Friday, February 27, 2009

How I Do It

Today my neighbor told me she doesn't know how I do it . . . How I take care of five children all day without losing my mind. "Mine drive me crazy, and I only have two!" she said as she began on her way.

As I went on with my morning after that exchange, I carefully mused over how many other women (and men) have told me that same thing. How their one or two or three children drive them crazy, even though they love them.  How they can't imagine spending all day with their children.  (Am I the only one whose heart breaks when I hear that?)  And I could only come up with one difference that applied in every instance:

I have consciously chosen to NOT distance myself from my children.

I don't work for money. They don't "go to" school. Up until a few months ago, Vern worked from home.  It hasn't been easy. (Ha!) And I still have plenty of moments and melt-downs. (As do the kids.) 


We have learned how to honestly like each other.  Not just that familial love that only surfaces at big milestones and crises, but actually, honestly like one another.  Every day, we're learning to treat each other with courtesy and kindness out of sheer necessity.  We have been together. 

Instead of my children learning to treat their teachers and other people's children with respect, they are learning it at home.  Home.  Where this stuff is supposed to be learnt.  Where all of the work of learning these skills and Christ-like attributes will do them good in the things that matter most.  Very few of us have good friends from high school living close by.  It's hard to make new friends in this world of ours.  But family is hard to get rid of. ;o)

I don't know what I'll do when they grow up and start off on their own . . . but I hope and pray that we'll have managed to spend enough time together that not only will we have a million more memories than most families, but the loving friendship that ties my children to me will be strong enough to keep them from disappearing into adulthood, leaving me behind. (And hopefully they'll come back from wherever they go upon fledging, and live somewhere nearby. ;o)


Shan said...

Oh Bravo Annalea! awesome post.

And what beautiful children!

Birrd said...

Oh yeah. I get that all the time too-- "I just could never do that!" and I wish I could make them understand. In our family homeschool I think I have learned and grown more than any of the kids have through the experience of watching my friends send their children off to school while I stay home with mine day after day after day. It has been painful many times as I have had to give myself up and deal with my selfish feelings of frustration and resentment, but it has been so richly rewarding.

Another thing I've been hearing a lot lately is "I love my husband but he drives me crazy!!!" I think the insights you share in this post apply to that situation as well.

Thanks for all the lovely kid pics. Love the one of Mr. C with the pony and the toothbrush. He'd fit right in around here. If you ever want to do some kind of kid swap for the summer, let me know!

McMackin Family said...

You really are a wonder!
Beautiful pictures.
I think what people are saying is closer to 'how do you do it ALL BY YOURSELF'. They are not saying that they desire to distance their children. Many people simply cannot imagine taking on the job of preparing their children for adulthood alone. It is overwhelming to say the least. Especially the ever competitive world that our children will have to navigate as adults.
Remember that all children are homeschooled to one degree or another. You have choosen to do that fulltime. And, I am guessing, you are not doing it alone. That is the misconception worth dispelling. Perhaps more would consider doing the same if they understood that they would have support and resources beyond their own experiences to offer their children. If you are indeed taking it on ALONE, than I want to know, 'how you do it without going crazy'?

Thimbleanna said...

What an adorable family you have Annalea! I love the pictures -- especially the one with the pony and toothbrush -- what IS he doing LOL???

Annalea said...

We were giving the ponies a washing (two generations of play have given them a few smudges), and ChickenScratch (he's my oldest, of The Slug Blog fame), decided to help.

It's one of my favorite photos, too. :o)

life in yonder said...

I second McMackin! Very balanced comment. And I congratulate you for having the possibility to stay at home and spend so much time with your children! It must be lovely! I hope I too manage to spend much time together with my kids or spend time with them in a way that ties my children to me so that they don't disapear into adulthood. Wonder how one can do that even if one can't be a stay at home mom...?