I swear………… I saw a ghost the other day.
Rushing through the dining room from one task to another I caught a glimpse of someone I surely recognized and had to stop and do a double take. Mary?!? Wow. There in the mirror…my mother. It’s happened.
Shoot, she looks pretty good for her age!
Yes, I have reached the age where I can now clearly see traces of my departed Mother gazing back at me in the mirror and there’s more than the numbers on the clock and calendar telling how the time has passed. If I’m honest about the sum I have to admit that even the roughest of the years have been sweet and kind.
I’m in the sorting stage. Toys, books, pictures, papers and homeschool supplies…sorting what leaves, what stays and where it all belongs now.
With the wedding of my oldest on the nearing horizon, another one deciding life matters for the future and only two more years with the last at home, it’s necessary now to see my children, myself and my role through a different lens.
Though somewhat hazy and bittersweet, the memories have kept their fond flavor and can make sense while taking their proper place. Hanging up one hat, I begin to put on another knowing I must not — can not–hold on to what was never mine. This is the way it should be. It’s ok. It’s good.
In this next season I’ve been entrusted with much to hold and to behold as well. This realization was made clear to me as I was filling out some volunteer paperwork for our local homeschool association. There was a line (how I never noticed this before is beyond me) asking “veterans” to consider mentoring new homeschool families.
Let’s see, I’ve been homeschooling fourteen years so that makes me–seriously?! A veteran? Me?
When did THAT happen?
Truth is, I was a reluctant homeschooler who never felt like I was doing it right. Truth is I’ve felt this way about most everything I’ve had to do all along.
Parenting? Double yup.
Being a grown and responsible Christian woman? A thousand times yup.
So how did it happen? How is it that anyone would want to listen to me about life, marriage, parenting, homeschooling, womanhood, my walk with Christ, cooking or ANYTHING for that matter? When and how did I earn the title of veteran or expert in any of these ways?
What do I have to offer?
Then I realize it’s all in the understanding of what makes an expert. An expert isn’t someone who’s done it all correctly, faultlessly or effortlessly. It’s not someone who never failed.
A veteran is simply one who engaged in the battle, joined in the fight and served day after day to the best of their ability. To be an expert veteran, you just keep showing up. Keep trying. Fail…and try again. Succeed and celebrate!
Young bride? This is for you. Homeschooling momma of several with a newborn? This is for you. Sweet woman with an emptying nest and the fresh-faced new neighbor girl next door? This is for you and for the older woman with still so much to share. It’s for all of us wondering if we’re getting it right…who don’t feel qualified…who are afraid to try, fail or succeed.
Because it’s going to be ok.
As I look back down memory lane sure, there are some places I’d love to revisit and others I wish were never there at all. Sometimes, I’d like a do-over so I could live and love from the place of grace I’ve come to know now.
Then I realize and accept that every God-given gift of today is available to me as a yesterday’s do-over. Here and now…I get to use my hard won status as a veteran and “expert” to love those around me with added grace today.
You do too.
Linking up for the first time with the Lovely Lisha Epperson’s community Give Me Grace.
This post originally appeared on Hearts Homeward where my sweet writer friend, Patty Hessler Scott extended the invitation to introduce me to her readers. Patty is the Cheerleader’s cheerleader and has been such an encouragement to me in my journey.