Popping in to say Hi

I’ve been quiet here. The second half of this year has been pretty full, even a bit stressful and as a family we’ve had to shift and reshuffle to adjust to yet another season.

Families move through seasons. It’s natural. Ours seem to change thick and fast; such are the dynamics of raising teens alongside toddlers, I think. It’s not all bad. We just need to regularly stop, catch our breath and regroup, lest we become overwhelmed.

My life was brought sharply into perspective a few weeks ago. Although Amié could have waited to write her matric next year, she wanted to get it over and done with and so, with an intense increase in pressure and workload, the preparations for exams began in August. It had been one of “those” days, ferrying her to and from flute exam rehearsals and tutoring sessions, in between supervising Jess’s schooling and music practice (for two music exams), trying to manage the demands of a busy household all the while wrangling two toddlers who seem to find new and creative ways to get up to mischief the moment my back is turned.

Amié had just finished her 4th tutoring session of the day and we were inching home in rush-hour traffic, admittedly with a stunning sunset to admire, courtesy of Johannesburg’s smog. Amié got her learners license a while back so I was talking her through lane-changing and following distance and Cael and Cadence were voicing their disapproval of yet another car-seat confinement, probably their 10th that day, from the back. I realised I was travelling in my own car as a passenger, with my eldest capably at the wheel beside me while my youngest wailed loudly behind me, wanting “drinkles” (she’s still nursing) and a nappy change.

In that moment I wondered if this was the sort of scenario playing through peoples minds when they questioned how sanely I had made the decision to have more children when, with our girls then aged 9 and 13, we could have been free, clear and done, our children adults and out of the home by the time we were 40?

I see their point.

But we’re having fun. Most car trips are more jovial, even exciting, as the very sight of an orange Putco bus ignites squeals of “LOOOOK!!!!! BUS!!!!” from our baby, and being stuck behind a cement truck or brick lorry is hardly a hardship, on the contrary, travelling in its wake at 20km/h gives us all the more time to admire it with our truck-loving boy! And it’s cool to have my daughter drive me around. And she thinks it’s cool to drive her siblings around. And it’s kind of neat to think that while one daughter finishes school, another will start potty training.

Some say it takes a village to raise a child; I have come to believe it takes a family to get a homeschooled teen through matric. Every one of us have played a role, in some way, every day. Some days have gone better than others, and with the end of the exam-road in our sights, I dare say we’ve all been on a learning curve, together, and it hasn’t been all academic.

So yes, it has been busy. Some days pass in a whirl, others drag, but none are dull. Amié has 4 more exams left and we’re talking through choices and decisions for next year, like will she live at home, will she continue piano lessons and how much paying work will she manage alongside her studies. Jess will start highschool. Boy will begin violin and Baby will join in almost all of the above, toddling in and out of rooms and activities as her interest leads. Andrew will hopefully grow his business and continue his degree. We hope the Lord will present more opportunities for us to serve and love others and trust our current work among the youth and young adults will continue to bear fruit.

So I don’t think life in the Timberlake home will be slowing down much. But that’s okay. It’s good work. The kind the leaves you exhausted but fulfilled. The best kind.

I love my family. I love the crazy age gaps. I love the journey.