25 January 2012

The Remains of the Day

I am not going to lie. Yesterday was a challenging maddening day. Maybe it was the fact the Mister worked late, but our troubles started long before 6 pm.

A busy place in our home.

It took us 2.5 hours for 2.5 boys to complete their subject of math (we school at home). Now before you think their math is rigorous (which they would say it can be), please know I had to break up not one, not two, but three boxing matches. Once we finally made it to lunch-at 1.30, I thought things would go smoothly. But a self-appointed uprising was being planned by ONE who moaned and begged through his entire grammar. We had colons, semi colons, elipses and bibliographies to cover-not to mention we read the entire Declaration of Independence and did 3 analytical task sheets where we diagram sentences as well as re write sentences with different purposes and different structures. Okay. His seething may have been valid, but we did ditch grammar yesterday so that he could hang with his non homeschool friends who had the day off, and he gets to go bowling on Thursday with all his homeschool friends. So, he had it coming. 

Where the grammar happens-and clearly no organizing.

At 4.30 when I finally set the two older boys free, I went to my room to read (blessed me). Then, there he was. The boy. THE BOY who had moaned and begged his younger brothers to "save me please!" during his grammar. He had some unfinished business with me his mom and me his headmistress. So he sat on my bed for one hour bewailing. AND I sat on my bed for one hour listening. His older brother bullies him. He gets the blame for the younger brother's messes. His handwriting is fine-"Have you seen Mrs. C's handwriting?" (sorry, Mrs. C) and his math skills are advanced according to his sledding conversations. "The other kids haven't learned squared numbers yet!"

The front lawn that is rivaling that of Sanford & Sons.

And then I spoke. Lovingly. Otherworldly. Graciously. Not normal for me. I began to diagram his grievances with care. We went through each piece. But in the end, it came back to where it always does. There is one enemy (and it is not your brother). We live in an imperfect world. With a little literature analogy thrown in for good measure, "Ender was being groomed for something bigger than himself. And so are you. He couldn't have been the warrior he was if he had an easy life." I told him that we are in this broken, imperfect thing called life together. I fail. And I regret not being better at my job, but here is what you got, son: a broken vessel.

By dawn's early light, it is still a pile of unfinished business.

The sunset was glorious over the Appalachian Trail. Dinner needed to be made. We sat down to one fewer places at the table (remember the Mister was working late). And it all started up again. It began with a giggle over a misspelled text the 8 year old had sent me from his friend Elle's house. Then the potty talk started followed by vulgar potty sounds. And dinner was o-v-e-r. They were gone into a world from which I could not bring them back. I loudly shouted, "Uncle"! 

Rather than have them help with washing the dishes, I had the boys clear, sweep, wipe the table and head up for baths. The air cleared. I tackled the pile of dishes from not one, but three hot meals that I had lovingly prepared for my 4 joys. Then the thought came to mind. "I get it." In Legends of the Fall, three boys are left in the care of their father who lives in the wilderness whilst their mother leaves for the city. I once judged the mother for leaving. Today, I understand. I understand why the mother sometimes eats her young-in the animal kingdom. 

Dream big. Tomorrow's a new day!

Once the kitchen was stable, I ventured up to a much more demure upstairs. Boys were getting along nicely. One brother was reminding his younger brother kindly, "You forgot your laundry." I asked for book requests since the Mister wasn't home for their usual read aloud of Two Towers and Across Five Aprils. And just like that, the night calmed down as quickly as it had stirred up. When the Mister came home, he tucked each boy into bed except for the 5 year old who had found his place comfortably next to me. I finally had a moment to read. It was nice.I allowed myself 30 minutes until exhaustion took over. A new day is waiting. And it will be better. Or at least that is what I believe. It must! We have our papers on the Declaration of Independence to write with bibliographies. 

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