Wednesday, September 15, 2010

It is so very hard to think positive, be motivated and be patient when you don't feel good.

I positively hate this part of Fall. Where germs are no longer on summer vacation and we start shutting ourselves up inside to keep warm and dry. Colds. Flus. Strep throat. The usual culprits at our house. I am thankful though that our children are too old for croup. That they can make it to the bathroom and I'm not running full sprint to them with a trashcan when their little tummies are teapots tossed in a tempest.

I'm thankful they can verbalize what's wrong with them, and I'm not left guessing. Well, for the most part. LOL

As a mom, wife and home educator (golly, that sounds so professional!), getting sick just isn't on the daily planner for me. I've asked not to help with the little ones at co-op because I've had kids that age. I know where their hands and fingers have been! I love them-don't get me wrong, but I don't love the way I feel after catching something from them, or how I feel knowing I've passed it on to someone else. Usually everyone else in our family. Add to that fact a mom with Stage IV cancer, and my being sick could mean not being there for her if she needed me.

This is day three of not feeling good. Not looking for sympathy, just sharing some thoughts.

We went to a soccer game yesterday for Middleman. The team we played is the one he used to be on. At the school he used to go to and that Bean still attends elementary school at. Over the years, it seems we lose parents who used to be friends or at least, friendly, because we've chosen not to have Middleman there. And we have the gall to let him play for a rival homeschool team and then root for his team to win against their sons.

Each fall, at the beginning of soccer season, when we play this team-the air gets chillier.

Here is where being sick comes into play. Am I not as friendly to these people because I just don't feel good and because of this, I imagine they're not as friendly? Is it because I'm not circulating and actually forcing them to speak to me? That they're not even seeing me as I stand right in front of them? Sometimes waving at them?

It can be a difficult thing to choose to do what you feel in your heart is best for your children. And even harder when that decision means you aren't doing what other people just know would be better for them. A few years ago, when we decided to bring Middleman home, we got a lot of raised eyebrows and condescending nods from the other parents at school. To them, the problems we were encountering were really all our fault somehow. Middleman just wasn't measuring up. Didn't fit in. We were overprotective parents whining too much.

Last year, at a camp the school requires 7th grade and up students to attend violently answered those attitudes we were on the receiving end of from the other parents. Three boys in Middleman's class (it's a very small class with only 6-7 boys total) were involved in physically abusing two smaller classmates. Shock and surprise from teachers, administrators and parents alike.

Except for us and a few other parents whose children had also been bullied and abused. We felt vindicated in our decision not to have him in this environment with these boys, and relieved Middleman was no longer in this class. One boy was expelled and two others were "disciplined" and then the matter was quickly and quietly hushed up. For three years before this we had tried to work with the school's adminstration and teachers on the problems these boys were making for other children. We saw our once happy, smiling, enthusiastic son become an angry, bitter and extremely unhappy young man. The school wouldn't, or couldn't, help us. So, we made the choice to homeschool.

This year, three families who have boys in the class Middleman was in decided to send their children to public schools instead of our small, private, Christian school. I phoned the school and talked to the headmaster and tentatively probed for a change in attitude that would persuade us things had changed. That things were better and that Middleman could be enrolled there for his freshman year.

We're still homeschooling. And that tells you a lot about what is happening at this school. There are days I don't even want Bean there because of the attitudes and actions of the teachers, staff, administration and students. But, he's a different kid with a different personality. Different teaching arrangements and the class he's in has dropped from over 20, to 13. The two boys who were bullying him last year, didn't come back this year. If they had, and the school allowed it to continue without any real effort to stop it, Bean would have been taken out of this school and enrolled in our public elementary down the street, or we would have homeschooled him too.  Different child.  Different choices.  Not what I would want, but what we feel he needs and that he can be happy and successful there.

Why do we keep Bean there? I used to think it was because the school was such an awesome alternative, really the only alternative, to our public schools here. That this private school was so far ahead in academics compared to public schools. That the public schools were places we didn't want our children to be. Bean spent his 3rd grade year at the public school right at the end of our street. The teacher he would have had at the private, Christian school is one we swore would never teach any more of our children.

What we saw that year amazed us. Pleased us. And we were thankful we had made the choice to have him skip this teacher. That was another year of other people knowing that what was best for our family really wasn't what we had been shown would be the best for us. It was the best school year ever!  So many surprises for us on what was reality and what we had always assumed or been taught was true about public schools.  Don't get me wrong, public schools have very large problems too-but ones that aren't that different from the ones kids who are at private or Christian schools encounter.

Trying to wrap this up as the cotton starts filling my head again, the eyes begin hurting and the nose feels like I have potatoes stuffed in there.

I have learned a few things. That we as parents, when we love our children and truly only want what's best for them, can't make bad decisions. We can only make decisions on information, feelings and thoughts at those moments in time. That prayer is needful, necessary. I've learned that if people stop being friends or friendly with you simply because you don't do what they "feel" or "know" is best for your kids, they aren't worth having as influential people in your life. That you make new friends and find other people to be friendly with. Laugh with. Sit at soccer games with. And that it's really sad that it has to be this way when a little mercy and grace would cover a multitude of differences of opinions and traditions.

I've learned that you find other people who understand that not all kids are cookie cutter kids who learn the same way. Who relate to the world and other people differently than the majority of others. And that that is okay!

Thanks for reading. It's a hard couple of chapters in our life to think about. Looking back is pointless. Going forward in faith, trust and love is what is going to get us through the next game we play against this team, with their parents watching from the stands. Judging. Measuring.

It is hard not to be bitter, but it's getting easier each time I look at Middleman and remember how far he's come. Learning to be thankful for the direction we felt we had no other choice but to take. Because it means we've met some incredibly loving and beautiful people. Done some amazing, miraculous things. Broken down stereotypes and tried new things we would have never done before. And been blessed til our cup runneth over. Ever looking for that silver lining that I know is there for my children and not letting anybody else rain on our parade. And when they try, looking for the rainbow.


  1. Wow! you have a lot rattling around in that cold ridden body of yours. Get well soon, cupcake.

    Sorry about the parents...people can be plain insensitive and stupid sometimes. I raised two children on my own so I could write a few books about the deepening dusk my shadow was in for one reason or the other. Being a distant island gave me a long shoreline of wonder to stare at :)

    Fortunately this too shall pass, give it some time, a slight turn of the kaleidoscope and everything changes for everyone.

    Hugs to you and gratitude for you.


  2. I hope you feel better soon. And I'm with you. . .you do what you have to do because you care. The other moms will just have to stand around in the parking lot and talk. . .you just have to believe what's right, is right~kids come first. Hugs, my friend.

  3. Wonderful post, Dee. It's so hard to know what if right for your children, if the right decisions are made. Luckily, when you're a prayerful, thoughtful parent - not much could go horribly wrong. And children are resilient - especially so in your kind of environment.

    Hear, Hear! To making the hard, good decisions!

  4. Sorry you're ill. I've been battling a nasty flu/cold too. blech.

    You have a lot on your plate! Having gone through a couple of similar though not nearly as traumatic situations, I feel for you. I remember being told as I was trying to buy school supplies to teach one of my children that I was going to cripple my child keeping them at home. My only regret is that I didn't take this child out of the situation sooner. People can be so mean. I know this and yet I still don't understand it. Hang in there. Feel better.

  5. sorry to hear about the germs :(
    I think by reading your post that you are very in tune to what's best for your kids regarding their education including what's best for each individual child. What's good for one isn't neccessarily right for the others. I've learned that by having a special needs child.

    It's good to vent too!


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