28 September 2012

school daze: still learning

some people think that once you have one child, that makes you a pro at being a parent. i am here to tell you that is not the case.

herein lies the second installment of my homeschool series. in case you missed it, you can read the first piece here.

i wanted to call this post there and back again since that is how my second son refers to his favorite book, the hobbit. but since we are still there and haven't left, it would be more appropriate to pen it there and who knows.

so, who knows...

when we decided to homeschool our first child, it only made sense that we would throw in the younger brother. by the time he was 3, our second born was saying those 3 magic syllables: "triv-i-um". i scooped my boys up and put them into the same little learning pod. it didn't take long until i realized that our second born was very different from our first born. and if you have ever met our boys, it would only take you 2 seconds to figure this out. 

like a neon flashing sign, our second child loves attention. he is the first person to volunteer at any given public event. he picked up a guitar when he was 2 and hasn't stopped trying to write his destiny as a rock and roll star since. he is an extra extrovert. this can be exhausting and enchanting. winsome and wild. 

but academically, well, academics is just a means to an end for him. he doesn't savor science or feel compelled to comprehend math. his agreeable personality{need to make peace and be liked}make him a joy to educate. but he is not a strong student and has struggled to grasp concepts like penmanship and concentration {and spelling}
he tells me he is going to patent markers for drawing semi permanent tattoos. i ask, "aren't those called 'sharpies'?"

what homeschooling has afforded us is the luxury to go as we wish. speed up or slow down. take two days to cover one math lesson. read aloud the challenging classics to this boy who can comprehend the most complex and esoteric of allusions{or innuendo}. spend extra time working on left brain/right brain exercises to wake up the sensory motor skills. have him sit on a special cushion to help him concentrate or perhaps put on leg weights to help with his sensory processing deficiency. here's the thing, i have worked really hard at trying to understand this complex sometimes angst-y boy who for all intents and purposes is maturing at a much faster rate than his older brother. 

for that reason, i feel a little out of sorts with this boy who has been curious about "real school" since he was in 2nd grade. we have tried a myriad of ways to satiate his curiosity just short of putting him in an 8-3 classroom. 

last week as we drove to his weekly tutorial he broached the subject yet again, "it's just that i am curious to know what it's like." always open with him, i reflected, "you know, there have been a lot of things in life that i have been curious about. some of them turned out to be not so good. but some of them turned out to be just fine."

his father and i will ultimately decide what happens with this lad of 11 years next year as it relates to his education, but i can't help think it is wrong of us to encourage and teach critical thinking only to squelch it when our child makes a valid{and let's face it, fair}assessment of his needs. i sort of feel like there will be hell to pay if we don't indulge this innocent desire. i've seen the movie footloose.

from the time i fell in love with his merry eyes, there has been an overwhelming lesson with this one. a "let go" whisper in my deepest mother's heart. a he's-not-yours blowing wind. maybe it was spurred by watching him crouch down to play, eat, read that so reminded me of the photographs the Mister brought back of the locals living in India. or maybe it's his unquenchable love of people who are not like him. this boy unconsciously seeks out people who are unlike him to befriend. he, like his mother, has an insatiable need to enjoy diversity. it is as though he recognizes that too much homogeneity is bland and that creativity is brought out and enjoyed when there are differences. i would not be surprised if this boy leaves home as a young man for a distant land-not out of rebellion, but out of passion for adventure. his call of the wild.

last night at dinner i asked him to tell me more about why he was ready for a school transfer. he used words like:independence and discipline and responsibility. i couldn't help think: aren't those the things we have been teaching this delightful boy for his whole life?

i am not excited about him leaving his all boys' school. it is not the path that i think is best. what if he's labeled? what if he can't concentrate with all the distractions? what if girls notice him? what if he soars? what if he falls and learns to pick himself up? what if he finds that he really does like it? what if he realizes that i was right? what if i realize he was right? what if we meet somewhere in the middle?

