As expected homeschool is not all rainbows and butterflies. Surprising, I know. The kids and I have had our share of run ins over doing their work, fighting with each other and the normal things that would be expected from children. However, the most unexpected challenge has been the making of new friends – not the kids making new friends, but me.
I miss my moms.
I miss chatting in carpool and catching up with friends at those stupid school fundraisers. I miss the circle of support that you receive from a friend rolling their eyes with you during curriculum night. The knowing glare when the teacher explains the daily reading log and you’re both thinking, “yeah, that will never happen”. The communal groan when the sign up sheet gets passed around for the third classroom party. The community you feel knowing that you are all just trying to survive – together.
Don’t get me wrong, my friends – my real friends – have been incredibly supportive. We’ve had play dates and phone calls and I know that they are around me supporting me in my choice, even if it is different from their choice. That is real friendship – a friend who can still support you while doing something different. But I miss the community of people who ARE doing the same thing. I miss the comfort and confirmation from other mothers knowingly nodding their head in agreement and encouragement.
Recently the kids and I attend a homeschool event and as we walked into the room we realized that everybody already knew everyone and as everybody happily chatted and played we were left in the corner. I tried to make eye contact with several kids and moms but most smiled and looked back to their conversations. The awkwardness and isolation washed over all of us — Lucy, feeling it the most acutely. As we left having not a single person talk to us Lucy said, “I need a break from meeting new kids. Can’t we just hang out at home?”
I slinked home feeling defeated and insecure. Perhaps I was not the best person to teach my kids to make friends. Perhaps I made the wrong decision ripping them from the bosom of their friends at school. Perhaps they will grow up to be social outcasts.
Wednesday came and the kids and I went to Max’s first speech class. As we sat in the lobby waiting for the speech therapist another family walked in. The mom tall with long red hair, a young girl with glasses, about Lucy’s age and their youngest daughter with long beautiful blonde curls. The speech therapist arrived and the youngest girl and Max walked off to class. I introduced myself and asked if they were also homeschoolers (it was in the middle of the day so it was a safe assumption). She timidly responded, “yes, this is our first year” – I controlled my enthusiasm as much as I could when I responded, “ours too. How old is your daughter?” She pulled up a chair next to me and said “This is Madison, and she’s ten”
Thank the Lord above!!
Well, Lucy and Madison hit it off right away with a whole list of things in common and as the mother and I chatted so did we. As we walked back to the car Lucy turned and said “I made a new friend.” Friendship is always easy with the right person.