Wednesday, August 13, 2014

As the Summer Sun Sets

It wasn't supposed to go this quickly.  The summer days were cut short due to a winter blanketing of snow like we have never seen.  My Pinterest board for "summer fun activities" hasn't even been touched.  Can I get a redo?

My kids aren't perfect and I am not perfect but we do enjoy each other.  I'd love to take one more dip in the pool and make another ice cream run (or three.)  The word "homeschool" always tempts me to the core simply because I hate telling them goodbye for 7 plus hours a day.  But, alas, God and my tell-you-like-it-is husband both agree that I am not the best teacher for each of those three. And my heart is content with that. Instead, I'll read to my book obsessed one year old and change his diaper 48 times a day.  I'll find joy in the small things until the four o' clock hour rolls around and all hell breaks lose.  (Could any more homework doing, guitar plucking, paper signing, phone call returning, and meal making take place during that bewitching hour? My mother in law was right in calling it the valley of the shadow...)

I have to pinch myself when I think about the grades the bigs are entering.  I know I am sounding like my Dad here, but wasn't it just like yesterday that I was in the 8th, 6th, and 3rd grades?  Funny how the hour hand flies by on the clock of time as our souls never age a single day.

I've thought a little about my experiences with those grades.  Joy and suffering always make the best dance partners, right?

Third grade.  I had the biggest crush on a sixth grader who never once glanced my way.  What can I say, I have always liked older men.  (wink wink) What I remember more than anything about this year was my teacher.  She didn't have children and so teaching was her whole life.  She wrote us encouraging notes and took us on extra field trips to love on those in need.  One day, she left the classroom to ask another teacher the absolute best way to write the letter "W" in cursive.  We both had German Shepherds for pets which must have linked our hearts together because when she tragically died in a house fire seven years later, I cried myself to sleep.

If I could tell my third grader anything, I would tell him listen to his teacher with his whole being.  The things she will have to share will go beyond things that can be read in a textbook.  There is wisdom found in writing encouraging notes to others, visiting those who need a little love, and asking questions when you aren't sure of the answer.

Sixth grade. This year is still a little fuzzy to me.  Maybe it is because I was still in shock from my so called friend, Anne, popping my bra in front of everyone the previous year.  I managed to pull myself back together enough to plan my project on the country of Poland.  It was world history presentation time and I rocked front of the whole entire sixth grade.  I decided to be an overachiever and get the attention of the teachers in charge of you know, grading.  I threw out the term polska kielbasa as if Polish were my second language.  They did a double take and my insides exploded with glee. Take that, bra poppers of the world.

If I could tell my sixth grader anything, I would tell him to be grateful that he is a boy.  (ha!) In seriousness, since sixth grade can be a hard transition year on girls and boys alike, I would want him to exercise his gift of mercy in a special way and choose to really see those in need of a little extra help or love.  I would tell him to defend those that are being picked on.  I would encourage him to go the extra mile when completing homework and projects. After all, you just never know where a little polska kielbasa will take you.

Eighth grade.  Enter the word challenging.  It seemed that God used this year to bring separation.  It was the year that all my friends either made the basketball team, the cheerleading squad, or the dance team.  It seemed that all my friends were part of the same youth group as well. I didn't know it at the time, but God was telling me that it was good for me to be who I was.  My talents didn't look like those of my friends, and that was ok. God put me on a path that was right for me which included singing and showing cattle.  It would be a path that would give me a close relationship with my father and eventually give me a college scholarship. 

If I could tell my eighth grader anything, I would tell him that God can use separation for His glory and purposes.  Sometimes not making the desired athletic team can be a good thing, whether for protection or for opening up a path meant for future talents. Sometimes being stripped of favorite friendships can open up spaces for new friendships.  And most importantly, the most precious relationships at this age are with your parents and siblings.

As the summer sun sets, I pray favor over each one of these learn things that go beyond the textbook, to defend the weak, and to embrace any change that the Lord brings.  Here's to all the alarm clocks of the world.  Coffee lovers unite!



Catherine said...

your writing is so beautiful! Crazy how fast these Summers fly by....

Anonymous said...

what a gift of "written word" you have. I have gotten behind reading your blog entries. So this morning your words have made me cry, laugh(out loud--at work!) and remember days gone by. I am so blessed to have you for my daughter-friend-and sister is Christ. I love you...eternity and beyond! Mom