you are never too old to learn something new. and that is something i want my boys to know and glean from me. sometimes the best lessons are ones that we live.

stay tuned! next friday i'll be continuing this exploration on schooling from home. since we have 2 more boys, this series will go on and on. whew!

truly yours,

26 September 2012


i have been sitting with this one for a while. it goes out to my young friends and to some of my old friends. you are God's guiding light to me.

okay, here goes...

i did not experience natural childbirth with any of my babies. it evaded me all 4 times. the result was 4 healthy babies born via caesaren section. but i like to think that even though i never had a midwife coach me through the most physically painful and triumphant times in my life, i have been coached in my life by friends and the like who have held my hand and cheered me into a sense of my own self's rebirth. we'll call her Epiphany.

now let me stop so that you can digest the last part. read it again. stop reading. unfriend me from facebook. take my number out of your phone. or if you like, continue reading.

it is true. at the age of 41 i finally have a better understanding of myself. i feel reborn. i feel understood. not by others. but by myself. 

for the past 30 something years, as long as i have had a conscious sense of self, i have fought for a desire to be understood by everyone except myself. 

i flirted with the notion that there was an inner friendship that needed to be nudged. i mean, i kind of spend most of my time with myself be it in the company of others or alone. but for whatever reason i never indulged in time to know who i was until recently. 

fighting and clawing it has been an arduous, emotional, painful battle much like the stories i hear from friends who feel the quickening of labor associated with childbirth. the pain becomes almost insurmountable. you look around and wish for an easy way out, but you know that in the end it's just you and your body. fighting to the death to bring forth life. and that life is glorious and beautiful and worth it. then you look on your offspring with love that washes over you. and you forget the pain. and you judge, "it was worth it."

that is very much like the journey to true self discovery. or at least my experience. it has been hard. but like those who have set their mind on birthing a bundle of joy, so did i. and i dug in for the long haul.

along the way, the graciousness of my Creator sent midwives of sort. friends who have walked with me. some literally hand in hand. others figuratively so. looking into my eyes. steadying my gaze as i want to look away and distract myself with anything, but truth. they have sat with me and questioned and listened and challenged and laughed and cried and fought me. o, good glorious Lord. i do have a team of ministering friends. sweet jesus, thank you for them all. many do not know how they have coaxed me along.
i recently emerged a changed soul of sorts. over the course of a few weeks i have had a time of soul searching reflection. some significant training and counseling. and i am deeply, DEEPLY, that soul-abiding-like-a-lasting-hug-that-doesn't-break-away-after-an-awkward-length-of-time grateful. o, dear me. that is the way i feel resting in this moment. 

my path to epiphany will be explored and digested and likely shared with you later because i feel like i am not the only one who is not living the best life i could be. and if i have anything to share that might be helpful to any of my friends, i will give it up with open hands and open heart.  but for right now i am keeping it close to the chest until i have the words to rightly write what best articulates that almost inarticulate-able cognizance.

the good thing about growth is that while it takes root, it also takes upkeep{and pruning}to make it continue so while i would like to think that i have achieved the end {of the pain}, i suspect it's only the beginning. stay tuned. until then...


24 September 2012

summer reading

this weekend we exchanged our short sleeves for sweaters. the autumnal equinox came in and brought the crisp temperatures. o, i do love this time of year. it made me reflect back on all we did over the summer. i am not sad to see the hot days leave. we had our fill.

we took a lot of field trips {to the shore, to the farm, to the city, to the woods}. we baked a great deal whilst manning our booth rotation at our local farmer's market for our little family business, red apron organic:fresh milled flours.

during the course of our travels as well as our ventures around town, we managed to listen to a few books on audio. hatchetnumber the starsthe secret gardenand then i introduced beowulf

some of the books were hits some of the books were misses.
an honorable mention

i could hardly wait for the boys to hear the 1,000 year old epic that has monsters and valor to inspire their little adventurous hearts. they did not care for it. at all. that would be beowulf. but the book that most surprised me was the secret garden. they loved that book. not at first. not when they heard the title. but it didn't take long before they were enthralled, reminding me to turn on the cd every time we got back in the car.

