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 someone 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?