In my previous post about this homeschool project, I decided not to call it a gap year, but a Ferris Bueller Year. “Gap year” sounds like you’ve dropped off the face of the earth, but “Ferris Bueller year” sounds like you shucked off society to go do something that was good for you. Kid 3 is a year too young for his grade, so we decided to take him out of school for a year between middle and high school and travel while we let him catch up. So far, so good!
Sam and I have been together for 25 years, and for the first few election cycles we voted together. We were the dreaded swing voters, the ones that everybody makes fun of for not knowing their own minds, but are actually the ones to decide who wins. Then, somewhere between Iraq and Obama, we parted ways. Just like the rest of the country.
During the last few years, one of our children went through a mental health crisis. We were at a loss, not knowing what our options were and being thwarted at every turn by our insurance company and conflicting medical advice. Eventually, with love, hard work, prayer, medications, doctors, and flexibility, things came right again, albeit at a new normal. Here are some things I learned, and I hope that if you find yourself in this situation this gives you some direction.
Let’s not call it a gap year. That sounds like you fell in a crevasse for a year. Let’s call it The Ferris Bueller Year. Kid 3 will get some fresh air and sunshine, see the sights, and gear up for high school.
My parents divorced when I was young, and we went to the then-common method of splitting up the child’s time: living with the mom, Thursday dinner and every other weekend with the dad. My father was an introverted farmer, older than most dads, and Thursday evenings were awkward. We’d sit in a restaurant in our small town, chewing silently. The weekends were better, because he lived with his mother on the farm, and I adored my grandmother and she adored me. I chased chickens, slept on the pull-out sofa with the cats, played in the grain silos, and learned to drive at the ridiculous age of 9. I did all that with my grandmother, except for the driving, which my dad taught me. My dad stayed in the background.
After 25 years of starts, stops, and do-overs, my husband Sam has turned into a gift-giving pro. It was hard work, but he did it. It has come to my attention, however, that some of my gentle male readers may not have gone through the necessary enlightenment required to make their women happy at celebratory occasions, so I’ve put together this helpful guide. Follow Sam’s lead, and see if you get some good results.