Tuesday, June 06, 2006

"Mommies Don't Walk By Theirself"

Chicklet 3 said that to me as we were stepping out across the parking lot at the forest preserve on Saturday. We were hanging out with another family with six kids, and my older kids had run on ahead to start wading in the river with their friends. I had Bitty Bantam in one arm, and as I took Chicklet's hand, she said this precious thing to me. I think she meant it in the same way that I will sometimes say to her, "Little girls need to hold Mommy's hand" or "Little girls don't go outside by themselves." But tears sprang to my eyes at the dual meaning her sentence conveyed to my heart.

The constant presence of children in my life is both a joy and a trial. The two littlest ones that I was physically contacting at that moment are continual sources of delight to my soul. Their physical beauty, their ready laughter and giggles, their innocent sweetness are almost painful to hold in my heart, especially with the knowledge of how quickly they grow up. Not that they grow into something less desirable, either, but the coming stages will last a little longer than this oh-so-fleeting one.

At the same time, I get to a point where I'm desperate for some "alone" time. I posted here about how renewing it is for me to leave my home/work and get alone with God and my laptop. I had been on a regular schedule of Friday nights and Saturday mornings while my older kids were at musical rehearsals, but when dress rehearsals and performances began, I had to be there every time to do makeup (--fun and rewarding, but quite the opposite of alone time!). Since it ended, we've been pushing to wrap up our homeschool year by the time Bantam 15 finishes up at the public school--tomorrow, in fact--and when not homeschooling, I've been catching up on numerous tasks that got back-burnered during Tom Sawyer. Some of these were solitary activities, like planting seeds and annuals (which I normally would urge kids to do with me), but that's not as valuable to me as time spent journalling or writing, which somehow helps me connect my head and my heart. I have actually sensed my anxiety level rising as it's been a long time since I've "checked-in" with myself in writing.

So here I am at Panera this morning, and how good it feels to put these few sentences together! Bitty Bantam is napping, Bantam 7 will be occupying Chicklet 3, and Blondechick 13 and Bantam 11 are, in theory, doing schoolwork.

Since we took lots of electives this year, like voice, dance, public speaking and acting--in a word, theater--not to mention piano lessons, youth Bible study and debate team (which kinda fizzled out when Blondechick 13 realized that tournaments were always going to conflict with musical rehearsals), we got behind in the packaged curriculum (Calvert) we've been using. And I paid for it, doggone it--so we've been flying through the last 30 lessons or so, hitting the points I deem most important and cutting the rest. It's been much more time-intensive for me the last few weeks, though, helping them get through it all quickly, scanning the lessons for what we'll do and what we'll cut, and deciding what we'll make up this summer.

Like the family at A Circle of Quiet, we'll be meeting regularly with math, "the cranky relative" (I love it!), all summer, and we'll also be continuing with composition. Blondechick 13 has a research paper on Marie Antoinette to write, and she also has plans for many blog entries--she just hasn't had time since we started it. Bantam 11 is going to master his multiplication tables and keyboarding this summer, to make composition easier and more enjoyable for him. We'll see if Bantam 7 might not be able to get the hang too.

We also do lots of PE in the summers--we've used our pool passes already. Bantam 7 has baseball, the 4 oldest will "train for" and run at least one 5K with Dad, and we usually hike when we go camping. Of course, we read all summer long too. We'll probably even finish reading aloud The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (the book, not the musical) before our camping/field trip to Hannibal, MO!

Notes to self: Buy running shoes for kids who need them; sign up for library's summer reading program; register for 5K next weekend?; nail down camping dates!

I just called home and found Blondechick 13 engrossed in The Diary of Anne Frank--check--and Bantam 11 had just finished reading aloud to Bantam 7 the last 3 chapters of A Child's History of a World--check, check, check! Thank you, Lord, for this time alone. Go with me now back into the complexities of being in constant relationship with seven other family members. Help me be most constant in my interior relationship with you--may it inform my exterior ones.

May your quiet Spirit nurture mine amidst the noise.

Thank you that "mommies don't walk by theirself." ("He gently leads those that have young...")

He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.
Isaiah 40:11


maria said...

I thought your silence may have been due to some frantic catch-up post Tom & end-of-school-year. What a sweet thing for C3 to say! I am enjoying the Twin Tornado more and more ... I'm so glad I've had this chance to get a little taste of it. :) Sorry we won't be coming through Chicago this go round, though. I don't think I'd recognize B-11 if I saw him on the street!!

Islandsparrow said...

What a beautiful post - thank you for reminding us that we do not walk alone.

Jennifer said...

I don’t know if you remember this, but a couple years ago you wrote me an email about the importance of writing these kind of things out before the Lord. That was such timely encouragement as I was just learning to do so. It was fun to read this post today because I was just recounting to some friends yesterday how writing things out in a journal like that has really allowed me to learn to listen to my heart, and listen to the Lord, and that has shaped me so much.