Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Finding a Spouse, Homeschool-Style

I wrote this Feb 7, 2015. I'm not sure why it sat unpublished for over a year, but I want to remember it down the road...


It's so fun to sit back and just listen to my children, letting them chatter away.

The youngest needed some “board game” time with Dad the other night, so I took the older two out to the local coffee and doughnut shop. We lingered over coffee and hot chocolate while we chatted about the day, the weekend ahead of us, and life in general. On the walk home, we got into discussions about money, marriage, and making sure you make a good choice in who your spouse is, before you ever say, “I do.”

It was at this point in the conversation (which really wasn't as deep as it may sound) that the younger of the two admitted something. “When we first started talking about homeschooling, I thought that I would never meet other kids and I didn't know how I would ever find someone to marry."

The older one chimed in with, “Me too! I pictured myself standing on the sidewalk somewhere and just asking questions of people as they went by. If they answered just one question wrong, then I'd move on to someone else until I found someone who answered all my questions correctly.”

We all had a good laugh at how absurd that seemed now, busy as we are with our many "school" events. I am so thankful for the amazing, quality friends that my kids have made in the last few years. Any fears we were told to have about “socialization” quickly went out the window when we started homeschooling. I love these kids that we're getting to hang out with every week and I love the sense of culture and community that these families are instilling in their children. Yes, I'll take homeschool-socialized children any day!

Grandma's bag of marshmallows

I have to tell you one of my favourite stories of my Grandma Hazel...

When I was a little girl, I lived in the same city as Grandma Hazel and Grandpa Ralph. They often visited our house, but just as often, we ended up at their house. I have many fond memories of sitting at Grandma's kitchen table, sipping tea and nibbling toast while we played Password. (I just loved that plastic red window through which I could see my word.)

But one of the reasons I loved going to Grandma's house most was that I knew she would have a bag of marshmallows which she kept tucked away just for us girls. So thought little 7 year-old Wanda. They were there  just for us girls! So of course, I asked for a marshmallow every time I visited.

As moms tend to do, my mom saw the need to curb my uncouth behaviour, more specifically, my unabashed begging for marshmallows. One particular day, as we drove to Grandma's house, Mom told us girls, "Now when we get to Grandma's house, I do NOT want you to ask for a marshmallow. If she offers you one, you may say 'Yes, please' but you may NOT ask for one." We understood and were dutifully ready to obey.

My mind started churning and it didn't take long for me to formulate a sneaky plan.

I walked into Grandma's house that day, gave her a big hug, accepted her kiss, and confessed to her that I wasn't allowed to ask for a marshmallow, but that if she offered me one, I was allowed to say "Yes."

Needless to say, I got my marshmallow that day.

Here I am, sitting on Grandma's lap, looking like I've eaten a few marshmallows at this point.

Grandma looks on as I blow out my candles.
She's probably wondering if she should continue to support my marshmallow habit.

It's been a while since I got a marshmallow from Grandma Hazel, but she still greeted me with a twinkle in her eyes over the last few years. She may have forgotten a few things, but she always had that same smile, hug, and kiss for me when I walked in to visit her.

Last year at her 100th birthday party, she looked on with that twinkle again as her grand-daughters helped her blow out 100 candles.

100 years of memories.

100 years of lives being touched with the same sweet, gentle, and oh-so-generous spirit that we celebrated that day.

100 years of serving others, thinking not of herself, but of how she could be Jesus to someone, to everyone, really.

She was radiant, basking in the joy of seeing people whose lives she had touched, people from near and far, coming around to celebrate her.

This week, we celebrate her once more. I'm so looking forward to the stories that we'll tell. I've never looked forward to a visitation and funeral like I am this week.

My Grandma was One of a Kind. She was the person who best exemplified what it meant to be Christ-like. I never heard a word of anger or judgment or hatred or envy from her. Just love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. She was a woman with God's Spirit in her, and now her spirit has returned to God. I look forward to the day we can worship at Jesus' feet together, but until then, I'll do my best to carry on her legacy, in my own meager way.

And just so you know, if you see me with a bag of marshmallows, you're not allowed to ask for one, but if I offer, you're allowed to say "Yes."