Sunday, August 28, 2011

Can I Ever, Truly Retire?

I occasionally dream about what those far-off retirement years could look like - traveling, having a house stuffed to the brim with family during the holidays, traveling some more to visit our kids scattered around the world, relaxing (LOTS of relaxing)...and no more homeschooling.

That last one doesn't make most people's "dream" list of what retirement will look like, does it?  It's actually made my list for a long time now.  Don't get me wrong, I've loved all these years of guiding my children through those formative years of their education.  I wouldn't trade it for anything.  However, when I think about the fact that I began that journey in 1991, and depending on how long we homeschool the could be as late as 2020 or 21 before I'm makes me very tired.

I mentioned to Nate recently that if there was no other reason to find alternative schooling options for our younger three children when they reach high school age, that was ONE reason that was good enough for me - the fact that I'd be in my mid-50's by the time Josiah graduates.   When I started homeschooling as a young, 20-something-year-old mom, did I imagine I would still be doing it into my mid-50's?  Not even remotely.  But was Nate sympathetic?

"Oh, but that's a great age to retire; several years younger than most people retire.  That's one of the advantages of being a teacher!" he replied.

If only they could still use crayons
to do their college algebra.
Not exactly the kind of understanding, consoling response I was looking for.

As I think more about it, however, I realize homeschooling is too intertwined with the mom job to ever be something you just completely "quit" doing.  It's like during the summer, when Josiah asks about the web things in the trees with hundreds and hundreds of ugly caterpillars inside of them.  School is the furthest thing from my mind in summer-time (I enjoy summer break more than the kids do) and yet I hear myself telling him that we need to look them up and figure out what we can learn about them.  It's just become habit turning to look when someone hollers "MOM!" even if your children are nowhere around...or fully grown.

Does that mean I've convinced myself I can formally school my last three children all the way through their high school graduation?  Hmmm...I hope not.  But it does mean, some far off day when I'm "retired" and walking through the woods with one of my grandkids, we'll probably pick up some random, crawling thing and trot back to the house to figure out what it is.  And when the younger sibling screams because he didn't get a creepy crawly like big sister did...I'll turn to his mother and say, "You should deal with that screaming child."

THAT will be retirement.

No comments: