Thursday, August 28, 2014

what i learned the first day of school

Yesterday was my final staff meeting.

Today was my first official day of homeschooling.
It's a strange season blowing in over here.  I'm caught somewhere between identity crisis and identity clarity.

I've had so many words swirling around.  Some have been scribbled on scraps of paper.  Others have gone into the 'book' file on my laptop.  Fewer have made it to my tiny piece of cyberspace.
You probably noticed that.
It's been weeks since I last posted.

When seasons change drastically it's hard to feel confident in the words you attach to each day...each experience...each feeling - good or bad.

The road I'm walking these days feels like freedom
like obedience
like dancing
like clear, deep breaths

but it also feels unfamiliar
and I never trust myself to interpret the unfamiliar well...
so I've been paralyzed by fear.

I've wanted to put together the perfect words to frame what is going on in my life right now but they never look quite right when I hang them in place.

Lately I have shared words in quiet conversations in the corners of loud rooms that feel Earth-shattering and yet I can't bring myself to confine them with keys and cursor.

I want you to know...oh how I want you to is changing for me.  There is a seismic shift taking place in my spirit.
Has that ever happened to you?
Have you ever felt like you'd been living with an extra set of eyelids and all that time that you thought your eyes were open they really weren't because that second set of lids was still down.  Suddenly what you thought was sight really wasn't and now you can see...I mean really see something that you had been blind to for years and years.  It's a lot to take in...seeing with your new set of eyes.  It's beautiful...but it's a lot.

Today we began our first day of school at the kitchen table with handwriting practice and stories from the Hundred Acre Wood.  We took a walk and captured our experience in our sketchbooks.  We used apples to learn math and had tickle wars when we needed a break.  We did a little 'team cleaning' in the kitchen while dancing and singing to Pandora.  We cuddled on the couch to practice letter sounds and fought the grueling battle of sounding out words in a couple of 'easy' readers.  And we went to the library...

I love the library...except for one thing.
The kids always want to get on those library computers.
It can drive me crazy, honestly.
First of all, it's not a Mac so I can't just go into auto-pilot mode to use the stinkin' thing.  I have to
figure. it. out.
Then we go through the same routine of me reading off the list of 'games' they have, knowing all the while that whichever one they choose will either {a} not load properly or {b} be really lame and only keep their attention for 60 seconds.  The entire time I think to myself - we have a laptop and two iPads at home that have way better stuff that is way easier to use...why are we wasting our time and my sanity on this junk?!  And don't even get me started on those headphones they have...

I swore I would never let them get on those computers again.  Who has time for that??  But today I did.  I had time...and I let them.

Oliver sat down first.
His 4-year-old fingers started punching randomly on the keyboard as if magically some really cool game would just pop up.  After the third error message he asked for help.
I was prepared to slide him to the side and sit myself down to quickly type in the bazillion digit library card number that is needed to gain access to the worst computer on the planet {'s really not that bad...but sorta}.

Then I had an idea...
I could let him type it in.
It's educational read the numbers and let him find them on the keyboard and type them himself.  So I squatted down next to him, smiled and said - okay buddy I am going to read you the special numbers you need to make this work.  He looked both surprised and thrilled.
I began reading.
It took FOR-ever.
And I loved every slow ticking second of it.
As I watched his tiny finger move carefully across each numbered key until he found the right one over and over and over and over again...
I realized something.
This is what it feels like to be present, not pressured.
This is what it feels like to be unrushed, not undone.
This is what it feels like to be delighted, not distracted.
This is what it feels like to only be answering the one question that is right in front of me instead of getting lost in the dozens that sit heavy like bricks in my mind.
This is what it feels like when you slow down enough to let time catch up to you so that you can actually make minutes matter.
This is what it feels like to stop dipping my toes in one role after another and start diving into the deepest waters of my life.
This is what it feels like to be guided by patience and slowness instead of frustration and hurry.

This first day of homeschooling gave me the gift that I selfishly had hoped this year would offer.

It has slowed my spinning wheels to a stop.
It has convinced my running feet to walk.
And amazingly, here I sit at the end of a day in which
I moved slower, but gained more ground
I attempted less, but accomplished more.

I will be honest...I am completely wiped the best sort of way.

Yes, a new season is blowing in...
...and the winds of change are welcome here.
From a foreign land they come, and carry me to a place that feels an awful lot like home.