Saturday, October 30, 2004

Wow, October

Well, just a quick post so SOMETHING is in October. :-) The kids and I went on a long trip (almost a month). It was planned before the house came available. We went to a family reunion (Stephen was able to join us for this), visited friends and family in RI and MA, and had two long stops in PA visiting our best friends who just moved there.

It was a pretty intense trip for me. Wonderful to see so many people I love. Interestingly, while in New England, I was working through a lot of emotional issues related to the move to the farm. Perhaps the juxtaposition of my childhood environment and my current home in Texas got the emotional fires burning. I spent a lot of time thinking about my life when I was Farmer Boy's age. I wondered a lot about what his life would be like if we lived there. I wondered if we are doing the right thing.

I felt confronted with the safety issues involved with living on a farm. There just seem to be so many more opportunities for accidents! I had to slog through that one with God, again being reminded to trust Him, and take one day at a time. Undoubtedly we will all get hurt in some way or another. Must just face that and walk through it when it happens. So far, Stephen has been the most injury prone. He got whacked in the chin by a cow in July (not intentional on the cow's part I don't think, just two heads in the same place at the same time and hers was MUCH bigger). It split his chin. He also hurt his hand while we were gone.

Then there is the life-and-death stuff. Farm animals come and farm animals go, and the going part is something we have to accept. Already, Fleck, our puppy, is gone. While we were away he was hit by a car in front of our house. We live on a dirt road, but people still can drive pretty fast out there, and I guess his mom hadn't taught him about cars (maybe it was silly of me to think she would, but I did). The kids actually took it very well. Maybe because they had only had 2 weeks with him before we left. I was the one who cried.

And of course, as I was feeling emotional, why not throw in worrying about homeschooling! I cycle through that, as do most homeschooling moms I know. I actually think it is a good thing. I never want to become apathetic about my child's education, and it is good to periodically assess things to make sure we are doing the right thing. Verdict? Once again: absolutely! Funny thing is that usually in my most worried moments (several times this has happened WHEN I have been talking with other hs moms about it) Farmer Boy will come up to me and say or do something that makes it clear that I am being silly. In MA I was fretting to my cousin, and he came in and told me that he and his cousin (age 4) were playing Swiss Family Robinson, which he and Stephen are currently reading. Guess his education is going okay. ;-) At the park the other day he and his hs buddies (ages 6-8) were playing Civil War. I didn't even know about the Civil War until 4th or 5th grade. I had to laugh when they told me they were all confederates. We definitely live in TX. Today he came to me after dinner and showed me what he and Stephen had been huddled over so intensely at the table... working on absolute values and greater than/less than with fractions. He is 7. They just did it for fun. That's the thing... what he does for fun shows me he is learning and more importantly, he LIKES to learn. Math is not boring to him. He actually wiggles with excitement when he learns something new in math.

On top of that, I have decided that if anyone asks me again about socialization for homeschoolers (this is absolutely the number 1 concern people raise), I am just going to say, "See for yourself," and point to my son. Okay, I'll grant that the fact that he is homeschooled is not 100% of why he is so well liked by his peers and so able to interact well and enjoyably with people of all ages. He is a very special person (I know, every mom thinks that (and is right!) about her child, but indulge me!). He has always had a nurturing spirit and a strong sense of compassion and empathy. Of course I could get on my soapbox about the KIND of socialization he would get at school anyway, but I won't go there. ;-) Unless you want! 'Cause I have a lot of thoughts on the subject! :-D

Anyhow, summary of the MA and RI part: whirlwind visit, constant activity, lots of wonderful people who NEED TO COME AND VISIT OUR FARM IN TX!!! (hint hint), worked through some good stuff. Great 12 days.

The other part. Pennsylvania. Emotional too, very, but differently. These friends have had a vison, with us, of community living for the past 9 years or so. We actually all lived together 8 years ago (4 adults and 3 kids in a 3 br house), and wanted to buy a bunch of acres and put two housees on it. What our family is doing, we all wanted to do together (now we are 4 adults and 7 kids). But they were called elsewhere. The dad is now going to seminary. It is awesome to see God's plan unfolding, but so hard to be so far from each other, for so many reasons.

My dear wonderful friend was expecting her 5th baby, and was overdue during the first part of our visit. She actually gave birth while we were flying from PA to RI. It was SO hard to leave her while she was in labor, and I prayed about staying, but clearly got that her support during this time was meant to be her husband. And he did an amazing job! Their beautiful little girl was born after a fairly short labor, in their home.

It was wonderful to go back and meet the baby after being in RI. We had another week with them before returning home. It was a lovely visit, until day 5 of our visit, when the new baby suddenly stopped breathing, was resuscitated by her 16 year old brother (he is a life guard) and rushed to the hospital. She is still in the ICU, they do not know what is wrong. It is a nightmare for my friends. I became "house mom" to the remaining kids (my 2 plus their other 4) until we left, after which extended family cycled through helping with the big kids. It was even harder to leave this time. In fact it has been very hard to get motivated or excited about things back here because my heart is with my friends in PA. I am trying to just keep working and doing what needs to be done, and all the while I am praying, praying.

Well, so much for this being a short post. A month is hard to sum up quickly. I will have to post about the chickens later. :-)

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