Not only does September bring the beginning of school and football; in the Orr household, it also kicks off hunting season. This year we were blessed to host family friends for the opening weekend of dove season.

This particular set of friends had not visited our home in over seven years. With great excitement, I carefully planned and prepared hearty, filling meals. Moving children to various parts of the house, we prepared places for them to sleep.

We were careful to gather all the necessary supplies, hunting licenses for the kids, shotgun shells, sunscreen, and bug spray. We were set to go! We waited patiently for their arrival. Late Friday night, we were able to enjoy a sweet time of fellowship. Feeling as if the day and all the hours of preparation were successful, we headed to bed for a good night’s sleep.

I set my alarm to chime an hour before everyone else’s with the hope of brewing two pots of coffee and placing cream and sugar neatly beside matching coffee cups. The smell of sausage, biscuits and gravy, and made-to-order eggs would surely add to the excitement of the morning as everyone dressed and packed the coolers for a day in the field.

As the smell of fresh-brewed coffee wafted through the air and I tended to enough sausage to feed a small army, feeling rather pleased with my organizational skills, I saw something out of the corner of my eye. “You have got to be kidding me!”

Big, beady eyes, perfect gray coat, whiskers that I’m certain were stolen from a cat, and a tail that could stretch the length of Interstate 10. There, just five feet away, I stared at him. A mouse. I’m certain it was a “him” because no “her” would have interfered with my breakfast plans that Saturday morning, simply out of respect.

We girls stick together!

There I stood, spatula in one hand, oven mitt on the other, and both eyes locked on this little cutie, frozen in disbelief.

Praying I could figure out a solution before anyone knew what had happened, I began to think.

Should I shoo him away, try to scurry him out the door, knock him loopy with my slipper, or toss a few crumbs his way in the hopes that he would hide under the refrigerator until after everyone had gone? I was at a total loss, but knew I had to make a decision quickly as my guests were emerging from their rooms and making their way to the kitchen.

I decided to do what many moms would do. I quietly called my son to come “get it” while I finished cooking. I didn’t care how “get it” was interpreted, just that the mouse was gone. “Mom, I don’t see anything. I don’t think he’s still here. I bet he went in that little hole.”

Sure enough, the little rascal had escaped through a teeny tiny opening at the base of a cabinet drawer. How disgusting! A mouse in my kitchen cabinets, running free and silently giggling at his escape. Would he present himself under the kitchen table? Would the dogs see him and slide across the tile barking wildly? We would just have to wait and see.

We had a wonderful breakfast with no little visitors. I sent the guys off to spend the morning in the pasture, and after cleaning the breakfast dishes, I began to search every nook and cranny for that little mouse, but never did find him.

Over lunch, I confessed to our company what had happened that morning and we all had a good laugh. As a matter of fact, they each shared their own critter stories. One about a possum coming in the doggie door, another about a rat in a chimney. I didn’t feel so self conscious about it when I  learned that I wasn’t alone.

If I hadn’t shared my experience, I would never have had the opportunity to hear how someone else overcame a similar situation.

As home school families, we have an idea of what a home school family is supposed to look like. We have a mental picture of what their homes look like, what mealtime involves, that everyone pitches in to help with chores, participates in Bible study time and spends the day in peaceful bliss. Not true.

When our reality doesn’t match what we imagined, we get frustrated and embarrassed that it isn’t going like we planned.

Sometimes we have “a mouse in the house.” Maybe our mouse is getting a late start to the school year or the fact that reading can be really hard to teach. Sometimes that wiggly tail is your family’s different discipline structure. Perhaps you simply haven’t found an essential oil of which you can tolerate the smell. It’s ok, someone else has been in that place, too, and they lived to tell about it.

Whatever your “mouse in the house” is, embrace the opportunity to find a friend in which you can confide.

Consider talking to a friend, a pastor, or a support group leader. Be honest about what lurks under your cabinets. Chances are, they have been through something similar and can share their story with you. Grab a friend and a cup of coffee and shoo out that mouse!

If you’re having trouble finding friends that understand the home school family life, THSC offers lists of groups for that exact reason!  Also, feel free to sign up for email notifications for more encouraging emails like this one. It’s all a part of our plan to Keep Texas Families Free!