i wonder how many boys are missing out on reading this unlikely heroic tale because the protagonist is a girl, and it's about a garden? sometimes heros are the unlikely. this story sneaks up and surprises and made me gasp. the mark of a great book.

but we didn't stop there... 

i read to the littlest all of the e.b. white books as well as dr. doolittle and mr. popper's penguins{we had an animal theme going}. it was delighful. delight-full. the heroism of louis the trumpet swan. the courage of a spider. the adventures of a mouse. the creativity of a man and his penguins. o, so many lessons to glean from these little 1950's classics. so thankful my boys listened to such worthwhile tales.

so last night, as the sun set over the appalachian trail, we snuggled together on the sofa to officially close out our summer reading with a viewing of the 1993 francis ford coppola version of the secret garden. it was illustrious and lovely. the movie managed to stay true to the text (mostly), but in the end we all agreed. we enjoyed the book better than the movie.


21 September 2012

school daze: a four part series

this is not a rebel post...

i am asked a lot{just about everyday}by friends and strangers about my decision to homeschool. it means different things for each of my 4 boys so to answer the question, i will be writing a 4 part series on fridays in this here little blog {honestly, it is a good reminder to myself}.the approach to schooling each boy is different, but the reason is the same. here goes...

i never thought it would come to this. ever. before i had children, i looked at families who homeschool like many look at a cult car accident. with fear, curiosity and a little anxiety. it was not on the tip of my tongue when someone asked me how i saw my future. did i even think of exploring this alternative approach to education as i read about the bradley method of childbirth? i can't recall. what i do recall is when it came time to drop my first born off at kindergarten, the entire ritual felt completely unnatural. i remember asking another mother thinking maybe she would agree. instead she laughed, "are you kidding? it feels glorious!" then i knew it was me. and the me was screaming, "abort mission!". 
first day of kindergarten

a few weeks into kindergarten, i saw a shift in our boy. the once loving child now greeted us in the carpool line with anger and contempt. and that anger was usually directed towards his younger brother. a rift was growing between these two little fellows who had once adored one another. i now know that our home community was being shaken. and if there is something that matters to us, it's community. if our primary community wasn't strong, how could we go about building it elsewhere? for me, the notion of homeschooling meant cultivating community at home. 

the rest is history. our boy came home to school mid kindergarten year with the full support of my Mister whose observations were in line with what i had been seeing for many months prior. we took a leap of faith. we began a long and arduous hike down a path that seemed less traveled, but in reality has been around long before dewey and his philosophy of how to educate the masses. 

that 5 year old is now a boy of 13 years. i wish i could say d.i.y. education has been a jaunty jog down a moss lined path, but it hasn't. with every rotation of the sun, my firstborn has become increasingly more difficult to manage. i realize now that it was more to do with not getting the challenge he needed than from having a sour attitude {which he accomplishes well}.

recently he had a geography quiz on the 50 states for his tutorial. his tutor required him to freehand the u.s., labeling the capitals and peppering in the features and 32 major rivers. in his boyish way he waited til the day BEFORE the quiz to take the task seriously. so last week, as i walked through the dining room {his commandeered work space} i saw him practicing. pencil in hand. papers scattered. he was pouring over an atlas and my laptop and a map. it was a heavy task. but within a few hours {and much to my surprise} he sat with me and went through all the rivers and all the features and all the capitals with excitement. but then again he loves to learn. it is nothing for him to pick up a book on a particular subject and teach himself{a trait he inherited from his father}. his vocabulary on things science or math related prove that as i sit with mouth agape confessing, "i never taught him that." he is self motivated and let's face it, self taught on a lot of his subjects.  

