Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Butterfly Flaps It's Wings and All That.....

It's funny how sometimes someone passing through your life can affect you.

In junior high school there was this kid who was in a lot of my classes. He was one of those kids that never really seems to fit in anywhere. And we tortured him.

I think that age group is really brutal anyway. I don't think anyone really gets out of junior high without being victimized by someone at some point... even the most "popular" kids have to deal with it.

But this kid got it bad. He was awkward and had a bit of a know-it-all attitude and he didn't wear the right clothes... all of it. He was by every definition, a dork.

In high school he continued to be on the outskirts of social acceptance, but luckily in high school the torment seems to die down and I think in the larger school he found some kindred souls and things probably weren't so bad for him. But he and I were never really friends.

Later on, I discovered that my very own The Man actually had a distant friendship with this guy - a friend of a friend sort of deal. I remember talking with The Man about how ridiculed he was in junior high and how I felt a lot of regret for my part in the bullying that this guy had endured. The Man was somewhat surprised, letting me know that he felt this guy was actually a really nice guy.

After we were all grown up and starting lives of our own, his mom had another baby. A little girl. And as fate would have it, some years later this little girl ended up in my daughter's Brownie troop.

At one meeting his mom arrived to pick up her daughter and I introduced myself. I let her know that I had gone to high school with her son and that my daughter really enjoyed being in the same troop with her daughter.

I remember her eyes lighting up and she reached out and hugged me! She told me that her son had told her so much about me and how happy she was to have met me.

Now, I can only imagine what her son must have said about me... it just couldn't have been good.

But she hugged me and genuinely seemed happy to meet me.

And that really touched me.

Not even a year later I learned that she lost her battle to cancer. Her young daughter and my school mate had lost their mother, who was so obviously a great woman. And it's just boggling how our lives had interconnected over the years and how meeting her changed the way I look at my own life.

It made me look at how I had treated her son, at how The Man had viewed her son so differently than I had viewed him. It made me think about her daughter, so much like my own daughter, having to grow up without her mom. And how, as a mother she could so genuinely accept someone who had previously been cruel to her own son.

The five minutes I spent with her in the living room of my daughter's Brownie leader has changed the way I will raise my own children, an impact that is immeasurable.

Friday, September 24, 2010

In which the Spaz thinks maybe she should have done it differently...

We're one month in and I'm beginning to have doubts about my decision to homeschool Bug.

We're behind. Way behind. And I'm just not sure exactly how we're going to catch up.

Now, before you flame me for being irresponsible with my son's schooling, I'd like you to know that I blame this entirely on our school district.

That's right. It has nothing to do with my own disorganization or procrastination AT ALL.

No... seriously.

We ran into our first problem on September 9th when Munchkin and Goober had no school for Rosh Hashanah. Since I had been told that our schedule would follow the school district's schedule, I was surprised when Bug had a full day of lessons scheduled. We had plans for the day so I let Bug play hooky that day and figured we'd make it up as we went along.

We still haven't completely made it up. What can I say? We're a busy family.

So then, for 3 days this week Bug was required to spend the first 2 hours of each day doing diagnostic testing for the district at the elementary school. While I did enjoy having a couple of hours to myself for those days and I met another amazing mom who I have a lot in common with while dropping Bug off, we still had a full day of lessons scheduled on those days and only a few hours each day to complete them until Munchkin and Goober got home from school. (That was a horribly long sentence.)

And then the kicker came in when yesterday was a half day for the regular school kids. Of course, Bug had a full day of lessons scheduled, and hadn't even put a real dent in what he was overdue on by the time his siblings came loudly through the front door to distract him.

So now we're 2 to 3 full days behind and Bug is terribly overwhelmed. He looks at his lessons as this weight bearing down upon him like an anvil in a Warner Brothers cartoon. And I don't know how to make him feel better.

Somehow we need to get through this and get ahead of the game and it's not going smoothly. I've realized with horror how difficult it is to have one kid homeschooling with a structured program like the one Bug is using (Connections Academy if anyone has any experience), while his siblings are attending regular school.

Unfortunately the next couple of weekends are booked solid, as well, so we're going to have to figure out how to bang this out during the week. I'd like to say I can forgo some of the activities on the weekends but I honestly just can't. And I wonder if I've failed my son by selecting this for him...

But then I think back to last year when Bug went to regular school for 6 hours every day and then sat for the next 6 hours at the kitchen table crying because he couldn't get through his homework. So many nights I sent him to bed without finishing it because I had to decide whether it was more important for him to write an essay or get a good night's sleep. And then I know that this is a better option. It's just a lot harder than I thought it would be.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Just Like Heaven

I want to be Super Mom.

I do. I can picture it all, too. I'll wake up cheerful every morning, take a reviving shower and get myself dressed and do my hair and make-up. I'll make nutritious lunches for my little angels in my sparkling clean kitchen, and walk into their clean rooms to gently wake them up by letting the sun stream through their windows.

They'll put on school appropriate clothes every morning that have no little holes or stains, that they have found in their own closets and drawers and not out of a laundry basket filled with clothes I have neglected to fold and put away.

Once they're dressed and bright-eyed, they'll gather at our clean and clear table and eat bowls of nutritious cereal and fresh fruit while I drink fresh coffee and smile down at my darlings. No one will argue or tattle. They'll put their own breakfast dishes in the dishwasher (that has already been emptied) and happily wash their faces, comb their hair, and brush their teeth.

At precisely 7:30 we'll all gather into my clean, dent and scratch free mini van that nothing falls out of in the drop off circle at school when I open the sliding door. No one will have forgotten anything and no one will argue over who has to sit in the "back back" of the van.

At home, I'll spend the beginning of the morning (after I've kissed The Man goodbye and sent him off to work and after I've put a load of laundry into my washer, of course) patiently going over my oldest son's lessons with him. Once he's appropriately settled into his work, I'll straighten up the house and make sure I have all the ingredients for a nutritious dinner. I'll put away the laundry and vacuum and dust, leaving our happy home smelling fresh and clean, and before I know it, it will be time to grab the younger sweethearts from school.

They will sit nicely at the table with a healthy snack and do their homework with no complaints. I'll sign everything I need to sign, have the exact change for whatever field trip or fee needs to be paid, and they will put everything nicely into their backpacks (all trash disposed of appropriately, of course) and ready for school the next day.

The Man will come home from work promptly at 5:30 and we'll sit down to a nutritious and deliciously scrumptious meal I've prepared. After we've eaten, everyone will rinse their own dishes and place them nicely into the dishwasher and we'll be off to whatever activity is planned for the evening. We'll encourage each other nicely with "Great Job!"s and "Nice Work!"s, depending on whose practice we're at or whose meeting we're attending.

We'll arrive home with just enough time for showers before bed time and I'll tuck them all in with a bed time story and a kiss on the forehead.

I'll wrap up my day by straightening up all the little messes that have been made and reading an enlightening novel on the couch in the arms of The Man as he watches some survival show or special on the Discover Channel.

I can see it.