I know one day, I'll look back on these times, this year, this season, with fondness and longing. I'll yearn to hold them in my arms at ages 12, 9 and 5 for just a moment longer. I'll wonder how I ever hoped to speed through these times. My older self will want to slap my current aged face and shout "Pay Attention! This? This daily life of yours? The driving to lessons and practicing multiplication tables and speculating about tedium? This is what matters!! This is what will shape their hearts and lives and personalities. FOCUS, Tracey."
And still I find myself issuing commands instead of repeating nicely. I find myself at the end of my rope with especially one child. The one who loves and plays so exuberantly is equally outrageous in their ability to infuriate me with a disrespectful attitude and responses...
But I am the adult.
Driving home from the zoo yesterday, my knuckles were absolutely white. I continued to bark at them to "Be quiet! Be QUIET!"
"We're just playing! Why does it make you so mad?!?"
One day I'll miss this. One day I'll miss this.
The volume increases. The screaming, laughter, arguments, and, finally, object thrown through the van in gridlock traffic.
I snap like unbaked pasta, scattering my jagged pieces across the family.
"Can't you see me?!? Can't you see how distracting you are?!? Can't you understand that I am AT MY END OF PATIENCE?!?"
A shuffle. A giggle. A build-up of noise and, once again, their voices encapsulate me without any escape in sight. No concern for their mother who is attempting to navigate them safely home.
Breathe and relax, Tracey. BREATHE.
Is this how I want them to remember me? The shrieking banshee? The impatient one? Would they ever raise their hands to the camera and shout "I'm here because of my Mom! I love you, Mom!" ? Will they blame me?
Late that night, I wake up to find that I cannot move. What started out as just Pat and I has morphed into a family bed of midnight stragglers. I am literally bound in my place in my bed between the same ones who declare that I am mean and unfair; arms and legs and hands confine me and forgive me.
Why, in this setting, is it so simple to love each other? Why can't I retain the patience during the daylight? Why do they seek me out in the nighttime when I fail so miserably during the day?
Every day, I promise to have more patience. To explain, without yelling, what needs to be accomplished. Every day, I swear to myself that this day WILL BE BETTER. We will communicate and understand each other. The family will reach the nightfall withOUT punishments, threats or tears.
So far, today? I'm not doing so great. But this moment of silence and reflection causes me to want to try again. I can't give up on this. There's no limit to the number of attempts we'll make.
Because my Family? It's all that matters.
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