Centering myself in the present moment and feeling gratitude does not come naturally to me. Too often, my mind is replaying past conversations or planning future obligations. Pen and paper help me fight my way back to the present. Purposely listening to conversations in this house with the object of writing them down grounds me in the here and now.
I often find these scraps of conversation I have penned laying around the kitchen counter, my bedside table, the foyer dresser.
Just today, I found some hoarded words, saved and then forgotten from FOUR years ago.
11 yo Sidney —– “Dad, do you remember that night I got sick and threw up on the floor? And you wiped the floor with your socked foot?”
6 yo Rachel — “Mama, the potty is eating. It eats . . . . . . . “
11 yo Sidney — “Mom, the icons on your computer have been moved around, but it isn’t my fault. It is Bill Gates’ fault.”
And upon hearing me brag about how I fit all the garden produce in the freezer, 9 yo Lincoln — “Mom, you are ORGANISM woman.”
Four years — a breath, a lifetime.
The 11 yo boy who ratted on his Dad’s cleaning methods and messed with his Mama’s computer icons is today a 15 yo boy who sits at my kitchen table taking apart a nonfunctioning LED light bulb and talking to himself, “MAN, it is nice to have a voltmeter in the house.”
to charm an unenthused and skeptical student into learning his least favorite subject — vocabulary.
At our big Thanksgiving get-together, Prairie was running outside with her cousins after the big meal. She paused beside Sid, clutching her side and commented, “Daddy, I wish cramps were not so ubiquitous.“
While writing this post, I hear the sounds of industry in the kitchen. Sid and the kids are cleaning up, making popcorn and hot chocolate in preparation for watching Elf. I also hear Rachel mock-scolding one of her brothers. “You are treating me like an insolent bully, and here I am making you popcorn!”
I am especially thrilled because those two vocabulary words — ubiquitous and insolent — were not part of this week’s list. We studied those words weeks ago, so they are retaining their new words long term. An added bonus — when one child uses a vocabulary word within hearing of another child, it reinforces the learning for the hearing child as well.
Another added benefit to studying vocabulary as a family, with varying ages —– the older, non-enthusiastic student thinks his little sisters using their big words are so darn cute that vocabulary study seems less onerous, and the memory of their cuteness reinforces HIS learning.
I label our vocabulary studies a success!
A few days ago, my 13 yo son, Lincoln, was worried about one of his rabbits. She had been wounded, her eye oozing blood from a predator attempting to get into her cage. After much debate, we finally decided to leave her alone, hoping she would heal on her own. Lincoln felt helpless. He could find no peace, couldn’t focus on school, his thoughts unsettled. I held his hand and prayed with him, encouraging him to “take his thoughts captive.”
A little later, he came down the stairs with a smile on his face. “I was having a hard time,” he said. “I went to your blog and read your latest post and it calmed me down.”
My blog . . . . .I’ve always disliked that word . . . . . . this place where I write — it is my psalm.
For years, it has been my refrain —– an intentional, repeated focus on what is good, true, and praiseworthy.
And also an expression of hope and trust that there will be more joy on the morrow.
At first, it struck me as a novel, and encouraging, thought that perhaps my own psalm could function as my son’s psalm too. Though further thought proved less surprising — my stories are his stories. They belong to him too.
Maybe one day, when he is older and our paths diverge, he will write his own stories, his own psalms.
I have been in the midst of school planning —- and the garden and painting and overhauling my diet — for the last few weeks. There is so much to do and only one of me and I often feel trapped in the debris of a thousand to-dos tornado.
But just when I think I might choke or drown or go hide, I hear singing or giggling or ummm . . . .interesting tidbits of conversation.
Just this week, while working furiously at the computer, I heard nose-blowing, an outraged squeal and then my sweet Rachel said in a most imperious sounding voice, “NEVER interrupt a woman blowing her nose.”
I absolutely could not contain a giggle. And with it, a release of tension.
Last night the boys and I had a birthday party to attend, and we left the girls home with Sid. They decided to make a Daddy – daughter event of baking chocolate chip cookies.
The girls were already tucked into bed when I got home, so I didn’t get the recap until this morning.
“Mama, do you know how to make the BEST chocolate chip cookies?” Prairie asked.
——“No, how do you make the best chocolate chip cookies?”
“Well, you have to have a Daddy and 2 girls.”
I am completely suckered.
She later balanced out that syrupy sweetness with a bit of spice . . . . . .
I literally caught her with a hand in the cookie jar BEFORE she had eaten a decent lunch —-
“Mama, Mama, Mama,” she says in her queenly tone, “I am going to do this the COOKIE-ish way. I put the cookie on my plate, then I put my lunch on the plate. I eat my lunch and THEN I eat my cookie. Okay?”
It is really hard not to laugh with our Prairie around.