we have stumble-tripped our way into what is now our 9th year of schooling at home, and in some ways it feels like we have only begun. this year our school year began without fanfare. no photographs on the front porch. no special breakfast. we just started. actually we kind of never stopped throughout the summer{damn math!}.we kind of sort of school year round{damn math!!!}.

so finally after finding a tutorial that agrees with him, my oldest is soaring. he found his match with 8th grade. this afternoon as i drove him home from a biology class, he held a petri dish of his mouth sample to observe the bacteria growth over a week*. i gloated, "boy, you are one lucky duck. that science class is amazing. i might not know how to pronounce 'protista', but i know where to find you someone who does." he beamed. "yep. thank you, mom." 
later as we were making dinner and finishing out our day, i nonchalantly asked, "how long do you want to be homeschooled?" he quickly articulated, "until college. i have no desire to go to public school." i offered, "there are other options besides homeschool and public school." he asked, "yeah, like what?" and i told him some other ideas i had percolating in my mind. he shrugged them off, seemingly content with life as he knows it. and i am fine with keeping him at home-i think.

now his younger brother, is a different story. more on him in a later post. speaking of his younger brother, these two continue to mend fences and throw stones, but in the end i know that homeschooling has afforded us what we love-community and freedom to teach, learn and live the way we wish for as long as we can.

whatever we decide for the future, i know that my time with THIS child, my firstborn, has been well spent and the hardest sacrifice i have ever made. there were days when i longed deeply to go to lunch with a friend {and sometimes did-oopsie} or have a career that carried me out of the house. but the lasting thought that stuck with me, that stills sticks with me is: on my death bed i will never wish i had spent less time with my kids. they may wish i had, but i won't and well, that's the best i can do. and hey, i have learned a lot. just ask me about the fertile crescent. seriously, go ahead and ask me...


*he compared his mouth to that of our dog's. anyone who says a dog's mouth is cleaner than a human's has never watched the bacteria grow in a petri dish. no more kisses, Kip. sorry, buddy. 

18 September 2012

did you get the memo?

the boys argued to the point i asked with much fatigue and equal amount of frustration, "what are you palestine and israel?" then when the oldest criticized my technology techniques, i shot back, "hey buddy, if i wanted to live with criticism, i would move back in with my mother." 
how my children must see me.

all of this comes on the heels of a long day where the Mister is out late. i am drained {and it's only tuesday}. but then i sat down and thought, this is not the mother i want etched in my boys' memory. the tired hag who was quick with the sarcasm and slow with the grace. i want them to have a snapshot of a kinder, gentler woman who enjoyed hearing the same 3 chords on their guitar like it was the first time hearing it or listing all of the shapes of bacteria or succumbing to a pile of legos with vim and vigor or reading with a lap full of books and a jar of m-n-m's. in case i forget, i'll write myself a memo...

hey charlie,

i meant it today when we were driving in the car and i said, "i love reaching my hand over in the car and grabbing on to you. you're not mine forever so i am savoring every drop of you i can. every. yummy. drop.of.you." you have the heart of an artist and the confidence of a mountain climber. i love you, warrior. you tell me you are more pueblo, "peaceful farmer". but your passion doesn't concur. because you love a good row, buddy. i can see it in your merry eyes. you love a good row.

hello, harry

how can you continue to surprise me with your candor and your complete lack of self awareness? you have thrown caution to the wind and make me gasp, but mostly from laughing so hard. i tell you the truth. the lord sent me a resounding message to LIGHTEN UP, and he wrapped that message in a blue bundle named harrison. your magnificent freedom makes me jealous. your honest and authentic gestures inspire me.

o, cookie dough

what is your real name? i don't think i'll ever see you as anything more than my baby. maybe that's why you get away with EVERYTHING. o, how i have pettered out on having you toe-the-line. you whisper in my ear, "you're as beautiful as a spider". our secret reference to an arachnid named charlotte. adventure and courage are your best friends. they carry you through many a day and get you into the most unlikely of predicaments much to my dismay {and frustration}.daddy told me about you riding your bike down our driveway lying on your stomach. i cannot believe your bravery. you keep me from conforming and settling and most of the time, resting. but you certainly keep me on my knees, praying. o, dear me. you have driven me to my knees. 

