I had a moment Sunday night, when I had some spare time on my hand. I had to report grades for the second semester of their junior year and I submitted their lesson plan for the next school year, and before I could submit it all, I had to register these babies for their senior year of high school.
I mean, they are still my "babies", right? Even if Noah (on the right) towers over me like a brick wall. This is how they'll forever be in my mind. Four years old, living their best lives in all the John Deere green they could find and riding their little tractors all over the downstairs of our home.
Those were the days when we were always at the local elementary school that Graham and Drew attended. I was always room mom and volunteering for everything~copies, lunches, health room, laminating, you name it, I was there. We would pack up for the day and go to CES and we'd spend the whole day there. We'd take lunches~theirs were always in their John Deere tractor lunch boxes~and loads of Matchbox cars and they would play wherever I worked that day.
And then it was their turn to start kindergarten, and if Jonah even heard the word "school", he would start crying. He didn't want to be separated from his twin brother, like he knew would happen once August came for their kindergarten year. The principal at the time wanted to do that and I agreed to disagree with her choice, but we made the best out of a hard situation. Up until that point, they'd never spent even one minute apart from each other.
I got a job at that same school right after they started kindergarten that year. For the first two weeks of the school year, I worked in the health room all day long every single day. The third or fourth week of the year was when a job position opened up and I jumped at the chance to work there part time. I became the lunch lady and was in charge of about six hundred or more students as they ate lunch in three different shifts everyday. I wore an apron and passed out ketchup packets, hugs and love. They never knew what I was doing as I worked there, but I'd walk that entire lunch room and pray over each and every student. I could always spot a new student from their first day, and I always told my friends if I knew someone's name, it was not for a good reason.
It was not a glamorous job, but it kept me humble, it kept me busy, it allowed me the opportunity to put my eyes on all four of my sons everyday they were there, I got to know all of their friends and their teachers, and it paid me a minimal salary. It was the best job I've ever had and my favorite to date. I am not kidding when I say that. It was loud and chaotic, but let me know you something~when I needed to get those kids' attention, with my voice or a certain clap, I could quickly gain the attention of over two hundred students at one time.
I worked three hours everyday~I'd be with all the students for lunch, then I would put the teachers' mail into their mailboxes in the faculty lounge. After that I'd help out in the office and answer phones or do anything else that was needed while I finished my last half hour. For a few months I worked full time as I worked my job and also filled in for the "office lady" Kathy as she recovered from surgery. I also took cash to the bank after my job everyday and that gave me "comp time" that I would bank and save for field trips with my boys. I am telling you, the Lord gave me favor there both in the school system and with the principal~even if I did crash into her car my very first day of work. Not even kidding.
I loved my job, but I loved being with my kids the most.
And now, they're about to done with school. We started our homeschooling journey the year they entered into the fourth grade and we've never stopped. We pulled Graham and Drew out during that same school year, but after the Christmas break. I had two in fourth grade, one in seventh grade and one in eighth grade. This will be our ninth and final year of homeschooling.
It's been fun and it's been terrible. It's caused me to lose sleep and to have a panic attack in the middle of the night as I thought of something I'd forgotten in their curriculum. It's been easy on some days and on other days it was impossible. They've loved it and they've hated it at times. I've also loved it and hated it, depending on the year and the attitudes they had. But really, none of them ever had bad attitudes.
They're independent in their work, meaning they don't need me around all that much. They know what to do each week and the work gets completed. Unless Jonah makes copies of the wrong math and the semester gets messed up, but it all worked out in the end. I've been a terrible homeschool mom and I've been a good homeschool mom. What we've done has worked and what we've done has failed.
I suppose what I'm saying is that it's been a journey and one we'll never forget. It just seems like they should still be four years old and so little and cute like this. (They're still cute, though.)
If you ask them what their plans are for after high school, they will undoubedly tell you they don't know what they'll be doing. I know they do not want to go to college. We are okay with this, but if they don't go to school, the rule is they have to work full time. Once they're working regularly, we begin the process of letting them go, meaning they pay for their own hair cuts, they shop for their own clothes, they're no longer required to tell us quite so much of their whereabouts.
The Lord has begun to plant an idea in Jonah's mind, and I will let him be the one to tell you what it is, because it could always change. But he is starting to think along the lines of a certain path he wants to take. It's a good plan, and I'm happy for him. Noah says one thing, but I'm not sure how it's going to work out quite yet.
If you wouldn't mind, would you pray for them alongside me, regarding that? I always ask the Lord to give them wisdom and guidance. I don't want them to take one step outside the will of God, and my greatest prayer for all of my sons is that they would all love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength and that they would love others as they love themselves. I pray that over Alex, my bonus son as well, and I pray it over all five of their future wives.
If you see me out and about during the 2020/2021 school year and I'm crying silently, don't mind me. I'll be fine. This year is hard, emotionally, and even the third time around, it has not gotten any easier. They're not going anywhere, these sons of mine, but their childhood flew right by. It seems they started kindergarten and I blinked and they were in middle school. Then they hit sixth grade and I blinked again, and here they are soon to be seniors in high school.
For you young moms, hug your babies~they don't keep, that is for sure.
I'll leave you with some current pictures of my handsome twin sons.
This is Jonah with Chip, whom he loves more than anyone else in the house. Jonah is one of the hardest working people I know and has a work ethic just like his dad. He is so smart and is someone I consider an entrepeneur. He's run his own car detailing service since he was fifteen years old and has worked full time over a summer (last summer helping a church friend who owns a floor company) and is busy every single day of his life. I cannot keep up with his crazy schedule.
This is sweet Noah. Don't let this picture fool you~I forced him to do this for me the night before he left to go on a trip to California with his best friend. This was back in November of 2019. But he surely is a sweet little thing, not that he is little anymore. He towers over me! He is smart, kind, honest, sweet and diligent. He worked his first "real" job starting in the fall of 2019 at Papa John's, and resigned this spring to work with his best friend for a lawn service. He works two or three days a week and makes great money.
And this is one of my favorite pictures of them. It was the night they turned seventeen this past March, before the quarantine and COVID19 hit.
I am going to say this one final thing before I wrap this up~do not think for one second our family is perfect. I assure you, we are the furthest thing from that. But, and this is a big one~in this house we love Jesus.
We've raised them with consistency, we've given them consequences when they disobeyed, we've told them church attendance is not optional as long as they live under our roof, and my husband has been an excellent father/Dad/friend. We love our kids, sure, but we genuinely like them and love being with them. My husband gets most of the credit for this, because though I love them and am great for feeding, loving on and nurturing, what a son needs is a Dad. Not a "father", not a "friend", but a Dad.
Todd has coached their teams, he's been involved in every aspect of their lives, he follows them and all their friends on ALL the social media outlets (I do not do this!), and he has done an exceptional job at all of this. I once heard a quote that is very true~whichever parent is the same sex is the most effectual parent. This means that a dad is the most important to sons, and a mom is most important to daughters. I will also say here that I have stepped back in my role of "mom" and I have let my husband do this...we do not always agree on everything, but I stand behind him and support him.
Most importantly~I give all the glory and praise to God for helping us parent these four sons He has entrusted us with. I pray they always hold fast to Jesus, and that they never lose sight of Him in their lives.
Thanks for reading my blog. Love to all.