Hi! I'm Holly Brimhall, a newborn photographer in Gilbert, AZ. I am the mother of 4 and a lover of ALL things baby. This blog is where I share the life of my family and favorite pictures of my newborn photography sessions.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The tender feelings of a mother's heart....


My Dearest Children,

I've spent the last few weeks avoiding my blog, knowing that I wanted to sit and write to you, but unsure if I'd be able to find the words adequate to explain my heart.

All of my life there were 2 things that I swore I'd never do. Well, I guess there were lots of things I swore I'd never do - like drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, try drugs, etc. I have NEVER tried any of those and simply never will. But these 2 things....well, there is NOTHING bad about them. I just simply assumed they were not for me. Let's take a look at the first one. I swore I'd never drive a mini-van. Why? I don't know. I guess they didn't look cool....and for a really long time in my life I cared more about "looking cool" and less about functionality and what would work best for our little family. Obviously, I caved and I couldn't be happier about that decision. I LOVE our van. It's fun to listen to you boys talk about how your dream cars are either a convertible mustang or a mini-van....but that you'd choose a mini-van to hold all of your children. THAT makes my heart smile! The second thing I swore I'd never do is homeschool. (You have no idea how hard it was for me to just write that sentence). Homeschool. Wow! For months and months, thoughts and feelings have consumed my body and mind. I simply tried all I could to push those thoughts away. I'd think, "Homeschool is definitely not for me. How could I possibly teach you guys everything you need to know? How could I find the time and energy to be the kind of teacher that you deserve?" I'd sweep my feelings under a rug and continue on with daily life. Then I'd run into someone who homeschooled or I'd happen across a blog of a family who homeschooled. Tears would often spring to the surface and I'd feel that tug at my heart, that feeling like it was something I was supposed to do. I longed to have more time with you and hated having to send you off to spend most of your days with someone else. But I still felt like there was no way I could do it.

After months and months of this I decided to pray...to see if this truly was something I was supposed to do. For weeks, the tears were always there, just waiting for a moment to be set free. But I held them back like a champ. That is until I felt that burning deep inside that this was definitely what our little family needed. I've never doubted my abilities as a mother and teacher as much as I have these past 3 weeks or so. I absolutely, without a doubt, knew that I needed to proceed. I spoke with other mothers who homeschooled, I went to some homes and looked through curriculums, took notes, asked questions, attended homeschool meetings and felt a deep peace. But that self-doubt was still there. How could I possibly teach you everything you need to know? What if I turned you into unsocialized human beings? What if you felt someday that I'd sheltered you to much? Or kept you from experiencing the "school scene"? My mind was filled with what-if's and feelings of total and complete inadequacy. My heart was constantly full of prayer, asking for reassurance and peace. One day, it flooded through me, and my sweet children, I'd like to share that experience with you:

One day after my usual workout at the gym, I had showered and brushed out my hair. I had checked on you, Little Miss and Chubs, as you played together in the family room. The boys were at school. All was well. Well, everything except my heart. I went back into my bathroom and started to blow-dry my hair. I was making plans for the rest of the day in my mind - planning meals and thinking about what I'd buy at the grocery store. Instantly, it was as if I were reading my patriarchal blessing. Like it was right there in front of me. "You will excel in helping students study and acquire knowledge." That picture was instantly followed by the thought, "The students are your children." I put down my blow-dryer and cried and cried. Grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who would send a sweet answer to my humble and sincere prayer. Grateful to a Heavenly Father who has faith enough in me to tell me that I will EXCEL in helping them. I NEEDED that experience and I'm certain I will rely on it many times to help me through this time!

Thursday after school, Daddy and I met you outside your classrooms and spoke with your teachers about our decision and told them your last day at school would be the following day. 2 of the 3 teachers, cried with us and offered all of their support and encouragement. I am grateful for that!

Friday was much harder that I'd expected. As Daddy and I met you outside your classrooms again, with flowers for your teachers and to help you clean out your desks....there were a lot of tears. We stood together outside the classroom, holding instruments, and pencil boxes, lunch bags, and art projects - we hugged and cried. We just hugged and cried.

