I posted my first entry the morning I started Kindergarten at home with Julia. I was a tad scared, a little anxious and very excited. Now, Kindergarten is completed and all three emotions were validated however, highly underestimated. Being the calculated person I am, I would NEVER branch out to try something new if it weren’t for Christ. How thankful I am He shows me only one page at a time. He is forever faithful to get me to “The End” without scaring me to death with all the chapters in between. If I had read all the “in between”, I might not have been able to commit to reading the intimidating “school at home” book. Never in a gazillion years would I have thought to myself, “Yippee!!! I get to humble myself dozens of times and ask my kindergartener for forgiveness,” or “I can’t wait to see the most stubborn side of my cute daughter and in return, show mine to her! That sounds fun!” or “I am pumped about finding out that my kids can’t occupy themselves while I work on something with their sibling! Woohoo!” or “I think I will like the foggy, fried brain feeling as I drive to Walgreens on Wednesdays to fill life altering prescriptions,” or “I can handle a few more layers of dust on my furniture and not always have lemony fresh bathrooms.” or, my least favorite, “I am excited about Julia seeing all the worst sides of her mother……..more than once.” Early in the fall, a dear friend passed on some wisdom a home schooling Mom had shared with her and it was basically that doing school at home added another venue for God’s necessary work of sanctification. Ooo boy, did I find that out to be true, like the first week. But, what a sweet girl I’ve got. Somehow, she still loves me “to the moon and back”, I am still her “favorite little momma” and she can’t wait for us to start the first grade, after a nice long break, of course. Talk about grace. It’s her middle name….really.
I am grateful to be a part of a group of ladies who were proactive in planning fun activities/field trips for our kids. If it had been up to me, our year would have been a monotonous cycle of the 3 R’s and a few trips to Starbucks. Since I have such creative "on the ball" friends, we visited an apple orchard, the Fort Worth Nature Center, and River Legacy Living Science Center. Julia attended a couple of art classes at the Amon Carter Museum (one on Georgia O’Keefe and the other on sculptures in the museum district). We experienced Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham with the Fort Worth Symphony, the Butterfly exhibit at the Botanical Gardens, Charlotte’s Web at Casa Manana, Mr. Slim Goodbody at Will Rogers Coliseum, and The House at Pooh Corner, performed with the antique marionettes, at the Dallas Children’s Theatre. (By the way, since then, I have a whole new respect for A. Milne’s children’s literature.) We also did some Strawberry picking at Gnismer Farms in Arlington. Each activity was worth the interruption of my almighty schedule and I would do them all again.
This will be no surprise to any of you, but my favorite thing about the year was hanging out with Julia. Obviously, we had our less than desirable moments, but mostly, I found her to be a quick learner, a hard worker, a book lover and just downright nice. I was touched by her thoughtfulness several times whether it be bringing my water to me as we moved around the house for different activities, positioning the chair just so for me to prop my feet up while we read, encouraging me with words I didn’t deserve or showing concern for our new Starbucks friend who was sad.
The thing I felt we did best was learn how to pick out really great books and read as many of them as possible without neglecting the other 2 “R’s” entirely. Just like me, she loves a good story so reading time was always difficult to end. We had a couple of favorite spots—one, on the pillow clad window seat in the kitchen and the other, in a big comfy chair at Barnes and Nobles. Everyone’s vocabulary is influenced by the books they read and Julia is no exception. I remember a couple of years ago when I asked her where Brighton was, she looked at me with hands up in the air, “I don’t know. He just scampered off somewhere.” Peter Rabbit, I am sure. Here are a few of my favorite quotes from this year: Walking into Science Etc., “The wind is really whipping at my face today”, as I am pouring milk over Clifford Crunch, “I want you to bathe my cereal in milk”, as we were headed into Barnes and Nobles, “Let’s walk through Starbucks so we can smell the fragrant aroma of the coffee”, and while eating breakfast, “I watched the lightening pierce the sky last night from my window seat,” and just last week in the pool, “Brighton, stop constricting my straps!”
One year in, more than ever, I see my time with her much bigger than building a descriptive vocabulary, or spouting off math facts, or recognizing art or music, or reading great books. I feel He called me to this for the relationship- with Him and her- and I am seeing that is exactly what it is all about, every second, every day. There were times I lost sight of this, but He didn’t let me for long whether that was through Jeff, His Spirit, a friend or even Julia. The thing I am most thankful for is that I feel we snapped together some scattered puzzle pieces that I had no idea were not in place for our girl- some of them being critical corner pieces. Since my default mode way of living is task oriented, I have to wonder, would I have even noticed had I not said yes to this time? Every humbling moment, every stubborn side revealed, every new layer of dust, every foggy brain day--- all worth what I feel like the last nine months did for our relationship. I am in for next year with wholehearted excitement.
And Nik, can you teach a class on writing short posts?