Tuesdays are becoming my favorite day of the week now. I get to drop my kids off for their Latin class that lasts three hours. Then I head to Barnes and Noble to sit and have coffee (sometimes a pastry, too) and get out my notebook that has my autobiography in it. Everything I’ve written so far is printed out from our computer. But I have a section of notebook paper for the new stuff I work on while I’m at the bookstore. Sometimes it takes me awhile to get started; I have to sit and think first unless I have already thought ahead of time about where I want to take my story. So that’s when I just watch people. Yesterday I even took a sketch pad and pencils and made a sketch of a mother and daughter.
I’ve noticed that on Tuesday mornings there are usually a lot of senior citizens there. Sometimes they are alone or there’s a pair of ladies, and yesterday there was a group of about four men. They sat at a table behind me. After a couple of minutes I heard one of them say, “Patsy!” I turned around thinking, I don’t know any of these guys! I smiled and the man who had spoken said, “I only know one other person who goes by that name. She’s my daughter!” I said, “Yeah, and my name isn’t short for Patricia or anything. It’s just the name my mom gave me. And she always told me to never go by Pat. But I wouldn’t want to anyway.” He laughed and said it was a good name. I thanked him.
I turned around smiling and sat and listened to their chatter. I don’t remember everything they were talking about, but I know they started talking about mixed alcoholic drinks. Okay. Then I realized that all the talking around me was distracting me anyway. I hadn’t really gotten started writing at that point yet, so I got out my iPod and earphones and plugged in. Sometimes I hate doing that, because it feels “unsociable” to me. In fact I don’t really like it when I am driving the kids around with my music playing and each of them are plugged in to their own iPods! But such as it is, that’s what happens most of the time. That’s not to say we don’t talk some; we do. Just not as much as we used to.
Before we started homeschooling eight years ago, I used to drive them to a private school. Our drive takes about 45 minutes. Back then they both sat in the back seat; they were too small to ride in the front seat. But undoubtedly they would always be smacking at each other or teasing each other or sometimes Josh would be reading a book out loud to Grace (she was only three, and he could already read simple books.) Those were such precious times. They are 14 and 16 now. Where has the time gone?
Sometimes I think about that year Josh was in Kindergarten when I’m at Barnes and Noble on Tuesdays. I remember all the times I would drop him off at school and Grace and I would head over there to hang out for a bit. Now I look around at women or men who bring their little ones in there to read or let them play at the train table in the children’s department. I feel nostalgic on those days. However, most of the time I really enjoy my time alone. I even struggle with guilt that I don’t ask a friend to meet me there or try to make new friends. When the kids were little, I used to dream of these days on those really bad days that we had at times. Now, though, all I have is my memories. And I’m happy to say most of them are wonderful. Memories of baking cookies in the middle of the day while they read quietly to themselves. Putting on a Veggie Tales video so I could lay down for a few minutes to rest. Going for walks in our quiet neighborhood and gathering fallen leaves on a crisp Fall day. Looking for bugs outside for science or raising butterflies to let go when they were ready to fly. Teaching them both to read is among my very best memories. They both love to read to this day. That is a gift I received back from my teaching.
We had the opportunity to spend so much time together that we are all very close now. I like to think we always will be. But the greatest gift our homeschooling experience has given me is the relationship that has developed between the two of them. They tell each other things they don’t even tell me! But that’s okay. They have the kind of relationship I always wanted to have with my brothers. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen for me. So their relationship with one another is one of the hugest blessings God has given me in my life.
It’s amazing how being alone in a public place can be so tantalizing to the senses! Barnes and Noble is one of my favorite hangouts for being alone. But even when I am alone, I never really am. God is always with me reminding me of all the blessings He has given me. And my memories are always there to keep me company.
So I would encourage you that whenever you begin to feel bummed out, down or discouraged, just think about all of the things you can be thankful for. And you may be looking up in no time!