So, here we go on this new adventure! I'm trying to be brave and to do what Heavenly Father wants me to do. It's so hard! I promise to do everything I can to give you the education you deserve. I hope I can be what is best for you. I look forward to understanding and knowing you better that I do now. Someday I'm sure you'll be able to understand the weight that I feel. The UNCONDITIONAL LOVE THAT I FEEL FOR YOU! I can't wait to explore and learn right along with you! I have so many questions that I don't have any answers to right now, but I'm praying that Heavenly Father will send me those answers and guide me every single day.

Although those feelings of self-doubt are still there, I'm grateful that Heavenly Father continues to reach out and show his love to me. As I stood with the women of the church on Saturday evening at the General Relief Society Broadcast, we sang "How Firm A Foundation". My thoughts wandered and I felt, "How on earth can I do this?" My mind was dwelling on those thoughts until the third verse came:

Fear not, I am with thee oh be not dismayed
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
I'll strengthen thee, help thee and cause thee to stand.
Upheld by my righteous, upheld by my righteous,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

So I'm relying on the Lord more than I ever have in my life. Without the Spirit, I don't think I could be what you deserve. I love you, my dearest children, more than words could ever say. I hope you can feel the tender feelings of my heart!!!

27 comments:

Shauna_Rae 4:09 PM  

You are going to be an incredible teacher. Your kids are lucky to have you!!!

Ariana 4:27 PM  

I was super excited to read this post. There is little else I love more than homeschooling my children, you'll have so much fun!

Lindsay 4:43 PM  

This letter is amazing and what a gift it will be to your children to read it in the years to come.

Good luck on your homeschooling journey. Take lots of deep breaths. Remember that some days are great, some days are bad but most days are really quite good. Forgive yourself for not being perfect. And enjoy the journey. Homeschooling is awesome!!!

montessori mommy 6:41 PM  

So beautiful! I had such a similar experience and have been homeschooling for the past 3 years...we love it!

Shelly B. 6:43 PM  

You will do a fabulous job, Holly! Can't wait to hear about your adventures! I am excited for you!

Letti 7:55 PM  

I love this idea of writing a letter to my children.

What a wonderful Mother you are.

Nicole 1:44 AM  

Holly, this is a little off topic, but could you email me your friends website that make the hand stamped jewelry? Thank you so much. Nicole nkasting@cox.net

Timeless and Treasured, Photography by Heather 5:09 AM  

What a blessing it was to read this post this morning. I went through the SAME exact thing this past year. So many tears, so much research, so many unanswered questions - how can I ever give them what they deserve? We are in our very first year of homeschooling - a 9th grader, a 4th grader and a pre-schooler! I was completely terrified to take them out of their unbelievably amazing classical christian school - but it has already been the biggest blessing of my life! Spending such intentional time with my children like we never did before, and getting to know their hearts on a deeper level has all been incredible. PLUS - the biggest bonus to me is to see them all become closer to each other. Your homeschool WILL Be successful because you are following His will and obeying His call. Blessings to you - and from a fellow photographer - your work ROCKS!! :)

SHURTER'S :) 8:38 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dan and Debbie 9:18 AM  

Holly, you are not alone. You know that - you have the Lord to guide you & enable you, plus you have so many other homeschool mommies to draw a wealth of information, encouragement and support from. I went through the same thing about 6 months ago & over the summer we made the decision to homeschool. I have only 1 (4th grade) but the first month has been such a blessing. She LOVES it & so do I. And I feel like I'm a better mother in the process because I'm devoting so much more time to her and to our home together. It's not for everyone but those who chose to walk down this road are usually not disappointed or regret it. Enjoy it, breathe deeply, ask questions, and HAVE FUN! Your kids will love it!

Scott and Megan 10:38 AM  

your kids are so lucky to have such an intune mommy!

good luck! and I can't wait to hear all about it!

