That's what I wanted to talk about when I started thinking about this blog (and thanks to Diana I felt that I could do it.). It's my goal, and in my head I was all, "I can DO this. I can show real days in the life of a homeschooling family."
Then Friday happened and in my head I was all, "CRAP. Well played, God, well played." No sooner than I decide to do this, than a day completely and utterly implodes. Implodes like WHOA.
But, with honesty in mind . . .
There isn't any other word I can use to describe it. Stink? No. Difficult? No. It plain and simple just sucked. It was our worse day to date. I pray that we never have another day like it. I pray that I bail sooner than I did, that I take myself out of the equation so.much.sooner. than I did.
The kids wake up fighting - as in in the bathroom, half dressed and snarling at each other, "That's my toothbrush. My toothpaste is aaaalllll goooooneeeeee. You used it all! You did that on purpose!"
At breakfast Sarah wants the Oatmeal Squares and politely (for real) asks Violet for them. Violet is reading the box of Squares, but pauses long enough to cut her eyes toward Sarah, then look back at the box. Sarah asks again, Violet ignores her. Sarah begins yelling, crying and jumping around like a fool. Violet looks at her and says, "WHAT do you want?" John starts asking for more milk. Now Sarah wants orange juice and Violet wants more water for oatmeal. And nobody is helping anybody. So I yell at them to help each other out. To be a team, for the love of all that is holy, be.a.team.
Milk spills. Cereal is all over the counter. The kitchen is supposed to be cleaned up before we leave it for the school room - and it's left a disaster. The milk is sitting on the counter, a pool of milk next to it. The dishwasher is half open and some of the clean dishes are on the counter. There are cereal crumbs all over the floor. The TV in the back is on -- and we don't watch TV before school. Buck hasn't been fed. Cupboard doors are randomly open.
In short, every single expectation we have of how our morning starts is shot. I'm so mad. I'm slamming the doors. Dropping wash clothes on the spills and demanding to know who spilled what and why in the world are they not cleaning it up? Saying things like, "Do you know what your job is? DO YOU? Look at your Chore Pack! We have them for a reason! I spent good money on them! Use.Them. Clean up! Now!" This was all very helpful and motivating to them, obviously.
I drink my coffee, go to the school room and get ready. Pull out paper so we can finish our thank you letters. "Things are going to be fine, " I tell myself. "We've had rough mornings before and it can all come back together."
The kids come in the room and I start them on the final copies of their letters. They are all working quite well. I sit down at the computer and click open our article for history and geography.
John is standing next to me at the computer and I'm making some corrections on his letter.
Sarah finishes her letter and needs me to read it one last time. She asks me from across the room. But I'm with John, and we have been working so very hard on the interrupting deal. It's a terrible habit that we've gotten into. So I turn my head and ignore her.
Violet looks up and says, "Sarah, I can help you." Sarah sneers at her and stands up.
Violet says she can help again. Sarah sneers again.
Sarah starts walking toward me, I'm still with John and trying ignore the entire situation. Sarah needs to learn to not interrupt, she also needs to learn that Violet can help her. And the two of them need to learn how to work things out.
Then Violet starts pounding on the table. Pounding. Saying, "I.Can.Help.You!"
I turn and look at Sarah, raise my eyebrows at her. Violet is still pounding. John is still asking how to spell something. Sarah starts to cry because she knows I'm DONE. And a lot of what I'm seeing, hearing, is all things I've taught them. Yell. Glare. Make noise to get your point across, to get someones attention.
And I come unglued.
I yell at Violet to stop pounding. I yell at John to stop asking, can't he hear the shouting? I yell at Sarah to stop being so nasty to Violet. I yell for everyone to just STOP. Can't you all just stop? Can't you just look at the other people and see that there is a problem? I yell at Sarah to get upstairs. For Violet to finish her letter. For John to go play with his Lego's.
I yell at myself. Out loud. "What is wrong with you? Is this why you want to be with your children? To yell at them? This isn't good! What is wrong with you??"
I put my head down on the desk and shake. I think I pray.
I text my husband and tell him how terrible things are. And ask him to bring me wine. I've never sent him a text like this before. So I send him a second text reassuring him that we'll be OK. I think I'm telling the truth.
I take some really deep breaths, wipe my tears and go upstairs, knock on Sarah's door. She is sitting on her bed, happily playing with her Barbie's. She looks at me and it's all forgotten. She's not mad, not frightened of me. For her, it's all done. But not for me. So I look her in the eyes and I tell her, "Sarah, I am so very sorry. It is not OK for me to yell at you like that, or scare you that way. Yes, you should have been being kind to your sister, but that still doesn't make it right that I yelled at you the way I did. I'm sorry. Will you please forgive me?" There is a scant heartbeat, then she wraps her arms around me and says, "Yes, Mommy, I forgive you. I do."
Thank you, Jesus.
The day improved, yes. But we were done school at that point. I let the kids play together all day - Lego's, American Girl, scooters and drawing. I cleaned and organized, talked with a friend on the phone. I tried to let it all go, but oh, with such an epic fail, it is so hard.
I know we start every day new. That God gives us grace. I know that we, as mother's, need to give up the notion of being perfect, give our imperfections over to God and know that He forgives us for them every moment of every day. I know all this. What I don't know is how to forgive myself.