I loaded up the suburban with four kids and a big cooler full of lunch and backpacks laden with pencils, water bottles, and snacks and drove down the hill (which is mountain folks' way of saying we went down the mountain to Denver) to attend our 3-day practicum for Classical Conversations. Classical Conversations is the homeschool community that we attend each Monday and that serves as the basis for our home education. It is a great fit academically for our family, has enriched our lives with wonderful friends and mentors, and has brought us closer to each other and to our Christian faith. How's that for a win/win/win situation?
Anyway, we arrived at the church that was hosting our practicum, and we sunscreened before walking across the parking lot to the church. My big kids grabbed backpacks and walked ahead of me while the littlest fellow, who isn't all that little anymore, held my hand as we looked both ways for cars before running to catch up with the others. It seems that Asher's main purpose in life is to look adorable, crack us up, and attempt to keep up with the others. No joke!
Another anyway, because if there's a tangent, I'm following it, I walked up behind my big kids and I wondered how I got here. It was this quiet, introspective, surreal moment in a day of busy as I quietly assessed my little, big life. That's such a loaded, confusing, nebulous question. . . how did I get here? How did I, a women's studies and English major who was never getting married and never having kids because I was going to graduate from college, join the Peace Corps, and live a nomadic life of service and/or become a professor, end up as a home educating, Suburban driving, lunch packing, shoe tying, hand holding while we look both ways and cross the street, sharer of books, teller of stories, family adventure seeker, and off-key and exuberant singer of random tunes? Where do those two seemingly divergent paths intersect?
And how did I, the women who actually did get married (really young!) and did have babies (four, in fact, because go big or go home, I guess), become a mother of kids that can pack their own lunches and backpacks and attend Logic Camp and perform skits they made up based on the fallacies they learned about in Camp? How do I have a boy that is almost tall enough to look me in the eyes? How do I have a girl that all of our friends with younger kids want to use as their babysitter? How do I have a boy about to go to a week at camp without his mama? How do I have a boy who wears his little green hiking backpack to Day Camp and plays with the kids all day and comes home telling me all about how "the grown ups are sooooo nice to me and none of the kids were mean."
This is my life. It is exactly 0% how I pictured it. Maybe even negative 374% how I expected it. But, you know what? It's just exactly how it's supposed to be. Teenage and early college DeNae could never ever EVER ever have known what was coming down the pike. I wouldn't have believed one iota of it if someone had read an accurate crystal ball of my life at 40. Most days, I still can't believe it.
It turns out I wasn't meant to travel the world to live and share my passions. At least not yet. Right now my place, my life, my calling is with these five people, two mutts, and a fat cat that I call family. God called me here, right here within these four walls of a fixer-upper in our little mountain town instead, and I'm gobsmacked, honored, and thrilled. I'm also in over my head, tired of cleaning the kitchen, and constantly reprioritizing so we aren't stretched too thin.
So, how did I get here? God brought me here. I believe this is the life God planned for me and brought me to, one unexpected fork in the road at a time. I won't pretend to have any idea what's coming next. Clearly my track record for accurately envisioning the future hovers around 0/24,498. Regardless of how I got here and how much it differs from my expectations, I am so ridiculously grateful that all paths led to this space in time with these people.