Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Harry Potter, homeschooling, and the end of an era

This summer feels like a turning point in my life for so many reasons. It's amazing how a three-month span of time can encapsulate so much change.

In June my husband began working in another state, where he taken has an apartment. Monday-Thursday we live apart. After 25 years of marriage, that's a big change. As part of that process we are selling the house that we have lived in for nine years--almost twice as long as I have lived in a house, ever--and are moving to a supposedly less-expensive house. The move is one I've wanted to make for years. We will be closer to friends and church. But it has also been problematic, adding a layer of "What the heck were we thinking?" to the change.

In 30 days our only daughter is getting married. It's all good. He's awesome. They're moving away, but not horribly far. They'll be close enough that visiting can be the matter of a weekend. Like  I said, it's good. But it's also an ending. For almost 25 years I've been the mother of four, at home, living under my roof, and soon I won't be.

My homeschooling days feel like they are almost done. After almost 16 years this is also a big change. My 18 year old needs only a burnishing of math skills, and will be in a college class or two this year. My 15 year old is ready to spread his wings. He wants to go to a residential charter school--at a university out of town--for his junior and senior years. It's a good plan. It would be a challenge for me to provide a challenge for him if he stayed. I have one more year with him, but I really don't do anything for him anymore except buy books and shuttle him places.

My almost 21-year-old, who was the catalyst for our homeschooling, and therefore so much of what has been wonderful about the past 15-plus years, has gone from being that kind of weird, unhappy five-year-old who didn't GET letters and hated school to a college honor student and suit-salesman extraordinaire. And Harry Potter was a part of that. Back when I was trying hard not to despair of him ever learning to read, he went from zero to Harry Potter in three days. Yep. Although he had never read a book before, he read The Sorcerer's Stone in three days. It was a major turning point.

And over the past eleven years Harry Potter has been a part of our lives. Almost every summer has been marked by a new book or movie release. We've been to book release parties and midnight movies. We've  bought multiple copies and still had two people lying on the floor with a book open at two different spots, reading. We've debated the good or evil of Snape and of the books themselves. We've drawn all kinds of comparisons between the books and movies and other books and movies. We've gone to HP sectionals at Higher Things and listened to HP discussions on Issues, Etc.

And tomorrow night the last movie comes out. My three oldest are going to the midnight movie with my youngest and oldest sons' best friends. (My youngest is away for the week and can't believe he planned so badly!) I made it to all of the midnight showings until the last, but I fear age and responsibility have caught up with me.

So bear with me if I'm feeling a bit nostalgic. This is yet another chapter closing in a bittersweet summer.


Christopher Gillespie said...

Ah, but there's hope for us who are in the struggle! Its good to hear there will be some relief in the end.

Delawaremamma said...

Oh Jane thank you so much! Our oldest is but three and our family is presently growing but this is a beautiful reminder of all the wonderful memories we have yet to make as a family and how soon it changes for us all.

It's hard to envision making those memories when I still feel like I'm "In the weeds". These are the things that I look forward to:-) Thank you.

Patrick said...

Goodness. This is enough to make one very nostalgic.

Please, good people, do not start hoping yet! She's makes it out as if life were becoming less crazy; do not fall for this ploy. We are still flying by the seat of the collective pants, and while none of us has bitten anyone or made a scene in public for a little while past, we thusfar remain a taxing drain upon the budget and sanity.

Do not entertain any false hopes. Godwilling, your children will outlive you; you cannot escape.

Jason Braaten said...


I wish I were going to the show with your boys. That would be a fantastic morning, but only if we found a hole-in-the-wall diner to gorge ourselves with crispy bacon and fluffy pancakes, bad coffee and a good dose of the Casey boys musings on the movie afterward.

Mom said...

I loved reading this post. Bittersweet is a word that has come to my mind often this summer when I think about your precious family. <3

Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake said...

Ah, it is perfectly right to look to the chapters you've passed through and regret that they are indeed past. But just think how exciting are the chapters yet to come! (And if I'm being too metaphorical: GRANDKIDS!!!)

Jacqui said...

I agree with Patrick, definitely ;-)

I've found this last year and the one we're in to be full of a lot of change as well. My baby is going to start high school but yet has a lot to learn about social etiquette and such.

My three are going to the midnight showing of Harry Potter: IMAX, 3D and all. John's birthday present to Emma.

I'm happy for many of your changes, Jane, just not the one where your hubby has to commute back and forth.

Nostalgia makes me uncomfortable at times, like I don't want to deal with what's going on now and missing my oldest who I don't see as often as I'd like. I wonder if our parents felt the same way.

This is definitely a year of major changes for you. We'll do what we can to help you transition :-)

Elephantschild said...

I see that Patrick has been absorbing Dalrymplism quite well.

...and dang it, Jane, you've made me cry.

Majid Ali said...
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