“I have no life,” I said as we navigated around the construction barrels along a familiar main road we travel several times a week.
My husband–a man of few words, which often drip with bittersweet sarcasm that form pools of deep wisdom–gave me a look I don’t think I’ve ever seen in our thirty years of “dating” and almost twenty-six years of marriage. I knew his words would feel like trying to catch my biggest fish–a small-mouth bass–about ten summers earlier: a strategic letting-out-reeling-in while keeping the fighting fish secured and battling to ignore my aching arms, to persevere in my goal to get it in the boat, and to release it without harm back into the water. I knew his words would affirm and confirm the sinking feeling I’d had all week long.
I wasn’t the one holding the rod and reel. I was the fish.
At the time I caught that smalley, we were two years into our home education journey. I loved that first year. Everyone was still in elementary school, so we were able to chart our courses with unit studies. But, reaching our final destination seemed a long way off as we began our second year. We survived storms, fought battles, and celebrated victories. At the beginning of this school year–my youngest’s senior year–I glimpsed an outline forming on the horizon. I couldn’t help but yell, “Land!” We were almost there.
Then my life felt like the spinning ship’s wheel from the theme song of Gilligan’s Island. The approaching uncharted desert-isle looked awfully familiar.
Somehow–after several frustrating weeks of trying to keep our middle son in a transition program he never should have been able to start in the first place and determining he needed to exit immediately for everyone’s best interests–our child with special needs reentered my daily existence. I felt like my freedom, my dreams, my life had been cast overboard by an invasive flying carp.
Then I heard my husband’s words that sunk in deep like a firmly set hook.
“You do have a life. This is your life.”
He’s right. It is.
Although this uncharted desert isle seems similar, I believe we have landed in another lagoon, perhaps on the other side of an island we had thought we’d left. Spending time in “Hawaii” seemed like a good thing until we realized like that retro, comedic crew, we’ve been away too long. We no longer fit in. Maybe we never did. We definitely don’t want to anymore.
So, here I am sort of back where I started. I know I’ll have moments when the letting-out-reeling-in will strain every muscle in my being. But, to land that biggest catch–to help my son with special needs navigate his own tour through this life–and then to experience the release–whether it’s simply within our own isolated lagoon or into a wider sea–will be our greatest adventure of all.