Thank you to the phlebotomist that took my daughter’s blood yesterday. Not only was she kind, gentle, informative, patient, and helpful with my nervous little girl, but she taught me something about myself.
When she asked Croft what school she went to Croft replied, “I’m homeschooled.”
I still tense up ever so slightly when that question is asked. Not because I am ashamed of my decision, but rather that I’m bracing myself for judgement. Very few people have actually ever said anything negative to me about homeschooling, but the few who have put me on guard. I’ve got my boxing gloves and all the research in my back pocket if necessary.
The phlebotomist replied, “Ooohhh, (This is where I was quickly assessing if that was a good ooh or a bad ooh), I always wanted to homeschool my children, BUT… (Here I was quickly scanning again. This time to finish her sentence for her.)
I filled in her pause with…
I always wanted to homeschool my children, but I had to work.
I always wanted to homeschool my children, but my husband wouldn’t let me.
I always wanted to homeschool my children, but I was worried about their socialization.
(It is amazing how many thoughts can go through my head in milliseconds.)
But instead the sweet, gentle phlebotomist said, “I always wanted to homeschool my children, but I didn’t have the COURAGE.”
She looked Croft in the eyes and continued, “You are a very lucky little girl. Your mom is very courageous.”
She repeated this sentence two times.
At this point, I was tearing up. My spirit recognized her words as truth. The sincerity in her voice convinced me she was right. She reminded me of who I was, but it was the first time on this homeschooling journey that I saw my decision as deeply courageous.
I replied to her, “Thank you. It is a very scary thing to do.”
Courage is not a new quality for me. I’ve demonstrated courage other times in my life. Like when I got in the 6th grade bully’s face on behalf of a victim or told the adult at church that he was out of line when I was only 16. Or the time I protected a child I had never met before from his emotionally abusive dad while I was wearing a swimsuit. (Talk about courage!) My courage also looked like working two jobs and going to college full time or getting divorced in the Mormon church almost twenty years ago. Even deciding to be a mother was an extreme act of courage for me. It’s not for all women, but it was for me.
Until yesterday morning, I’d forgotten I was a badA. Courage just looks different as you get older, I guess. It’s manifest in different ways and harder to recognize. Courage is not necessarily bold and brazen acts of defiance, but quiet conviction and strength.
Now, for me, courage is following what I believe is best for my family even if there is opposition or if it’s not the social norm. It’s being in charge of my children’s education. Courage is not letting my fears of the future dictate my actions today.
Courage may be going against what my doctor thinks because my gut tells me differently. It might be taking an alternative route to my health or my children’s health.
Courage may be saying yes to a talk, a calling, a lesson, or an assignment that is out of my comfort zone. It also may be saying no.
Courage is showing up to an exercise class that I’ve never been to before or is beyond my fitness level. It’s trying yoga poses I’m scared to do or attending workshops that push me.
Courage is saying “no thank you” to sugar or overeating or overspending even when the crowd I’m with wants me to participate. It’s risking letting someone else down to honor me instead.
Courage is not knowing where I will be or what I will be doing next year. It might be going back to school or back to work or just being patient while I figure out what God wants me to do.
Courage is letting my children make choices for their own lives. It’s giving up control and expectations and accepting what is. It’s detaching my ego from their actions.
Courage is refraining from judgement and criticism and gossip. It is forgiving someone who doesn’t deserve it. Courage is being exactly who I am even if everyone doesn’t like it.
Courage is writing a blog post every day. It’s being open and vulnerable and letting people in. It’s sharing my open wounds, not just my scars.
It’s like Mary Anne Radmacher says, “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.”
Thanks again to the sweet phlebotomist who helped me see that I am deeply courageous. And I’d be willing to bet, you are too. I hope you recognize the courage in yourself.