Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Sweet Dreamers and Happy Hopes
Yesterday, I spent half my afternoon studying dog sled racing with my son. Watching footage, listening to interviews with mushers, looking at maps. dreaming about taking a winter vacation to Duluth, to see the Bear Grease race take off someday. I would love to do that with him. Truly. He's mildly obsessed. It's true, his sister has said to me more than once, "Mom, when I'm just sitting there doing nothing, do I have this look about me that says I was just wondering about every known fact concerning Alaskan Huskies and the Iditarod?"
Sometimes, all the busyness and responsibilities of being a mom fade away, and I am able to catch a glimpse of how lucky I really am to be a mom of many children. How through the fresh, innocent eyes of my kids I see life differently. I see how the here and now, this place, life's current circumstances, could never hold back the excited hope and sweet dreams of youth.
Three of my kids are over five feet tall now! Our oldest is going on a road trip half way across the country without us! But, this time of parenting is sweet, too. It feels like in many ways, the harvest is beginning to ripen, like what we began to sow years ago is bringing forth fruit. And my heart rejoices, not only rejoices but is also rejuvenated, to keep going. There are lots of days when finally at about four o'clock, I sink into a chair with a cup of coffee, put my feet up for a few minutes before it's time to start dinner, and I think, this is exhausting! And I worry that I'm not doing enough and I wonder, is this really worth it? Will their wings be strong enough when it comes time to fly? Will I be able to smile (through the tears) and say, "Go! Go, little fledging, soar! Be all that you can be in the life that God has given to you!" I pray that God will give Blue eyes and me wisdom, that we would never cripple or weaken their wings, or try to hold them back for selfish reasons. It makes my heart ache with a desire to be even kinder, more gentle, cherish even more the early years that I still have with my little girls.
A while ago, my son was washing the dishes with me and telling me all about a book he was reading, about Alaska, of course. The gold rush this time though, so something new;). He was telling me about a conversation between two of the characters, and he says, "You know why he said that, mom? Do you know what he was referring to?" I didn't. So he tells me it was in reference to a Greek myth. He summarizes the Greek myth so I understand. Ah, so how does he know all that? I ask. From a book of Greek myths that he's read several times over the years.
Now, that may seem like an insignificant conversation to you, but to me, a homeschooling mom, who is so often full of doubts and worry over my abilities, my heart leaped with joy! Before this boy was school age, I became interested in Charlotte Mason's ideas about education. I think of it as an "organic, whole child education". It is gentle and easy, it engages not only the intellect, but the heart and soul. It is why I have a quote up in my school room that says, "I have learned that the head does not hear anything until the heart has listened, and what the heart knows today the head will understand tomorrow." (James Stephen). I have learned the truth of this quote, and I love it! It's my philosophy of education in a nut shell. But the thing is, you go forward in hope. You trust that the head will understand on some fair tomorrow.
You trust that, even though you cannot see it now, someday all those pieces will come together, forming a well educated mind. Charlotte Mason has written, "There is no true education but self education."
When I told Blue eyes about this literary connection our eleven year old son had made, he right away gave credit to another Charlotte Mason idea that I adopted several years ago. That is, limiting what she refers to as "twaddle" or brain candy, meaning books that are not well written and are not intellectually or spiritually stimulating. But rather, exposing your child to well written "whole books". When that is what they are fed, that is what their minds desire. In this way, you are actually making your child a student of some of the brightest minds in history. I must say that when we visit the public library, I see lots of twaddle. But there are many literary gems, as well, through which my children have learned about history and humanity and the vast world around them.
And so, as as I sat around the table yesterday, drinking tea and chatting with my older half, enjoying our relaxed winter break, refreshing my soul and spirit, I thought about how I can see things coming full circle now. My girls are the sweet dreamers, making lists of the hopes they have for their some day husbands. When they were younger, they used to tell me they wanted to marry someone just like their daddy. Now their ideas are a little more original, but when they share them with me, I still see Blue eyes in the frame work. They both want to marry someone with blue eyes, who sings nice and loves babies. Oh, and they don't want to marry anyone with soft hands. They like men with hard working hands.
Since this came up in the conversation, I asked the boys if they had any hopes for their future wives. They both said first of all she has to be a Christian, but secondly she must be tough. Moses said she needs to be able to butcher a hen by herself so she can cook chicken for supper, and she has to be able to stitch up her own kids, in case they get cut and he's not home. But she can't be stronger than him. He wants to watch her butcher a chicken, just to make sure, and he'll arm wrestle her to make sure she's not stronger than him. I wonder what he's imagining? Ladies lined up to audition for the wife of the last Alaskan frontiersman?
Isaac said the only person he could imagine marrying, is someone like Marlene Foreman, because she knows how to butcher a chicken, shoot a gun and she still climbs trees. (For those of you who know her, you know she's the perfect mix of feminine gracefulness and tough;).
Loving being a mom! Where else would I have these good conversations? And whatever God gives them in life, whether it's singleness, or a spouse like they imagined or one that is completely opposite, I hope they cherish and embrace the days they have upon this earth, with kindness and integrity bringing glory to the God that has created them.
"Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?
Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.
Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace and pursue it.
The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.
The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
The righteous cry, and the lord heareth, and delivereth them from all their trouble.
The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the Lord delivereth him out of them all."
Psalm 34: 11-19