Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tell me again how this one goes?

My hardest year of homeschooling was 2003-2004. Jo was a big first-grader: reading like a whiz, tackling science like a pro and antsy to get her hands on some "real writing" (that would be cursive to the rest of us). I felt a massive burden to be all things to this little beacon of academic brightness: the teacher she deserved, the mommy she needed and the cheerleader she looked to for support.

Shouldering the responsibility of my own expectations was hard enough ... never mind the preschooler and toddler I had hiding under that SuperMom cape.

Atticus was three and Logan was
one that year, and they were into all kinds of craziness. While I loved--relished, even--the activities that left my kitchen floor covered in soapy bubbles and an entire bookshelf dumped onto the living room floor, the fact was that I struggled to mesh teaching and parenting.

Of course, that season came to an end. Jo learned far more than I ever even attempted to teach her. Atticus somehow started reading three-letter words. And Logan--left to his own devices for larger chunks of time than I ever allowed Jo--discovered that his voice is best expressed with paint, a brush and liberal quantities of paper. It was a good thing, this frantic period of being all things to three small people.

I'm drawing on this knowledge again as I learn to balance life with five children whose needs range from warm bottles every three hours to sensitive counseling about the signs of impending menstruation. If it was that productive last time, surely, God will use it again, I tell myself as I let Mr. Demme carry the bulk of the math tutoring and head back to the laundry room to throw yet another load of diapers into the dryer.

In God's economy nothing--not even a season best labeled "how on earth am I supposed to do this well?"--is wasted. This time of clicking pieces into place will serve my family in ways that I can not even begin to imagine. Already, I'm getting flashes of the maturity and selflessness that is being built in the hearts of my oldest three children. I'm watching as I let little things that I've held onto slip through my fingers with the new found perspective of someon
e who once again has lost the luxury of micromanaging. Jo, Atticus and Logan are rising to the occasion ... just as Jo did in first grade, when her well-intentioned mother only managed to follow through on about half of her goals.

Is that your plan, Lord? Is this less about me and more about them?

One day, I'll figure it out. In the meantime, I'll keep trying to comb my memory banks for
exactly how you manage to get a full chapter's worth of reading done when there are diapers to change and noses to wipe. It'll come to me. Just like riding a bike, right?


Mom Of E's said...

Hmmm. Well, I certainly don't have it figured out. I'm still working on how to fit in potty-training for Em and Eva along with school for Elle. Taking two little ones to the potty every few minutes is not very conducive to learning anything besides patience. Hey, maybe THAT'S what I'm supposed to be helping Elle learn right now!

Anyway, I think you are already way ahead of the curve since you realize that priorities will have to shift for a little bit. And what priorities could be better than a baby boy who needs to be cuddled, and a slightly older boy who needs help adjusting to his new title of big brother? :-)


Anonymous said...

This was encouraging for me. I'm at that point you were long ago with a bright 1st grader that I don't have as much time to help as I want to because I'm so busy with three younger siblings. Good to hear that the crazy time like this isn't wasted.

Vix said...

Hugs to you, I know it all too well. :)

Mrs. C said...

Did you type this one sentence at a time between diaper changes like I do on my blog?? Or just leave the computer on and see if you have mail as you're walking by?

:] Someday we'll have five minutes together and miss these good old days LOL! We're blessed. We're busy, too.

Benny said...

I just LOVE the blur of this busy, blessed, loving, hands-on time with chubby fingers grabbing everything and wet little bodies in the bubble bath and messy floors that trip us up and school agers asking deep, probing questions... and I love being reminded of how precious it all is, and that enjoying this time, and encouraging the love within the family really is the priority. Learning seems to happen if you're putting any thought into it at all. And to back off a bit and see the fruit of just living and learning... well, it's just a beautiful thing!


Big Red Driver said...

It's all in the attitude!

FULL OF JOY said...

Well said, well written! Thanks for the reminder.

Luke said...

Good grief, your posts are fantastic!

And if by "riding a bike" you mean: falling often, getting scraped up, but having a loving Father there to help you up again, brush the gravel from your knees, and give you some encouragement... yes.

If you mean: You never forget and it all comes right back--probably not. I don't have experience in this area yet, but I think it's ever a "growth opportunity" and not a rehash of the past.

But what do I know? [smile]

Be blessed today! Thanks for being a blessing to me.


Jenny said...

Thanks for this post. This is where I am right now and your thoughts are such an encouragement. I don't always have time to comment, but I never miss a Mary Grace post!