my darling, jack

the past few months have been touch and go for us. i wonder if i will remember what you looked like as 13 year old because you have suddenly become camera stubborn shy. and equally reticent on giving me hugs. i sneak up from behind and grab you until you wriggle away with a "mom, you are so weird." i sneak up from behind and sniff the nape of your neck. "mom! what are you doing?" i smell you. the baby you. you still smell so sweet. the burgeoning adolescent boy has not ravaged you-yet. even though the attitude clearly has. you have made me question everything i thought i knew as a mother-in a good way. you do not accept my slack {you came by THAT trait honestly}. and you reckon with me on every point both small and large. basically, i feel like we are iron sharpening iron, son. and that is a painful process.
over the past month i have seen you shoot up like a geyser. you have taken on an incredible school workload with zest like i have never seen. i told your daddy, "he is soaring". and you are. you grin as you move through your day-almost like you are devouring a decadent meal. "latin? a double helping please. biology? don't mind if i do. i better save room for writing and reading too." you continue to spur me on to read more and learn more so that i can pronounce those obscure scientific words. you will always be the one responsibly for welcoming me to motherhood. like it or not.

your mama aka gf

17 September 2012

coffee confessional

we had a long, luxurious coffee on a bright, brisk saturday. basking in the glow of a yoga practice that was both challenging and deeply satisfying, we sat and talked. she listened as i processed what the Lord had been showing me.

after our coffee date, i texted: "i am going to write a blog post about you titled, 'how my non christian friend taught me about christianity'." and so this is my love note to my friend, amanda.

shortly after we moved to maryland, my new friend evie took me for a walk around my new neighborhood. she took me to meet her favorite coffee shop, her favorite hair stylist and then to a pub where i met her friend, amanda. evie said, "and if you ever need a sitter, amanda is your girl."

thinking nothing of it, we continued on our walk through the cobblestone streets and brownstones that are our sweet downtown. a few weeks later, i had amanda over to assist in the wild ass monkey watching. we have been friends since.

she is much younger than me. she does not enjoy baking. her politics are a bit different than mine. she makes fun of me for homeschooling. she was raised going to church, but no longer believes in a one-way-only theology. those are the biggest differences between us. many would argue, "those are big differences". but therein lies the affection. 

i adore this girl who is the most honest person i have ever met. she challenges me. she makes me a better{and more stylish}person. once when we were shopping, i tried on a pair of jeans. when she told me they looked amazing, i bought those damn 100$ jeans because i know this girl doesn't lie.

so the other day as we sat sipping our coffees, she nodded as i processed a newly gifted sense of insight about myself, the world, my children, my mister. it was all new to me. not to her. even though she is younger, she had come to this particular piece of enlightenment earlier than me. she sat excitedly listening as i pontificated on what it meant to be a created being. humbly she sat. humbly she listened. and when she spoke, she spoke truth. some of it was hard to hear, but i know it was truth spoken from a place of love so i received it-and am still processing it.

the Creator in His graciousness towards me has used this girl who does not even believe in Him to love me and teach me so much about Himself. and here's how...

she lives an honest life. if she is sad, she sits in it. if she is mad, watch out. if she is happy, you will be too. and she speaks her mind. like it or not. o, goodness she speaks her mind.

she lives a beautiful life. she breathes deeply. enjoys a delicious meal. indulges in decadent donuts {every once in a while}. makes time for rest. says, "no". 

she is thoughtful. when i turned 40 some of my church friends had a surprise brunch for me. she came! and she brought me the loveliest bouquets from this darling flower shop. then she and her husband made me a fun NYC scrapbook and cd to guide us as we trekked up to their old stomping grounds, even playing taxi when we left on the amtrak both to and fro-and the train station was an hour away one way.

