If I were to be 100% honest, I would say the hardest thing about being a homeschooling family is maintaining friendships. My girls and I have been through too much with friendships. We have made friends, chose to end friendships, were saddened when friends moved from just around the corner to over an hour away, had friends leave homeschooling for traditional schooling, met new friends who just came out of traditional school, and through it all remained very close with some friends we have had since always, it seems.
The holidays brought our best friends to Connecticut from Illinois. We last saw them this past summer and we are grateful that we were able to squeeze in some time between their family obligations and visits. However much time we get, it simply is not enough. As they drive away, I am always left wishing they still lived a mile away. I am left wishing we could swim in their backyard and watch our children grow up together. We may now be miles and miles apart but we still watch our children grow up, and remarkably they are still growing up together. Time and distance has not diminished our friendship. Michele and I still talk at least once a week and when the kids are together, it is like no time has passed at all.
The holidays also gave us the opportunity to spend time with friends and neighbors. There are times when I wonder if I had kept Lilah home just one more year and placed her in the same class as one of her closest friends would our family have taken this direction into homeschooling? They are almost the same age, just a few months apart. I could see and tangibly feel the stress and tension within Lilah’s entire grade level. The kids just did not seem cohesive. The class one grade below her however, was completely the opposite. I’ll never know of course and hindsight is 20/20. I am just grateful that this friendship has endured. It is almost magical in that the three girls get along perfectly. Perfect is a strong word and I could certainly argue that no friendship is perfect, but this one comes pretty close. There is no triangle. No her friend/my friend. Sometimes they play basketball, and other times they paint nails. When they are involved in their activities, they text. And when school is out, they are most likely found at each other’s houses, or somewhere in between.
And then there are family, who seem more like friends. Isn’t it a blessing when you can have both?
"True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation."
- George Washington