At the end of the day

A few days ago, an acquaintance of mine had “found out” I was homeschooling, and in her shock, she said, “Well that’s crazy.  It’s just CRAZY.”  I smiled it off as I always do, knowing as I do that yes, it’s crazy, wonderfully, wonderfully crazy to love every minute of being with my children all day.  Visions of the grand things I dream of teaching them and doing for their lives flashed through my mind.  I smiled a polite, yet self-confident smile.

Today, though, her words sting my ears.  You see, today IS crazy.  No matter what I clean, the kids are one step behind me (no wait, they’re flanking me on every side!!) turning everything into an absolute disaster.  One of them woke up literally screaming because she doesn’t feel well.  Her cries from the bathroom have pierced every moment of the day.  Cereal was everywhere.  A potty-training 2-year old wets everywhere just because she can today.  The dishes are mounting and the laundry is multiplying like rabbits.  And in between reading lessons and spelling time, constant (and I do mean constant) cries from the bathroom remind me to keep running back to my other child, trying to be patient and reassuring.  In the meantime, I am trying to plan a large charity event in the fall that is taking an enormous amount of my time and thought (which I love), and trying to start a new venture in our lives at the same time (I’ll tell you more about that at another time).  But the new venture is incredibly time consuming, energy-draining, and demanding.  I start piano lessons with the girls, and as I lead a lesson with doughy fingers (you see, I’m kneading pizza dough as we proceed), I mentally calculate all that is left to do as I finish preparing a dinner for 35 people by 5 pm.  I think of the girls later sitting in a car for two hours with their daddy while I leave them to go to try to comfort and help women who are hurting.  Meanwhile, I am trying to convince another child to make a decision that she has to make.  Oh, how I would love to force her.  But I can’t.  The wait time is agonizing on all of us, and is affecting us all negatively today.

I stop for one second and looked at the chaos around me.  I had since stuck “sick” child in the bath and she keeps getting out and running wet around the house.  Helpful sisters dumped practically the entire toy box into the bath.  Other children had transformed the school room into a type of camping ground with sheets and upended desks.  I pass a mirror and see my wild hair and greasy face and wonder when the last time I had a shower was.  And the baby wakes up…

I could go on.  But really, I think you get the picture.  Are you crying yet?  I am.  :)

As I paused, I wondered what in the world I am doing.  What in the world I am teaching them.  What they will have learned by the end of the day.  I silently said what must have been the 50th prayer of the day.

And then, suddenly, a breakthrough.  The child I was waiting on made a good choice.  All by herself.  Without me forcing her.  And we celebrated.  We danced and laughed in our messy house and cheered for a sister who did a good thing.  We even broke out the otter pops.

As I ponder the rest of the day ahead of us, and the craziness it will probably (who I am kidding? I mean definitely) hold, and as the two-year-old drips colored sticky juice all over the floor, I think again about what they will have learned by the end of the day.

At the end of the day, I hope they learned to be strong women who make their own choices.  I hope they learned that I do care, so much, about how they feel.  I hope they learned to share what they have, no matter how little it is.  I hope they learned to celebrate the little moments.  I hope they learned to pray.  I hope they learned that prayers are answered.  I hope they learned to put their arms around someone who is hurting.  I hope they learned to care about others and be compassionate.  I hope they learned to try to help each other, and to use their imaginations.  I hope they learned that life can be messy, and it’s okay.  I hope they learned to live.

I am crazy?  Yep.  But I wouldn’t have it any other way.  :)

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