In August 2007, two pivotal events happened in the same week. My first collection of poems was released (on August 21 to be exact), and I officially started homeschooling my three sons. I remember feeling the shift from what I always wanted and thought I would be doing–writing–to what I never wanted or intended to be doing–educating my own children full-time. While I still believed I was called to be a writer, I also believed I was called to set my own dreams aside for the benefit of my family.
I have no regrets.
As we prepare to move our youngest son into his dorm room next week at my alma mater, I know we did the right thing in home educating our boys. As I continue to help my son with special needs navigate adulthood, I know that home education prepared me to be a forever-parent. As I hear about my oldest son’s career pursuits, I know we prepared him well for his future family. As I prepare to use my time wisely and plan out my next writing projects while waiting for the publication of my fourth poetry collection, I am stunned again that I am publishing my eighth book (two of the poetry collections have second editions) and that I have a published a short story.
But, didn’t I say I set my dreams aside? I did. My publishing journey didn’t happen the way I dreamed it would. Yet, it happened all the same.
I kept writing, although less in the first half of homeschooling. I didn’t have to write as much as I thought I did. I had enough poems for another collection, and I had a novel in-progress. Life events provided material and insight for blogs posts that became a devotional. I re-released my first book with new poems and collaborated with my dad on a poetic devotional based on another collection and his teaching material. The collection to be published soon–Redefined: A Year of Poems–took three years to write. In thirteen years of homeschooling, I averaged a book every two years (even though the math doesn’t quite match the time-frame and publication dates).
Were there moments of discouragement, frustration, and wondering if everything would get done including the housework and dinner?
Were there moments of encouragement, joy, and wondering how everything got done including teaching the boys how to do laundry, clean the bathrooms, and do the dishes?
I know many families are struggling to know how to educate their children during this pandemic. I suspect many people are feeling discouraged about having to set aside dreams for the benefit of their families. I can’t speak to the how. But, I can say this.
You won’t regret it.