Unless the Lord says differently, this has been/ will be our summer:
Weeks 1 and 2: preparation for this year’s dance recital
Week 3: oldest in class for PSAT review
Week 4 (this week): oldest away at camp
Week 5: oldest in class for PSAT review, part II
Week 6: son at National Dance competition
Week 7: VBS
Week 8: (can you believe it?—nothing to do!!)
Week 9: begin school(?)
There are at least two aspects of this schedule that have become my latest musings. The first is pondering how, every summer, I make a declaration that we are just going to rest, and every summer, we are busier than the summer before. I wonder if I stated, “This summer, we’re going to be busier than ever!” would we actually have nothing to do? I might try that next spring. Right now, however, what this schedule means is that we will potentially have only one “do nothing” week, which also happens to contain my husband’s birthday, before school would start. I intentionally wanted to start earlier this year because my goal is to finish school early enough to get outside in late April/ early May before it gets too hot. The older two weren’t totally in agreement with this, but then again, they’re not the ones that do the lion’s share of weeding, mulching, and watering during the blazing heat. Now I’m not sure if my plan will work. Rest is important to academics, too, and we’ve not had much of it as far as I can tell.
The other realization I’ve had, as we left the oldest waaaaaayyy out west yesterday, is that this is the first time we’ve been apart from any of the children for an extended period of time. On the bittersweet ride back home yesterday, past endless windmills and mesquite trees, I thought about a family favorite of ours, Disney’s “College Road Trip” (Martin Lawrence, Raven Symone.)
At the end of the movie, as Raven’s character waves goodbye from behind the opened door of her dormitory, her parents fight back tears, and memories of childhood past flash through their minds as they return a final wave—for a while. Were we experiencing a glimpse of what we’ll go through in a couple more years? I think so. And though she politely ushered us out of the door so that she could begin her week as a semi-grown up, she missed us, too. During our 10-hour drive back, she texted twice, then called twice, saying the latter time, “Would you like me to talk you until you get home?” (We were 5 hours away from our driveway at the time). I couldn’t help but laugh at how irritated she gets when little brother and sister make an unannounced visit into her room, and yet, what does she do with her first opportunity to be alone? She calls home, and talks with little sister. Priceless.
When I’m not playing taxi cab/ head cheerleader for all these efforts, I have had a little time to think about next school year, and to even make a decision or two (smile). The oldest had asked about learning home management skills—how to cook, complete the laundry cycle, etc. I began to try and formalize this into a Home Economics course on last year, but it never materialized. It probably won’t happen this year, either, at least not in a formal sense. We will pull in some Dave Ramsey and/or Larry Burkett materials on personal finances, but I think that, for the most part, we’ll learn to manage a home by managing our home. The biggest dilemma I’m having in this area is how to teach cooking to someone who doesn’t eat. So much of good cooking is about intuition and instinct regarding taste, flavor, and pleasurable textures on the tongue. Based on my own childhood experiences, I’ve had to fight the demons that cause food to be so much more than food—it was comfort, it was companionship, and it was love. For our oldest, food is what food should be—sustenance to allow her to get on with the priorities of her day. For that and a couple of other reasons, her diet is fairly restrictive; how do I turn her into a cook? What I’ve thought about doing so far is to work with the things she likes and make sure she can prepare those; artistry will come with time.
Otherwise, I’ve been gathering books and book ideas, and pulling projects into the kids’ studies for next school year. It’s shaping into another fun learning time (at least, I think so.) I’m also in thought/ prayer about joining a homeschool group again—not for the sake of the group, but for the sake of our youngest daughter, who needs to get out, and to do something different than what she currently does. Of course, this could happen in a myriad of ways, and that’s the part that I’m prayerful about; a homeschool group is not a homeschool group is not a homeschool group, and I am definitely not decided that we need some of the more negative aspects of a group in the effort to have more play days and field trips. Somewhere in the midst of all this busy-ness I will have to carve out some thinking/ praying/ meditating time. So much needs to be more carefully thought through than I have time to do right now, but I plow along.
I suppose frustration would be an easy space to crawl into right now, but I make the conscious effort to be thankful. So, in the midst of all of this, I’m thankful that…
1) We had resources to do all the items listed above
2) Where resources looked limited, God provided abundantly (I’m still speaking that)
3) Dad has been able to travel with us, and has worked from home on several days this summer
4) We spent a safe and fun Father’s Day on the road, and returned safely on yesterday (also speaking that trip #2 will be the same or better)
5) Today I will sleep as much as I want to (Hallelujah!)
6) I saw the one corner of Texas that I’d not seen before
7) I was asked to take on some additional work that won’t require too much time
8) Our okra is growing like crazy
9) With dance season over (for the most part), we can attend mid-week service
10) Next dance season, class times were adjusted such that we can continue to attend mid-week services
11) Whatever happens over this summer, busy or not, we serve a great God.
That’s a very small, non-exhaustive list. Hope you feel the same way when you jot yours down.