It's been about six weeks now since it's really seemed official.
Oh, it's true I took down the shingle for Teachers' Tots Child Care in June, but it didn't seem all that real through the summer since I cared over the years almost exclusively for teachers' children - who got to be home with their mommas during that season anyway. I did sell, donate, and put into storage much of my "baby gear" - it felt nice to re-organize the house in that way - so I wasn't in denial. But the change seemed to really hit home the day after Labor Day, when the current public school year started and "my babies" weren't here.
Truth be told, Leah and Cora did come for a visit that very week when their momma had an appointment.
For example, though I always felt great freedom to take Leah and Cora on various outings with us, we had to be mindful of nap schedules and their mom's work schedule, especially after she went part-time two years ago. But now that I don't do childcare, Rachel, Abbie, and I were able to enjoy a leisurely Not-Back-to-School breakfast at IHOP on September 2 and later that day to spend as much time as we wanted at a Not-Back-to-School picnic. I also felt able to schedule a Heritage Hill homeschool field trip the very next day, and when the baking of our Belgian pies took much longer than anticipated, we were able to stay for two extra hours without giving it a second thought.
Of course, one other significant change is that I no longer have an income. So, though I was (and remain) certain the Lord did intend for me to close up shop when Leah and Cora's mom quit her job, that has been a bit of an adjustment. Thankfully, my daycare income had become "extra" - a cushion - over the past couple of years. But we've actually had some rather significant home and car repairs over the last six weeks, and I've had to trust it'll all work out.
And it has; God has provided, just as He always does in one way or another. In fact, not doing daycare has given me more time to pursue the homeschool research project the Lord set before me starting in March 2013. So far, that hasn't really produced income, but one of my goals is to leverage things so that it might - just enough so I can be a help to my husband by doing something that can provide a cushion again. I think the details of that will be coming together over the next six months, and that's exciting, too.
Overall, I can say I've felt great peace about this big change. The girls and I do miss the little ones. But I was absolutely convinced last winter when their momma announced her plans to quit her job that quitting mine as well was God's next step for our family. And that sense of "perfect peace" has remained with me ever since. I obviously don't end up in the center of God's will as often as I should - stubborn, willful me goes counter to His wisdom way too much of the time - but I'm glad I took the leap on this thing when it was clear that's what He intended.
So now we enjoy our "new normal" and look forward to continuing to see how our next steps unfold...