For mother's day, I've composed a list of small things I'm thankful to have been given by my mother.
Because little things matter more than you think…
* An appreciation for old things. A love and preference for classic and vintage that was instilled in me long before it became the popular trend.
*A love for all things Laura Ingalls Wilder. Introducing me to a lifelong friend.
*Continuing in the line of old things: classic television. Afternoons of my childhood filled with I Love Lucy and The Andy Griffith Show, and the way such simple and wholesome shows are now a comforting place to find that feeling of "home".
*A reverence for "southern" culture. The best parts of it anyway, like the food.
*Speaking of food…. a taste for good food. When your heritage is Mexican on one side and Texas on the other, the food can only be amazing.
*Back to the old again: a fascination with eras past. Particularly Pioneer and Victorian times. Perhaps a bit of a romantic view, but it has led my to all of my most treasured literary acquaintances.
*Speaking of literature… a love of books. My mom is not the gluttonous reader that I am, and never has been. But she always kept me well stocked with books. And though she didn't read as many as I did, she always managed to impart the deep conviction that books are a grand treasure.
*A penchant for "homesteading". Again, far ahead of the trend it has become today, I spent my childhood watching my mom sew, can and garden like it was just normal life. Because for us it was.
*Most likely birthed out of that homesteading bent, a love for anything homemade. A higher sense of value assigned to anything produced by someone's two hands. Probably the reason I love all the cards that come from my girls more than anything that could come from the store.
*A high regard for friendships with other women. Something I always saw her make time for, and am confident has played a part in my passion for such relationships.
*Adoration for her husband. What better thing could a woman model for her daughter?
*An experience that made homeschooling feel like a perfectly normal thing to do. Something that has obviously had a huge influence on my own mothering choices.
*A determination (perhaps stuborness?) to not be told by others how she should parent her children. An attitude that has ingrained in me a desire to be the mother I am, not the mother others might tell me I should be.
*A fondness for all things "little girl". Another attitude that has carried on into my daily life of parenting.
*A preference for home. And a zeal for making home a beautiful place.
*A love for family. Though there have been times when I might say her intensity on the subject could be a bit… exuberant, her devotion to the importance of family has definitely been instilled in me. And it is absolutely an incomparable gift.
Showing Honor on Mother's Day (even when it's hard) ::: This Mother's Day may we think beyond the card aisle to outdo one another in showing honor, each of us according to the grace we have been given.
Why Mother's Day is for the Birds ::: Motherhood isn't sainthood and we're all a bunch of sinners here and don't let anyone tell you any different.
Happy Daughter's Day ::: Whatever happens this Sunday remember this: You are loved. You are forgiven. You are righteous. Not because of anything you can do, but only because of what Jesus has already done.
It is not unusual for both our girls and I to experience a serious drop in enthusiasm for "school" as we see summer approaching.
The weather gets nice. All the fun stuff around town starts happening. And after months and months of working away, we're just ready to be done.
But I am a good girl. A rule follower. Someone who really relies on some visible measure of completion to leave me satisfied.
I do not leave books unfinished.
Which is why it's more than a little crazy to admit to you what I did today.
I woke up this morning and declared today our last day of school.
I sat with our girls and flipped through the remaining few chapters of science and pointed out a handful of points of interest and said "Write me a paragraph about these."
Then I pulled out the twenty or so pages of math each girl had left, leafed through them and placed random sections in front of them and said "Show me if you can do this."
Handed them each the very last page of their math books which is a general review of the whole year, had them finish that single page and said "We're done".
And let me tell you… this good girl who disdains an unfinished book above all else… has never felt better!
Obviously we had already finished the bulk of our books for the year, and it was just these two subjects that were lingering on. I was determined to finish every single page, and we were all pushing day after day to do it.
But last night in the midst of a volcano of stress erupting all over my husband, I happened to see this:
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT:
Moms, you don't have to finish the whole curriculum. You do not need to do every.single.problem. The point is not to finish the workbook. The point is to improve–to do the "next" thing. For some of you, that "next" thing means ending now, and beginning again in the fall.
Now don't be frightened. I am being very literal when I say I never go around taking advice from Facebook. Ever.
And this post did not even say anything that I didn't already know.
But for whatever reason it made me believe what I know a little more and act on it.
It's good to finish the books. It is good to persevere and fully complete what you start. This a valuable life skill I want my girls to have.
But there are other good skills too. Like knowing when to say when.
Right now our living situation feels like it's in complete upheaval.
Right now my husband's job is presenting nothing but tension and uncertainty.
Right now I am finding that my personal threshold for stress is extremely small.
And it was time to say when.
To let go of the one area of pressure that we are actually able to let go of.
This morning as I made this decision I expected to feel discouraged by the end of the day.
But as I sit here with unfinished books closed for this school year, all I feel is relief.
For us, right now, with all we have going on in our lives it was time to be done.
Time to stop pushing and just relax a little bit. Accept the three hundred plus pages of math as enough for one year and spend our time instead on something creative, like drawing or music or crafts. All those things that are neglected all year as we work so hard at advancing academically. Time to turn our attention to things that refresh and restore.
My girls have learned year after year that it is good to be diligent and finish the books.
This year we're going a different route and they're learning instead that there is more than one way to finish well.
I think it's a good thing.
I had a conversation with my husband a while back as our girls happily gobbled up a quick dinner of box macaroni & cheese and hotdogs.
The question posed: Why do I exhaust myself with the mental effort and physical time and energy trying to prepare food that has nutritional value for our children, when they will only cry and complain as I coax them to choke down a hamster-size serving?
I was tired. (as usual) So perhaps that's what really started the conversation.
Why all that work? Why all that effort? Only to be unappreciated and battled at every meal.
(I do have to pause and say we have a wonderful eleven year old who will eat just about anything you put in front of her, so at least I've got one out of three on my side.)
I am not a health food fanatic. I do not serve brussel sprouts, liver or anything fermented. So it's not like I'm asking them to choke down something outrageous. Just a spoonful of peas or corn or anything that isn't composed purely of either grains or cheese?
Anyway, the conversation with my husband was mostly one sided.
Him politely and sympathetically listening, of course.
And I rambling on about how for less money and way less time I could have food on the table that they devour without one complaint or even the slightest hesitation.
So why do I bother?
Why all this clearly unnecessary stress on myself to convince them that a diverse and nutrient-dense diet is a good and desirable thing?
Why do I torture myself?
A few days later I discovered the answer.
And so, the veggie pushing continues.