When time stands still

This morning, Jacob (our middle child) turned 17 years old. I teased him on his Facebook wall: “I remember what I was doing 17 years ago today. Do you?”

I really remember. I looked it up in my journal from that year (1991) and discovered that I hadn’t forgotten a thing. My babies were all born at home. Jacob was an especially happy birth as we had just returned from living abroad in Morocco a few months earlier and it felt like a new beginning in so many ways. My mother made it up the 405 in time to see little Jacob Philip emerge into the world. The day was blustery but sunny and I had a view through my bedroom window of trees in fall foliage (a sight not so common in southern California).

We spent this morning (in 2008) as a family reminiscing over tea and cake, Jake opening his gifts and each of us reminding each other of stories we’d forgotten. Jon and I were told some stories we had not known! (Seems Jacob ran through the neighborhood banging a drum we’d given him for his 8th birthday even after I had asked him to “wait a minute” while I signed the UPS slip… Apparently Jacob didn’t wait, slipped out the back door with the drum, and banged it with all his eight-year-old might, streaking through the alleys between our condos until exhausted! I completely missed it!) Even as Jacob retold that story, the memory brought such happiness to him. “It was so worth it,” he said.

Today Jacob is passionate about music in all its forms. He loves musicals, is immersed in music theory, plays saxophone and piano, enjoys writing arrangements for his favorite songs on the computer. I had no idea his early interesting in little drums and maracas would lead to a deep knowledge of and love for all things musical. It felt really good to remember together the origins of this passion.

Jacob turned on his iTunes and we listened to “Into the Heights” and “Little Women” (the musicals) as we enjoyed our birthday breakfast.

After the gift opening, Johannah and Jacob hosted a little cookie decorating party. Johannah made vegan sugar cookies (I was impressed!) and Jacob laid the table with colored sugar, frosting tubes and tin foil place settings. Caitrin and Liam joined in as well as a couple of Johannah’s girlfriends. All together they made Harry Potter cookies, each one representing a different character or some well known Hogwarts icon (like Nagini, the snake). They laughed, discussed the various themes of the books, argued about which actor best matched the character as Rowling created him or her. The table became a happy mess of colored icing, aluminum foil, sugar and glowing gel.

In a strange way, it felt as though nothing had changed in 17 years. The messes we used to make under my supervision had only become more sophisticated versions of the same, with music of their own choice supporting and enhancing the atmosphere. Discussions about literature (more like passionate debates!) went on without my leadership or Jon’s modeling. In fact, Jon and I cleaned the house while they held their cookie party.

Today, despite how swiftly my life seems to be racing by, time stood still. I caught a glimpse of who our children used to be and who they are…. and the long silken thread that holds them together. What a privilege it is to homeschool, to watch this beautiful unfolding happen in our own homes.

I feel thankful.

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