Homeschool Life

Good Morning

feet by fireUpon waking, I sip my coffee either upstairs or downstairs, depending on which living space is less messy.  Today was a toss up.   These are my slippered feet and my PJ’s; that is my cat, and this is what my view usually does NOT look like in the morning.

Warning:  this may sound like complaining.  It’s not.  I really like the destruction.  Just ask my husband.  He’ll tell you how incredulous he finds the fact that I don’t even get mad anymore when the box-spring frame cracks under the weight of someone who MUST have been jumping on it or at my discovery of  firewood splinters all over the carpet (the least of possible evils when it comes to my dog’s chewing habits).  I’m just recording the moment.  In 10 years I may forget how the mornings went.  I won’t remember a time when things I place somewhere don’t stay there.

So I’ll start with the piano.  It’s dusty.  The floor is an ocean dotted with  Lego buoys and their large shallow boxes that remind me of  abandoned barges of perfectly recyclable trash floating along forever (a most deeply branded image on my subconscious, all I’ve retained of my public schooling).  Cups, bowls of cereal cement, an unwanted bowl of spicy black beans, a lemon half, and a frat party’s worth of cups greet me from the kitchen counter.  The cat meows that he wants his good-milk (2%, NOT skim, NOT whole– 2%).  Even the goldfish wiggles excitedly when I come close to brew my coffee.   He always seems to say the same thing.

Someone (I know who) was searching for a cough drop last night before bed, so the first aid box is on the living room dresser, and all its contents remain perched on said dresser, as if the reciprocal of taking stuff out of a container can’t possibly be to place them back in.   Inconceivable.    And this one’s mine:  Katae’s puzzle from Christmas break is still rolled up under the glass coffee table, its refugee pieces in sorted piles.  My defense is I’m leaving it until spring break, when I’m sure she’ll finish it.

Books are everywhere.

I like that kind of a mess because, really, it’s strategic.  Convenient books.  Anywhere you look you can see one… or ten.   I even take the piles apart so a roving eye can get curious about what excitement lies between the different covers.  (That was an unintentional double entendre.)  Not that I encourage judging a book solely by its cover, of course.  Just pick one up.

Where does my Lord fit into this?  I was supposed to be reading the Bible; instead I’m penning this record of state of our home.  All I know is that– before I knew Him, my house was spotless because aesthetics were all I had on which to stand.  Now I know that, more important than a tidy home is a happy heart, lots of them in fact.  They are happy making havoc.  I can’t keep up with their joy, is all.  And I’m too busy having fun myself.  So when I survey the jobs-like-stars awaiting my organizational hand and military bearing, I am not overwhelmed.

And I didn’t even bother to describe the room I DIDN’T sit in this morning. 🙂

Personal Journey

Memories That Define Me

Handspring! (Photo credit: Marilyn M)

Gymnastics.  That defined me.  We practiced two nights a week and four hours on Saturdays.  Meets were Sundays.  I breathed gymnastics and can still mentally perform a round-off, back-handspring, double full twist.  That’s 360° twice while revolving in  plank position.  And I can even get this  41-year-old body to perform it off a diving board.  A most impressive feat, which garners me “cool mom” and/or “show off” (depending on who you ask).  Oh, the sheer delight of knowing how to throw myself about!  I can still feel the power of my arms and legs pounding and rebounding off the mat… back-handspring, back-handspring, back-handspring– like a slinky with thunder.  I felt so strong.  Who am I kidding?  I was strong.

Summers were especially arduous, as practice was held in the non-air conditioned YWCA.  My coach led us in excruciating aerobics after a mile run on the greenless streets of center-city Allentown.  That asphalt radiated enough heat to kill anything carbon-based within four feet.  Topping out at five feet, I managed to stay alive.  This also after riding my bike six miles to the pool, diving and cavorting all day at said pool and peddling six miles home.  I’m sure some mama bears kept their gymnasts inside on practice days to save their strength.  My father was (thankfully)  more concerned about whether or not I was having fun on practice days and every other summer day.  I paid for that fun during aerobics.  During aerobics my name was not Kelly.  My name was “Lazy Dog.”  My coach fiercely claimed that her… “grandmother could do better than you, Kelly, and she’s dead.”  Back then that was considered creative wounding, at least by 10-year-old me.  My militant coaches looked like Grace Jones, barked fluently in the dialect of  incensed sailors, and ran their team like the Spartan mothers who said, “Come home with your shield, or on it.”

The Grace Jones Story
Grace Jones (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I mean, I was dying during those calisthenics.  The non-negotiable and emphatic disapproval of my coaches made me believe that I was indeed a dog, and though I’d been sapped by a day of arduous physical activity, I did not connect that fact to  my lethargy in endless squats.   The truth was that I’d been singled out as the one who couldn’t hang, the lazy dog, no better than the dead grandmother.

Thankfully, so much of youth is a study in contrasts.  Gymnastics camp.  I was trying to master a release trick on the bars when I overheard the Davidic and beautiful camp counselor who was coaching me casually remark to another, “She works harder than any of the guys.”  Wait.   You must be mistaken. I’m Lazy Dog, the one who can’t hold her own in aerobics.  He didn’t know about the aerobics.  And that was the most delicious piece of affirmation I had ever eaten, and it became my lifelong goal to garner more of such praise.   I cried when I had to leave camp that year; that was the only year I cried.

Only much later when the zoom of perspective got wide enough, could I entertain the possibility that I was not defined by my despicable coaches.  And still the lens must push back beyond the outer limits of this universe to prove to me that no man on earth defines another.  That is God’s vista.

M51 "Whirlpool" Galaxy
M51 “Whirlpool” Galaxy (Photo credit: Phil Ostroff)
Personal Journey

Declaration of Independence

… from the tyranny of Public Opinion.

At the Bar of Public Opinion
At the Bar of Public Opinion (Photo credit: Cornell University Library)

Let me not be brought low by the low opinions others have of me.  And let my heart not be set on medals of praise and affirmation, but may it be on a “Well done.”  My perception of the contents of man’s mind is faulty anyway.  But even if it’s true that I’m held in low esteem for this or that infraction, inaction, or my deviance from what’s presently fashion, then in God’s assurance and peace let me walk sedately on, unhindered, unburdened, and uninhibited.