The. Last. One

Well, here he is.
My fifth born.
My baby.

Last month, he finished his reading book.
It was the same exact one that his older brother and 3 older sisters learned to read from (and believe me, it is ready to be retired! No way it is in any kind of shape to be passed on.)

In our home, we have the tradition that when anyone finishes a school book, they get to celebrate the next morning with a big cinnamon roll all to themselves. (Actually, they grow out of this when their finished school books coincide with the end of the year.)

We also have a tradition in our home that when you finish "The Reading Book" (usually around 5 years old), you get to go with the family to the Christian Bookstore and get your first real Bible with your name imprinted on it.

Since most of the stores in our area have closed, we made time to go to the store in Louisiana and there Jonathan was able to get his first Bible.

It was a fun time!

(Now, based on the two above photos you may be tempted to think that Jonathan was MORE excited over the cinnamon roll than he was over the Bible, but remember . . . it was very hot and sticky in Louisiana. Yeah, that's right. It isn't that my kids love sugar that much . . . But oh, for the day when all of them will have "tasted and seen how good the Lord is" for themselves!)

It has been really fun (and so rewarding) to see Jonathan so excited about getting to participate fully in our family times each morning (as it has with each one of our children). He no longer needs to just repeat after Mommy when it comes time for him to read his verse, but now he has his own Bible and he is reading very well when his turn comes around. I help him with sounding out the big words. The really fun part is hearing all of his siblings clap and cheer for him when he is finished. (Now, this happened for all of the others as well, but when you are the fifth born, you have the largest cheering crowd of all.) It's fun to see, and we are all enjoying it.

Yes, I'm enjoying it. But I will admit that my enjoyment is mingled with bittersweetness. I will miss not teaching my children to read. I will miss snuggling with them on the couch and helping them struggle through sounding out words. I will miss the uninhibited look of joy when they see themselves doing something that they didn't know they could do. I will miss these family times shared with beginning readers. I will miss this season. I will. I have loved it every time it came around in our home but with the other ones I always knew there was another one coming behind. I just had to wait. But now I'm done.

Yes, there may be grandchildren in my future. And I may have the joy of watching them from a distance learn to read. But it won't be the same. It isn't meant to be the same. And that's ok.

Thank you , Lord, for the amazing gift of children and for the absolute joy of being able to teach them at home. Thank you for the hard days when they are in tears and I am on the verge and yet we find our way through to the other side and are stronger for the "lesson" we learned of Your faithfulness and strength. Thank you for the laughter in our homeschool and the joy you've given us over learning. Thank you for the days when laughter is hard to find and we have to rely on plain discipline and diligence that come from looking to You for all we need.

You have been more than gracious to me.

Again, I thank you for the privilege of being able to teach my children to read and to get to know them each better in the process.


Barbara said…
What WONDERFUL traditions!!! Rejoicing with you!
I wish I could send a few over to you to teach to read!!!! Man, it's a huge struggle over here. Doesn't help that all the boys have had pretty serious speech issues, not being able to even say certain sounds! But maybe when that day comes that I'm closing the book on the last one learning to read, I'll have that bittersweet feeling, who knows? I think though right now, I'll rejoice if just one of my boys "gets" it!!! (thank God for homeschooling and working at our own speed, eh?!)
I love your traditions. We too have let ours get their own "big real" Bible when they learned to read, and it's fun to see the fire ignited! May it be so in Jonathan too!
Miss you, Jan!!!

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