she means what she says. she will be the first one to tell you that organized religion has no place in her life{yet? wink-wink}. spiritually, she finds her way via yoga and meditation. when i tell her i am praying for her, she laughs, "whatever." but she never makes me feel like i cannot be myself {though she reserves the right to speak her mind be it what i am wearing or what i am baking}

her "higher consciousness" is my Creator. her daily devotion is yoga. mine is quiet time spent reading the Bible. her meditation is quiet thought. mine is prayer to God. 

i would be missing out if i had seen these differences as an obstacle to cultivating a friendship with this girl who is a gift. it would have been my loss. it is my belief that the Creator of differences can use those differences to display His splendor. He is greater than our differences.

for amanda, and to Him who brought her into my life, I am thankful.


14 September 2012

a Kink in my week

this photo makes me so happy

a couple of years ago our christmas card read: it's been a crappy year. here's hoping yours was better. 

here's the thing. i don't like to pretend-or mince words apparently. and well, this week has been crappy trying.

from learning that one of our boys has a slight {the doc almost didn't even mention it, but who says a heart murmur isn't a big deal?} heart murmur, to learning that i have gained more weight than i did during my last pregnancy {not really, but it sure feels like it}, to forgetting where i was supposed to be when, to breaking my beloved grain mill which renders me incapable of keeping up with our little red apron organic cottage based flours business. i could keep going, but you get the picture. 

of course, my cares are nothing in the grand scheme of things. my little friend pearl is a champion. and my beloved friend betsy gave birth to her 6th boy-SIX BOYS!!! wow. and my husband is pursuing his passions outside the office in a most adventurous way. and my boys are loving learning. and our dog is being a complete rascal. and the weather has been amazing. 
and just last night i met up with my {fellow homeschool mom} friend julie {we managed to leave our denim jumpers at home} for a little charity cocktail girls night at one of my favorite places, silk and burlap. so, there. really. what do i have to complain about?
i love passing these boys in the hall
in other news, my boys have discovered the Kinks. we have been listening to this song over and over and over again. the lyrics really make me glad that there is someone else out there who gets it. he wrote a song that speaks to m-e.

since we won't be working the farmer's market {boo-hoo}, we'll have extra time to do other adventures this weekend. i want to go here. and maybe here too. and apparently i need the hike.{cue eye rolling, lordhavemercy} i'll catch you later.
the littlest traipsing around in my backpack from high school!!!


10 September 2012

A letter to our girl Pearl

"I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into 
the house of the Lord"

Picking a name for a child is one of the most significant endeavors. You are choosing what another human being will be called for the rest of his or her life. That is huge and daunting and exciting and let's face it exciting.

Your name, Pearl, is a perfect reflection of who you are. Delicate, beautiful, unique. Pearls are the result of a biological process -- the oyster's way of protecting itself from foreign substances. Such is your young life. Strong. Unique. And lovely.

I like to think that like pearls that adorn a woman's neck, you make those of us who know you, better. I can see it in your father's writing as he processes and praises your Creator. I can see it in your community as we gather to pray, raise money, raise awareness and celebrate. I can see it in your mother as she displays
 a more beautiful version of herself-as she finds the courage to care for you whilst caring for your precious siblings. I can see it in the countless accounts of lives you, yes little ole you, have touched in the 6 weeks of life you have lived. Most of us will not know that kind of magnitude in a lifetime. 

Most of us will not have articles written about our lives by curious strangers in faraway lands. A couple of days ago your mama texted to ask a simple favor. Would I fetch a couple of copies of our local paper for her? Our local paper happens to be the Washington Times. And you just happened to be in said paper, little darling. I was pleased when your mama texted back today to say she had received her copies. I was pleased to have a simple, tangible way to help. 

You continue to wow us and woo us. Just a simple baby with an extraordinary beginning. You were not born into wealth or with much notoriety. You were not even supposed to live. And here you are. Your story reminds me of another little baby who was born. Who was not supposed to live passed His birth, but who the Lord saw fit to send to save. 

