Friday, January 4, 2008

Call me Bob!

I'm inviting everyone who knows me, or even those who don't, to call me Bob from now on. That wouldn't seem so odd, except that I'm not a guy, and my name isn't Robert. It's Mary. So why Bob? That's easy. You see, I've had to spend the last several weeks explaining to virtually everyone I've come into contact with that I am unusually discomBOBulated. Or addled, so maybe I could just as easily change my name to Addy, but I digress. In this, our fifth year of homeschooling, I'm finding myself in the midst of a very challenging time in my life. Not bad, just challenging. With a 9th grader, a 4th grader and a toddler in the family, it's felt as if I'm looking at life through a three-lensed pair of binoculars. Or should I say, trinoculars? Anyway, it's definitely been an adventure. After a couple of quarters with our teenager attending two classes at the high school, we have brought him back home on a full-time basis after watching our family schedule careen like a burned-out Yugo into a time-management abyss. Our ten-year-old has yet to come out of a rather lengthy 'phase' (at least I'm praying it's a phase) of responding to every parental command and request with something spoken in the accent of Mr. Toad of the 'Wind in the Willows'. And for the past three nights I've gone sleepless, between a flare-up of my frequent migraines and our baby's bout with a particularly nasty stomach bug. On top of this, I'm hip-deep in a wonderful but time-and-labor intensive online organic bath and body business and international Gospel ministry that requires more than a few late nights of internet correspondence and website work. And you know what? I'm thankful for all of it! But I have not exactly been the picture of the organized and efficient superwoman. That's okay, as long as I remember I'm neither obligated, nor by any sane standard allowed, to be that superwoman. I mean really, what business do I have pretending to have it all together when one child is in braces and getting his driver's permit, one is not sure from one day to the next whether he wants to be a stand-up comedian or an international spy, and one is just learning the difference between his high chair and a potty?! Just the thought of pulling off the perfection sham is enough to send me straight to a fainting couch with a case of the vapors. So, aside from consuming extra multi-vitamins and learning to operate on the sleeping schedule of a barn owl, what's a gal with a zillion things to do, to do? It's simple. She takes a deep breath, looks to God for the grace to both prioritize and have a bit of a giggle at herself, and pares down the must-do list. It's not all that 'must', when you take a minute to really think about it. I cringe when I watch the world, including people I love, run around like gerbils on Prozac pursuing some revved-up version of the American dream, while all that is precious and sacred is frittered away on endless acitivities, work and the building of bigger barns. I can't, thankfully, operate on that kind of adrenaline and the thought of even trying to just grieves me. More than that, for my family's and my own sake I flatly refuse to buy into it. There are too many roses to smell, including the three little boys that God in His grace chose to bless my husband and I with, and I want nothing more than to enjoy strolling among them and watching them bloom in His sweet, perfect time. We're just coming off of a couple of weeks time-out for the holidays, and are looking to the coming quarter as another of the Lord's signature new beginnings. I'm so very grateful for those, and they are His specialty. Last quarter feels a bit more like a distant memory all the time, and the newness of our coming studies and projects is exciting and fresh to everyone in the household. Our two big boys are already studying with zeal to reenact for us Shakespeare's Henry V. I'll be making costumes, red for the British characters, blue for the French, and brown for the bishops. Dad will help them make wooden swords that will lend credence to the most dramatic of war scenes, but thankfully won't actually disembowel anyone. Henry and Charles VI will have glorious golden crowns, courtesy of the neighborhood Burger King. (Oh come on, you must admit that's a brilliant touch!) Our oldest is looking forward to taking on much of his younger brother's history teaching, and in turn that younger brother will be teaching his elder sibling how to draw. I'll welcome the help from both of them, but will no doubt be supervising to make sure no one gets overwhelmed by too much Magna Carta or becomes overly frustrated by the challenges of working with those messy smudgers and charcoal pencils. And best of all, the toddler will always get an A+ and rousing, Elizabethan-style cheers for being so fantastic on the potty! It's not glamorous, but it's my life. And thank you, Lord, for reminding me to slow down and savor it all. It is sweet.