SITTING ON THE SIDELINES

I will be real with you. I must admit that one of my favorite things about homeschooling Reece is the freedom we have to enjoy the fun stuff when the crowds are sparse. Let me explain.

Grocery shopping actually becomes less of a nuisance at 10:00 in the morning instead of 3:15 in the afternoon. Midmorning in the waiting room in a doctor’s office allows me to actually obtain a chair rather than stand awkwardly next to that stranger talking loudly on her cell phone.

Furthermore, an indoor water park is a marvelous fun filled experience. But even greater is the experience when one does not have to wait in long lines for the water slides. Lines, themselves, are basically non-existent in such a place when that water park is visited when everyone else is sitting in a classroom. When regular school is in session, the fun times begin for a homeschooler.

Don’t get me wrong. School for a homeschooler is never neglected, but merely delayed for a more convenient time. Oftentimes, a homeschooler feels as though she can never escape the grasp of the educational environment. Much like the sometimes cursed blessing a work at home parent may feel. Nevertheless, I much prefer the joys that homeschooling brings our family.

So when Reece decided to spend her Friday at a water park and her Saturday making up schoolwork, it was no big deal. When she gets to take along a fellow homeschooled buddy, even better.

I sat reading a book and basking in, for once, just “not doing something”. I scarce remembered how that felt. But it was a joy for me to be able to do so as Reece and her pal spent the day adventuring through the wet canyons and steep cascades known as water slides. As I sat reading, sipping my ice water, and watching them gleefully become 7 year olds again, I realized something.

One of the surest ways to know you have reached the point of unselfish parental love… is to be able to sit on the sidelines delightfully and contentedly. Had you asked me 30 years ago if I would be able to sit at a table sipping ice water and enjoying a good book while the rest of the room ran through waterfalls and splashed happily in the lazy river, I would have energetically replied, “How would anyone be able to do that?!” … and then I would have cartwheeled away to the next water slide.

I used to wonder how my parents could have so much fun simply witnessing my sisters and I have so much fun. How could my mom prefer to spend a day shopping for my clothes rather than searching for an outfit for herself. How could they prefer snapping photos of our smiling faces and waiting at the exit for us to finish our topsy turvy roller coaster ride. Why are they still so content to simply be content with a smile on our faces?

Sacrificial love knows no happiness greater than the happiness of the one loved. As I sat enjoying my alone time, I far greater enjoyed Reece and her friend enjoying themselves so much. I must have been thoroughly enjoying the moment so much that I blindly and happily agreed to purchase her a mouse sized portion of Dippin’ Dots for the price of a gallon of yumminess at Meijer. Now that’s sacrificial love.

Even still, you must agree, a parent finds no greater happiness than when they find that happiness displayed on the face of their child.

“How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you.”- Psalm 31:19

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”- Matthew 7:11

I could quote many verses to you that prove that God is the giver of good things. He delights in those who delight in Him. He loves us so much that, literally, He gave us the ultimate gift in the form of a Savior.

Yes, I can quote verse after verse to prove His sacrificial love, because, well, that is the nature of our God.  That is the sum of all that is displayed in Scripture.

That joy I feel when there is a sparkle in Reece’s eyes…when the dimple on her cheek becomes deeper as her smile becomes bigger…the squeal of excitement…the laughter coming from the other room as she hangs out with her cousins or friends. The elation she displays when she is in her all time favorite place…with horses. These kinds of things are the cherished times when I can be on the sidelines, yet feel as though I am the star of the game.

I imagine that our Heavenly Father, in all His glory, must experience these same types of thoughts on a far greater level.  The inventor of love, the author of joy, the creator of laughter…He crafted that dimple in my daughter’s cheek…He made sure the sparkle in her eye was bright enough to make my own eyes sparkle.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”- James 1:17.

Blessings!

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