in the couch and storybooks tucked behind the cushions. I’m going to miss this someday—the messes, the spills, the child-marks left everywhere.

Yesterday, I held the littlest one while she slept, and she didn’t fit in my arms. Somehow, she has grown too big too fast, and my heart strains against the time that passes before I can catch a breath. Whenever she falls asleep in my arms, I wonder: Is this time the last? Because one day, perhaps without me noticing, it will be.

Today, my head ached with a borderline migraine. But I know that these moments are passing at break-neck speed and I desperately want to savour them. So, we closed the school books and I swallowed two blue headache pills and we went hiking.

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Thankfully, not long from now, nostalgia will sweeten the memory, because this wasn’t the perfect hike that I imagined it would be. As we walked, the pounding in my head worsened, and the backpack full of snacks, water, birdseed, tissues, wipes, mittens, spare clothes—and other random things a mom carries on a hike—grew heavier and heavier.

Then the middle child decided to tease a goose … and it fought back. It flew right up in her face, although she got away before it nipped her. After making sure that she wasn’t injured, I burst out laughing (you would have too). Unfortunately, she didn’t realize that I was laughing with her. Also, she now appears to be anatidaephobic, a word I looked up specifically for this post. I fully expect to pay for her counselling bill someday.

Not long after that incident, we discovered that the little one’s legs were too small for such a big walk, poor thing. The oldest one took the backpack (effortlessly, go figure) and I hoisted the little one onto my back after promising to give her leftover Easter chocolate if she stopped crying. It works for me, and I’m happy to say that it worked for her too.

Despite our misadventures, there was something incredibly special about the forest and wetlands. The chickadees and nuthatches ate seed from our outstretched hands—and one brave little woodpecker, too. The red-winged blackbirds trilled in the reeds. Several pairs of geese were nesting, blissfully unaware of both the straggling snowflakes falling from the sky and the one particular little girl who gave them a wide berth. Everywhere we looked, new growth was pushing through boggy soil.

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Homeschooling is a difficult path in many ways, but it’s a path filled with beauty. Like our hike. There are ups and downs (and those potential future counselling bills), but there is also breath-taking loveliness.

I’ve been praying lately about what to do with this blog. I haven’t made any decisions yet, but until I do, I’d like to start including more of our homeschool journey. I realize that it won’t resonate with some of you because it’s not for everyone, but home education is my calling at this particular moment in time. So, if I sometimes post about curriculum or other such things, bear with me. Because I treasure these days. The fingerprints, the misadventures, the headaches and heartaches—and all the incredible beauty. This is our life.

Our messy, wonderful life.

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