Sometimes Homeschooling is Hard

I don't imagine the title is really a surprise to anyone. If it was easy, maybe everyone would do it? But even so, some days I have to have a long conversation with myself about why we do it.

Youngest struggles. A lot. Everything we teach him feels like climbing uphill for miles in unrelenting heat. And maybe, if you're very lucky, he'll remember something from one day to the next. But it's not a given.

Would it be different--better?--at public school? I can't honestly see how. Maybe for me, because I wouldn't be the one banging my head against the wall... except I would be. Because homework is a thing and I can basically guarantee that youngest would have a lot of it. Probably even above and beyond what the school required. Because he struggles.

It's okay. Everyone is different. But man it's hard to have one child who is brighter than bright and another who is on the back end if the curve. I'm glad we aren't in a situation where there are grades and conferences and mean kids who use words like stupid or worse (though we do get that some just from activities we're in. And that is plenty.)

It's okay.

But some days it is really hard.


Life Goes On

I've been quiet. Grief, certainly, but also? There isn't all that much to say. Life moves on, whether you want it to or not, and so the day-to-day minutia fills up the hours and, before you know it, a day, two days, two weeks have passed.

Youngest is down with a fever today. That's it. Just a fever. No sore anything. Ears are fine. Stomach is fine. And he's bouncing off the walls walls with almost the usual virve. (Although he does wear down a bit faster.) Eldest is showing his huge heart and playing nurse-slash-entertainer with great zeal.

Beyond that? I can't write. I open my current book and stare at the blinking cursor for what feels like hours before closing it back up and calling it a day. I can barely read. I've been sticking to rereads, because I can't find a way to get into anything that isn't old and familiar.

But life moves on. At some point, I imagine I will as well.


Hilarious Irony

You remember the meal train madness for my friend recovering for surgery? (Scroll down a bit if you don't.) Remember how I lamented that when I would have warmly welcomed meals when we had newborns no one even offered? Well, with mom's passing, they offered. I declined.

See, it's the little things in a day that get me through right now. Knowing I'll have 30ish minutes in the kitchen doing something completely normal every evening is something I've started to look forward to. Because I can focus on that and not the aching hole in my chest.

Still they offered again.

I declined. Again. Politely even.

Offer. Decline. Offer. Decline.

Seriously, please stop offering. I get that their hearts are in the right place and that they mean well, but please don't take away the one normal thing that remains untouched in my life right now.

Two people have dropped off meals this week, usually with explanations that go something like this, "I know you said you didn't want them, but I'm Southern, this is what we do."

SO many things that I could say. (And did, internally. Externally I believe I managed to grimace and say thank you.)

But it got me thinking that there's some element here that, applied on a larger scale, is exactly what's responsible for whatever element of "rape culture" we have. Because you know what? No means no. Whether you're talking about touching someone or bringing them a meal. If we are not at a place where we will respect the stated wishes of another person, regardless of how we feel about their stated wishes, then we've lost our grip on a big part of what it means to live in community.

No means no.

(And of course I understand that an unwanted meal is not the same thing as sexual assault, but the root of the issue is. They wanted to do something that I did not want and they did it anyway because "It's just what they do.")


An Anecdote

A few months ago, we had friends from church over for a playdate. They have three kids - a boy about the age of my eldest (one year behind), a girl a year behind that, and then another girl who's the same age as the youngest. All three, along with mom, came to play. The kids were in and out -- running from the backyard down to the climbing wall (and toys) in the playroom and back again. After about an hour, middle girl runs upstairs, "Mom! Mom! (Eldest boy) touched my butt!"

Other Mom stands half-way to her feet, her face dark, "Oh. No no no. That's a big no go zone for us."

Me, utterly confused because that's so incredibly out of what elder boy would do that I can't quite wrap my head around it, "(Elder boy)! Come up here for a moment please."

EB dashing into the room, "Yeah?"

Me: Did you touch middle girl's butt?

EB looking like I just asked him if he frequents a school on the dark side of the moon: No. Why would I do that?

Me: I don't know, she says you did.

EB, frowning in concentration: Well, she was on the bar that connects the two climbing walls and I had to squeeze past her to get to the legos where her older brother was playing. Maybe I did it then?

Me: Make sure you pay more attention to where you are and what you're touching.

