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In the next few years, I’d like to see you transition her to public school. Kudos to you for homeschooling during those early years, but she’s in seventh grade now and needs to have some experience in a real school,” she said, punctuating the word real with an empathetic smile toward my daughter. “We’re finding that homeschooled kids just don’t transition to college well. In fact, most colleges refuse to enroll them. You understand, don’t you? It’s for her own good.” For her own good. With those four little words, all my anxiety—all the fears of failure that I thought I had packaged up and tucked away years ago—began to resurface. As the doctor stared at me in her crisp white lab coat surrounded by several neatly framed diplomas all touting golden seals of approval, I could feel the tension begin to build, twisting my stomach into knots as hot tears of disappointment filled my eyes, threatening to fall unbidden down my cheeks. I began to scramble for any scrap of courage—any words of response I could muster. But nothing came. I just sat there, beaten by her hidden accusations and verbal professional punches. Provided you own your own home then roller garage doors are a worthwhile investment.

I had brought my daughter into the clinic that morning for her annual check-up. Now in seventh grade, she was at an age when seeing her male pediatrician, whom we had known and loved for years, was beginning to make her feel slightly awkward. In a desperate attempt to help her feel confident in talking about all the big body changes on the horizon, I decided to take her to a female doctor. I had asked around for recommendations of potential physicians from friends, but none were given. So in a fine moment of mothering, I eenie-meenie-minie-moe my way through the phone book and landed on a doctor’s name that sounded promising, as if one can tell anything about a person from her last name. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Starting with garage door repairs is not a bad place to begin.

What started as an appointment meant to help my daughter feel brave about her body ended up leaving me in fear. What was supposed to be half an hour of physical examination turned into thirty minutes of emotional and social assessment. The doctor held my daughter a new patient forms in hand, casually glanced at the pages of health history, and began tapping her pen on the clipboard in a methodical rhythm. Her eyes were fixed. Her brow was furrowed. I followed her gaze down to the stack of papers—a black and white resume of the past twelve years of my daughter’s life written in my own hand. She seemed to be focused on one particular question on the form: Does your child currently attend school? If so, please check the box indicating whether the school is public, private, or other. Having garage doors can make all the difference.

Naturally, I had checked others. “Does she have any friends—any peers that she can confide in?” the doctor questioned. “What is your plan in the coming years to transition her to normal life? Homeschooling was fine for those early days, but don’t you think she needs to begin learning how to function independently from you? She’s almost in high school, after all.” Poor her she tucked her hands under her legs and scrunched down deep in her chair, desperate to somehow disappear beneath its cold vinyl. She looked so small and a little embarrassed, sitting in awkward silence, trapped between opposing viewpoints. Before I could offer my daughter a few reassuring words, the doctor clucked her tongue in obvious disapproval and continued with her questions. It was an inquisition—a battle—and I was on the losing side. I had clearly checked the “wrong” box. I internally curled myself up into a protective shell, a mental paralysis, and could not seem to form any kind of verbal response or defense. Even though as a certified, trained teacher I had spent years in a traditional school teaching other people’s children how to be “normal” (whatever that means), even though I had launched and led a monthly homeschool mothers’ group in the past, even though I had contributed to not one but three books on homeschooling well, and even though I made my living writing a blog dedicated to encouraging and equipping homeschool mothers, I left the doctor’s office that day feeling inadequate. That wasn’t the first time fear weaseled its way into my mother-heart, and it would certainly not be the last. Do aerial installation take a long time?

Most mothers, myself included, live in a committed, lifelong relationship with self-doubt. Fear, anxiety, and tension seem always to be the by-products of our love and investment. We hear the gentle whispers of worry and wonder if we can raise our children right, raise them well, raise them at all. For the homeschool mother, that self-doubt is magnified by the full weight of her child’s education. She feels the burden of proof: that her children will learn all they need to know and be as good if not better than those being taught by the other guys. And if they don’t? Well, the blame must surely fall to her. She spends her days in mental and emotional apathy, convinced that she’s somehow going to ruin her kids. When it comes to aerial repairs where do you start?

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