It was a dreary morning for the middle of April. We woke up to more snow, and honestly? It affected me more than I want to admit.
We opened the book of Romans and studied chapter 14, exploring the greys in life - all those areas that make us uncomfortable or are a matter of conscience. Romans has been kind of heavy - and some of the questions i asked were met with silence. i didn't blame them... i was tired too, and sometimes when the world is covered with grey, we ache for less grey... more light...
We prayed together... and that's when it happened.
"We still haven't picked a new book!" Charter moaned.
We had finished _Where the River Begins_ by Patricia St. John last week and we still hadn't picked our next read aloud.
I had been meaning to scour the bookshelves to see what we haven't read out loud yet, or to find an old favourite that we'd want to read again, but these past couple months have just been killer and each day seems to dribble over tasks left undone into the next until the days are too full and so much seems left undone, unfinished or forgotten.
i looked around the room, and my eye tripped on my first born.
Her blond hair was tied up in a bun with a few wisps framing her pixie face with those impossibly huge eyes and Neil's familiar forehead.
"Hey Cai..." i said without thinking, "You should pick. It'll be one of the last books we read while you're in our school..."
She barely hesitated.
"i pick the Narnia Chronicles. Might as well end with what we started with..."
i remember buying the series before she ever started school... i don't know how many times I've read those books to our little home academy in these past 12 years, but i know that by now, the covers bend easily into place, and that when i get to a familiar passage, there is more than one child who is able to mouth the words and mimic my voice and inflection... i know that they laugh at me for crying, but that they cry too. Imperfect allegory that it may be, it has been a vehicle that has opened up our hearts to Truth and to ideas about faith, relationships and heaven...
i smiled. It was perfect.
Someone ran to grab The Magician's Nephew.
"We'll have time for at least one or two before i graduate, right?" I do the math in my head.
Her last exam looms just over 2 months away...
Surely we have time for at least one or two, don't we?
i tried to laugh past the lump in my throat... "Maybe you'll still do devotions with us in the mornings before you head off to college next year..?"
i cleared my throat and pretended to read the first line, purposefully saying the words all wrong...
"This is a story... about a girl named Dori and now my story's begun..."
"That's not how it starts!"
They know when I'm bluffing, stalling...
i started again, and this time, i continued. i ignored the squeaking baby and the fidgeting little ones and i read - like i do every morning - like i'll continue to do... after she graduates... when this little school is just a part of a jumbled mess of her memories from childhood...
"This is a story about something that happened long ago when your grandfather was a child. It is a very important story because it shows how all the comings and goings between our own world and the land of Narnia first began..."
Gagey, at only six years old, is unfamiliar with the story line. His blue eyes threatened to glaze over, but i stopped and the older ones animatedly explained and gave context... i kept glancing up as i read to see his reaction to Digory, Polly... and the terrifying Uncle Andrew. I tried not to lose him.
And i vow never to lose her.
It's a fine beginning to his schooling....
And it will make a fine ending to hers.