Other Mom does not seem happy with this solution, but says nothing. And they haven't returned for a playdate since.

And you know what? In 30 years, if middle girl decides to ruin my older boy's life? She could totally get away with it because of something like this that was 100% innocent, because that's the kind of world apparently the metoo generation wants.

It's ridiculous and terrifying.


A New Era

My mother died yesterday.

I'm not completely sure I've really wrapped my mind around it, even as sharp waves of grief slam into me from behind at odd moments, pushing the softer, steadier underlying numbness to the side.

I thought, having had such a long lead in, and knowing that this was coming - even desired (in the "please Jesus end her suffering" way) - I thought it would be easier. Not harder.

It feels impossible.

We aren't having a service. Mom was always so incredibly anti-funeral, I don't know how we could have one and still be considered to be honoring her memory. And the truth is, right now, I have no desire to play hostess to anyone else's grief. Even going through the well-meaning comments on the Facebook notice has been more than I can handle. I'm glad others know how wonderful my mother was. Except that I don't really care about their loss, because it can't hold a candle to mine, or my kids' losses. And I find I don't have the patience to want to sit in the parlor with all the Mr. Collinses of the world who want to come and condone when, while mama was alive, they couldn't be bothered to treat her or our family with kindness and respect.

I'm sure there are those who did. Who loved her. And I'm sure I'm being unfairly selfish in my grief. But I don't care. And I feel it's reprehensible that we have a cultural norm that says the bereaved need to provide a big room for others to try and share our grief.

I know who's truly grieving with us. We know who really loved mom. And they're not the ones pushing us to have a funeral that she didn't want.


Rainy Days and Mondays

E Feels like we've had an excessive number of both of those of late. Especially given that some days are Mondays even if they're not listed as such on the calendar.

The Bible study went well enough. The woman I was worried about attending was not there. There is one woman who I dislike who's attending, but maybe I can learn more about her and grow from it. We shall see.

Eldest and I have been enjoying the latest season of The Great British Baking Show on Netflix. We were inspired by the Italian week episode and thus currently have sfogliatelle dough and filling chilling in the fridge. I'm hopeful that they'll turn out yummy. If nothing else, we had a lot of fun running the dough through the pasta machine.

Mom has taken yet another turn for the worse. They're delivering a hospital bed tomorrow and while I believe at this point she still plans to try to get up and use the bathroom, I don't think that will last long. She has so much trouble getting in and out of bed and her chair and off the toilet that it really is a case of diminishing returns. I've simply started praying that Jesus takes her home before she has to suffer much more than she already is. Morphine isn't really keeping ahead of the pain and the whole situation simply sucks.

Tomorrow we're planning a family horseback ride. Youngest is desperate to ride a horse, so this is my way of hoping to discern if lessons are something we need to try and afford. (Because golly, cha-ching.) I'm personally terrified of the animals but am going to do my darndest to put on a brave face and have fun.


Because I am a glutton for punishment

This evening, they're starting a new women's Bible study at church. Eldest has decided he'd like to begin attending the Wednesday night activities for his age group. Lots of his friends go, so why not? Even living relatively close to church, it doesn't make a ton of sense to drive home after dropping him off. So I'll be attempting the Bible study.

I'll admit to a serious case of trepidation. First, because I don't know if the woman who despises me is going to be there. She brings her kids to Wednesday night as well. My plan is to simply turn around and leave if I spy her in the classroom.

Second? We all know I'm a blight on humanity who ought not be allowed to live. Or so I'm absolutely led to believe by said woman who hates me (who I used to think was a friend, more fool me.) And really, it isn't as if she and her husband are the first to make this classification. Honestly, if I'd been paying more attention for roughly my whole life, I probably would have pieced it together sooner. But alas.

Still, it would be nice to have the level of relationship with a real life person or two that I could pretend was friendship, even though again, we all know if there's an issue it will be 100% my fault. Because that "takes two to tango" thing doesn't apply if I'm one of the involved parties. (See also empathy and attempts to see another point of view.) So I'm not actually expecting friendship, I've accepted that I'm not capable of this.

But I do like the book of Ephesians. So really, a chance to study it is always worthwhile, even if it means dipping a toe back into the pirahana-filled  pool of "friendship."