Heather 11:29 AM  

Wow Holl. I missed you at the gym today. I wanted to see your progress about this new chapter, but I guess... this is it. :)

Good luck, my friend. You will be great. What an amazing teacher your kids will have. And I'm quite sure you'll learn a lot along the way as well.

It's funny you talked about "How Firm a Foundation" because I broke into tears singing that on Saturday. :) He is aware of us all. Good luck!

Christine Sweet 12:01 PM  

So proud of you, though I do not know you. I too, have recently decided to home school. Luckily for me I'm just pre-schooling right now. A lot less pressure for my first time. And I too, hated the thought of my precious kids being with someone else more than me. Afterall, God has place YOU over them. You are best equipped to give them all they need. Sure, everyone needs multiple teachers, etc. We want balanced children. But no one will love them and invest in them like you will. No one will deal with those heart issues that inevitably come up. Those "behavioral" issues that really are a matter of the heart. You can discern these, and nurture them through it. What a gift this is. Home schooling is more than that... it's Life School. Bless you on this beautiful and challenging journey. God will be with you CONSTANTLY. Smiling, guiding, loving every minute!

Erin 1:17 PM  

Holly, The this verse to that song is unbelievably special to me. I won't share the details other then those very words have been the answer to my must humble prayer. Best of luck.

Dawn 2:00 PM  

What a sweet and tender post. Thanks for sharing something so personal.

Amanda 2:58 PM  

you're such a good mommy!

April 4:22 PM  

Such wonderful news!!! Homeschooling is a great journey. I have learned so much through teaching my children and love the time I get to spend with them.
No need to worry about the socialization, everyone tells me my son is the most socialized child they've ever met. This weekend at the beach he greeted everyone that came to the pool; both children and adults. He had conversations with all of them, my family was impressed by his actions.
There is a lot of support out there any time you find that you need it. It will be an adjustment but it will be okay!

Mindy 9:35 PM  

I need a little bit of your faith! You will be an AMAZING teacher!

Joanne 9:44 PM  

You are going to be amazing - as usual! I love homeschooling and this is just one more reason for me to visit your blog and see what you are up to! Loves~Joanne

frederique 12:07 AM  

I wish you all the best and a lot of joy in this new adventure. I know you will succeed and I am sure your children will be forever grateful.

Heather H 12:30 PM  

You know what I am the same way and perhaps your post will help me in making a decision on how to best educate our daughter who will be starting kindergarten next year, I always said I would never, ever homeschool but the closer the time comes for her to start public school the more I think about homeschooling, I am excited to continue to read about your journey!

J. Paige 12:49 PM  

One of the best things about homeschooling is that your children get to stay children! No silly outside pressure forcing them to grow up too soon- you'll do great! Makes me want to pull little S from school today!

Ali 9:25 PM  

Holly, you're going to be an AMAZING teacher! You may have doubts, but I sure don't, and I haven't even seen you for how many years, LOL! This post actually made me cry too. I've had those suspicions in the back of my mind, and the older the kids get, the louder they get. I may be calling you in a couple of years!

Napes 10:16 PM  

Sending my love. I have thought so much about you this week.

Shauna 10:16 AM  

You probably already know about this blog, but just in case - she has a GREAT homeschool section with advice, materials, lesson ideas, etc. Also, there are several contributors & some FABULOUS info! I don't even homeschool (yet) but I use this all the time!
http://thepioneerwoman.com/

Mary 6:22 PM  

Hi Holly,
I came to your first Picture Life workshop at your house over a year ago.....
Just wanted to share that I started homeschooling last April (I have an 8-year old, 4 year old, 21 month old, and a 2-week old) and it's been one of the BEST decisions of my life.

Good luck to you and your family and keep us posted!!!

-Mary

Julie Ranee 5:37 AM  

Holly! You did it! You are homeschooling! It certainly won't be without its challenges, but I think you'll find the blessings far outweigh any of the challenges.
What a beautiful letter you have written to your children. Blessings to you on your homeschool adventure. :)

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