You are getting married today. I haven’t seen you since I left our homeschool community, but I have thought of you so often, wishing I could set you free.
You were a child genius. At five you could play any hymn with harmony. At 11 you could play Chopin ballades and could accompany the orchestra. Then you accompanied the university choir. Your music made me cry. I always thought you would get into Juilliard.
But then your mom put limits on how much you were allowed to practice.
She told my mom you would not be allowed to go to college and study music when you graduated, so she said you needed to practice homemaking much more. One day when I heard you perform, your mom told me music might puff you up. She was concerned because you were so great.
But your piano teacher, who was also my teacher, said it made her so sad what your mom did. Why was it that you had to spend so much time learning to cook, care for your siblings (your family was notthat big) and take care of the animals, but were given so little time on the piano?
Even as a fellow homeschool daughter, I could not understand.
Your mom didn’t understand when I left for college. She told my mom I would lose my faith. She told my mom not to let me go. I left for college alone. My parents didn’t go with me. I drove out of the driveway alone, thinking about what your mom said, and grieving for you, wondering if some day you would drive out of the driveway alone or if it would be with a man at your side.
I’ve watched the last couple years of your adult life unfold as a stay at home daughter. I’ve wanted to go over there so many times and set you free.
I hurt for you.
Then for some reason, you were finally allowed to go to college this fall. I was so happy because I knew it would change your world. You would find out another way to live. I just wanted you to have the chance to know that there are other beliefs out there. I didn’t care what you believed, but I wanted you to know that the world isn’t as scary as we were taught.
What we were taught, Rachel, was wrong. I want you to know that.
But you never made it to college. This summer a man from our homeschool community asked to court you. Today you are getting married to a man who asked you to marry him, be a stay at home wife, and not go to college. I’m bothered. I’m confused.
I hope this is what you wanted.
I hope the degree was something you were doing because you were bored. I’m hoping this is your dream to marry him. I think you wanted both to get married and go to college. I’m here to say both is possible.
Rachel, I hope you know it’s never too late to go to college or expand your belief even as a married woman. I will not send you this letter because I’m not cruel. But as I’ve thought of you all these years, I will continue to think of you, hoping you become free.