Over the summer the boys decided they wanted to go to public school. I was sad because I loved home schooling them. It was stressful, but I loved it and I wanted to always do it. I wanted to give them the opportunity to go to school and fully expected them to hate it. It turns out they pretty much loved it. They wished it was shorter and they didn't have homework, but still they loved it and they loved their teachers. Every morning I prayed with them and sent them off to school. Every morning it was hard. I wanted them home, but I didn't want to be selfish. I thought it would get easier to send them off to school, but it got harder. I started feeling like they should be home. At first I dismissed it because I thought it was just my desire to have them home, but that feeling of need grew every day until I could hardly bear to have them leave. I wanted to call the school and take them out. I was starting to feel anxiety every time I sent them to school or thought about them going and I didn't feel good again until they came back. Knowing that anxiety is not a feeling Heavenly Father gives I decided I needed to find peace. When I found out what Heavenly Father wanted for my family I knew I would find peace. The problem was that every time I prayed about taking them out I had a bad feeling, I felt like it was wrong. When I thought of keeping them in school I felt like that was wrong too. So after weeks of praying and thinking I finally just asked, "What do you want me to do? I wasn't ready before, but I am ready now. I will do what you want, whatever you want." I felt like they should be home in the mornings to be home schooled and then go to public school for a few hours in the afternoon. As soon as I thought that I fell immense peace and relief. The feelings were so strong that I was able to pinpoint the time of day they should go and when they should get out of school.
So the next day, without them knowing, I went in to talk to the principal and their teachers to get everything worked out. It took a few days and a bit of running around, but I got everything worked out before the end of the week. We were to start Monday. A new week. A new Month. A new start. Having them home has felt right. I know home school is not for everyone, but I know for sure that home school is for us. The children are all happier. They boys play together more, help more, they are more cheerful, less tired. The girls are happier to have their brothers home and I am happier as well. Not the happy of getting a new toy or my own way, but the deep seated, all is well joy. When it comes time for them to leave in the afternoon I feel no sadness or anxiety. I am happy to see them going to school to spend time with their friends, teachers, and learning some fun lessons away from home. I still have the responsibility to teach my children, but now I am ok sharing that responsibility. And now they are home before I know it. Part time gives us the freedom of home school, the lessons of public school, and the girl time we all need. It is our perfect fit.
I know that Heavenly Father knows my family, he knows me, and he knows what is best for us. I know that God guides me as I teach and raise my children because they are his children too. I know that God loves me.
As someone who suffers from depression and anxiety I sometimes struggle when we have those lessons in church, you know the ones about faith and fear and they can't coexist. It always bothers me because as someone who lives in fear daily they seem to be saying I just don't have enough faith. I have actually been told by people, by a bishop even, that I wouldn't have anxiety if I would just have faith, I wouldn't be afraid anymore, or depressed, I just needed to have more faith in Christ. Now, I know myself pretty well. I know where I am struggling spiritually and where I need to work, but faith, well, I say I'm doing pretty good in the faith department. I know Jesus Christ is my savior and Redeemer, more then that, I FEEL it. Yet my anxiety remains. Some days are so bad that I can hardly function.
Well I'm here to tell you that you can have faith and fear. At the same time. I experienced it today, and it made me think of all the times that I have had a similar experience. I have had really rough couple of days as far as depression and anxiety go. I get this feeling in the pit of my stomach, like I'm going down from a really high roller coaster, you know that tight feeling? My muscles tense, ready to run, I can feel it in my whole body. My mind gets a little foggy, it's hard to think of anything except the worry and the fear. I start to pull into myself. And then I pray and I feel peace. Oddly enough it don't take away the fear, it's still there. I still feel tense and my stomach hurts and my head hurts, but there is peace. How can I feel them both? I won't question it, I'll be grateful for it because even though faith and fear are not supposed to be able to exist at the same time, somehow, fear and peace do. They don't struggle and fight each other, they exist together and somehow I make it through the day and hopefully tomorrow is a little brighter.
Look at that beautiful little girl. My first girl. I knew the moment she was born I would never let her be hurt. But one day I did something that could have killed her. I forgot about her in the car in the middle of summer. I used to think I never would, how could anyone forget about a baby in the car, or anywhere!? Here's my story.
We had all taken a trip tot he pool. On the way back my seat broke and I was leaned way back int he car and couldn't see the front of my long car so I ran into the wall that surrounds my neighbors yard. I busted a hole in it and I was super stressed. I got the kids out of the car, gathered up all of the swimming stuff in my arms and rushed inside with burning feet. I put everything away, got the boys occupied and called the insurance company, my neighbor, and found someone to fix the wall. I remember thinking at one time that it was oddly quiet and wondered where Elizabeth was. I had my arms full so I must have brought her in and since it was nap time that was why it was so quiet. I kept making phone calls. I'm not sure how long she was there, but thank heaven my friend's sister came to visit and noticed her in the car. Suddenly I was the worst parent. I didn't even deserve children. I didn't tell anyone. Only my neighbor and her sister, and my husband knew what happened. I was afraid my kids would be taken since I was so incompetent, I was afraid that people would judge me, I was ashamed so I tried to just forget it.
The week after Abigail was born I did it again. I went to church with Benjamin and new born baby Abigail and I went into church without her. I saw my reflection in the door and wondered why I had a huge diaper bag with me since Benjamin didn't need it and then I remembered. Twice it happened to me, twice heaven looked out for my babies. But it happened. It happens. It doesn't make me a bad mother. In fact, anyone who knows me knows how totally dedicated I am to my children. I am an excellent, attentive, involved mom, but still it happened to me.
It happens. It happened when I was distracted and stressed, when something was new and out of the ordinary. I don't judge those parents who forget. They are not bad parents. That made a mistake, one I guarantee they will never forget whether their child was harmed or not. My heart breaks for them. They have enough weighing no their mind and heart without hurtful comments from strangers. Next time I will do more then refuse to be unkind, I will offer a kind word and i hope you do too.