Your parents fought for you. And for that reason and because of the Lord's graciousness, today we know you, Pearl Joy. For that, I am grateful. 

Your name, you wear well. 

Loving the Lord who made you.


{read more about this little life 

want to know how you can help? how about this?}

06 September 2012

streets of philadelphia

as we were driving into the city last saturday down a street called lancaster lined with gingko trees, i was hopeful. o, what a lovely city. i was full of food from terrain {have i mentioned this place to you. only a few times, right? wink wink}, and i was high from having spent a delightful morning touring its gardens. my first glimpse of the city of brotherly love was just that-love. 

THEN. the gingko trees became industrial buildings. warehouses. and then. gasp. storefronts marked with XXX {and not the roman numeral variety}. store windows with scandalous wears and scandalous ahem wares {the vibrator/cell phone combo still has me speechless}. 

but the people who were walking in the streets, chatting and laughing warmly reminded me of my hometown, east nashville. the pavement was bustling with life. happy people. faces of hard living, but happy faces nevertheless. we crept through town at a snail's pace til we reached our hotel which was thankfully situated in the middle of most everything {i loathe driving in a large metropolitan city}. we parked our car, and for the next few days, we walked everywhere except when the pouring rain forced us to find refuge in the back of a kind haitian man's cab-much to the frustration of one boy in particular who does NOT enjoy public transportation.

i cannot tell you every detail of our journey, but i can share some snapshots. 

if you ever find yourself in philadelphia, consider visiting some of the places we found worthwhile...

1)enroute stop off here:

they serve yummy bread like this
looky! a little piece of home.

they're kid friendly

2) you can't NOT go here...

or here...

3) if you happen to be visiting on a first sunday, this place allows you to pay what you like to visit. renoir and klee for cheap, baby.

4) the dead sea scrolls were aaaamazing...

all in all our visit was unforgettable {as well as exhausting}. we ate at some fabulous restaurants. the people were incredibly friendly. and we managed to keep our wits about us {mostly}.

fortunately we were on the same block as this amazing market

while we were in this incredible city, i was inspired to have the boys begin a school project. stay tuned...

until next time. 


05 September 2012

in sickness and in health

caring for others is a challenge. caring for others when you are convalescing is downright dreadful. add to that trying to school children, getting one ready for his science class, picking up a feisty dog from the kennel, foraging for food in a bare cupboard, carrying on while the Mister is out late doing something-and well, i hear the toll of those martyrdom bells ringing loudly. 

then you figure it out. you just keep moving. the laundry gets done by the helpful 13 year old. the dinner {of oatmeal pancakes with whipped cream and jam-we were out of syrup} dishes are done by the 11 year old with his trusty sidekick the 9 year old whilst the 6 year old rubs your back {ever so sweetly}. then the 11 year fetches the earbuds so that mama can sit on the sofa listening to npr while the brood plays a rousing game of monopoly that has one brother taking advantage of his trapdoor long johns {he calls his curtain} by showing his hiney to his cheering brothers. 

i must say it is rare i have clarity when i am not well. frustrated, "i don't have time for THIS." is usually how i tread. i loathe being sick. to slow down. to be okay with the lower management taking the reigns. "the dog will clean the floor. do i reeeeeally have to vacuum?" 

tonight i sat watching the boys play their father's ancient board game. teasing one another. fighting. encouraging, "don't cheat!" and laughing. hard. and i thought. these days. they are a'fleeting. how many more week nights will we have the luxury to sit listening to the radio, playing a board game? how many more week {or weekends} nights will there be the desire to play board games with siblings?

so for tonight as i look on and listen to the fighting and google specific rules of monopoly and break up a fist fight and laugh at the dancing booty, i decide this is a sweet, sweet time. it's fleeting. so in sickness or in health, i am going to enjoy it.