“How is your school going Mom?”
A sincere question, but I cringed. We were having our morning chat during the twenty minute drive to school. I looked at the picturesque farms with their rolling landscapes. Still beautiful, even on this rainy morning.
I felt privileged. I live a life I couldn’t have imagined growing up.
Eight months ago, Owen’s question might have brought on tears, but these are the moments that remind me, God is always working. There are always miracles happening.
Me: I had to quit Owen.
Owen: Oh, how come?
Two years ago I wrote an essay for SheLoves Magazine. It was a big, scary story for me to tell, my insecurity of being uneducated and finding myself doing life with deep thinkers, writers and scholars.
After the piece published I felt empowered and signed up for an online course to complete my high school English. Then I had to explain to Owen I had dropped out of high school. It was the first time I was revealing a piece of my past I wasn’t proud of.
He was surprised to find out his mom had dropped out of high school. More surprised than I had thought he would be. My husband and I talk a lot about the importance of education with him, it was hard for him to comprehend I was not.
I started the course, but the work load, a toddler, and a few of life’s curve balls had me in way over my head.
I put my books away, but whenever I came across them, they would remind of my failure.
To make matters worse, what I did learn during my brief period of study showed me how little I actually knew. So I stopped writing. I became embarrassed about my poorly constructed essays floating in cyberspace.
I gave up my dream.
I allowed fear to paralyze me.
Although I was uneducated and as ridiculous as the dream seemed, I felt called to write.
It’s hard go through life with a dream dying inside of you.
I worried about letting Owen know I had quit. The example it could give to my impressionable little boy. Was I teaching him how to be l like me?
I have raised my kids with my story chasing me, dreading the day that I may stand in judgement before them.
I have tried to carve out a normal life from an abnormal past. My childhood had some really tough years and probably more pain than a lifetime should hold.
I went into adulthood damaged and hurting. I made a lot of mistakes, a lot of bad choices. But God rescued me.
I knew that I would need to find a way to live with my past, with the things I could never be proud of.
Because even when I had reconciled with God and my sins had been erased in heaven, my earthly truth still haunted me.
I wondered how much I would have to tell Owen. If he would understand.
Which sin will be too much too forgive?
As I relive my past, will I feel defeated with each passing memory?
My failure at school was small, but now having failed again I wondered if I could ever really leave that part of me behind.
I imagined losing the respect of my little boy, who I have loved since the day I brought him into this world.
Owen is approaching the age where the smoke and mirrors disappear and our kids see our mistakes. They notice our flaws. They see our humanity.
Last year a random conversation started up with a Facebook acquaintance. I had just started my new blog, and was trying to overcome the voices that said I shouldn’t and couldn’t. I was still living under “failure”.
I don’t even know how it began, but in those brief exchanges, I learned that at fifty years old, this woman had returned to school and earned a couple of degrees.
It was one of those God timed, conversations.
As I read her words, I felt tears rolling down my cheeks. The healing kind, that tell your soul you are going to be okay.
I still have a lifetime.
Me: Owen, I had to stop school for now, my life is busy with having your little brother at home, I don’t think it was the best timing.
Owen: Yeah, that makes sense. (pauses for thought) Mom? Maybe you should do it when he is five?
Me: That would be a much better age. But I am still writing Owen. I have a mentor to help me, so I am doing what I love. Do you know what a mentor is Owen?
Owen: Ummm, sort of.
Me: It would be like if a really good hockey player took you under his wing and taught you some new skills. It is when we personally pass on knowledge to someone to help them grow and better themselves.“
Owen: Oh. It’s like Jesus with his disciples!
I grin from ear to ear.
There is one thing that Owen has that I didn’t while growing up. It’s the name that says everything is going to be alright. It holds the promise of grace, new beginnings and eternal endings.
Did I mention Owen is a genius?
Have you struggled here friends?
I wonder if it will be life and circumstances that will show us what to tell our kids?
Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
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