Three Weeks In: the School Year

I’ve been trying for two three weeks to write a post about the start to the school year.  They’ve now been in school over three weeks, and here I am, suffering inexplicable writer’s block about a subject that should be easily covered.

Perhaps not so inexplicable, though.  The problem, I’ve realized, is that I want to write about the children’s experiences so far – which are all good – but I also want to write about my feelings – which are very confused, mixed up, and difficult to describe.

So, here I am on the third fourth fifth iteration of this post.  I’ve finally decided that it’s best to separate the two topics – the kids experiences and feelings versus my own, which really are caused entirely by my concerns over the Common Core, rather than anything to do with the school.  So, I’ll start with the easy topic – the kids.

They love their teachers.  They love their friends.  They are getting out of bed easily, and doing their homework without being asked – including sweet little Bear, who doesn’t actually have homework, but thinks that the spare math worksheet the teacher sends home is his homework.  He needs the writing practice, so I’m going with it.  I throw it back in his folder and he’s never any the wiser to the fact that he didn’t really need to do it.

Bear has settled into kindergarten better than I would have expected.  His behavior at school appears to have been impeccable, though these first few weeks have been fraught with many melt downs once he’s in the safety of Mommy Land, where he knows he doesn’t have to keep it all together anymore.

Bonita recounts many funny tales that her teacher has told, and has one favorite student who has had some physical challenges this year, whose progress she loves to share, along with the ways she and her classmates are able to help him navigate the classroom.  The school work is awfully easy for her, and I often wonder if we need to find a more challenging environment.  But, we’ll save that for some future post.

A child who is not typically a fan of school, Dude is probably still just in the honeymoon phase.  So far, we’ve only had two mornings where he’s said that he’s not going to school.  Fortunately, he hasn’t tried to push it very far, though he did miss breakfast one of those mornings.  He now splits his day between two teachers, both of whom seem really fun, (and, yes, I do believe they’re managing to educate in the midst of the fun!) so perhaps the variety and “fun” factor are holding his interest.

As for me… well, I love their teachers, and I love their friends.  I love the family atmosphere and sense of community.  I love the plaque that hangs at the entrance to the school:

 Let it be know to all who enter here
that Jesus is the reason for this school,  
the unseen but ever-present teacher in all its classes,
the model of its faculty,
the inspiration for its staff and students.

 

Despite all of my dread at a new year starting so soon, and my discontent with the Common Core, I know that we are blessed to be part of such a great parish family and school.  In fact, it reminds me of a blog post I read recently, from Lisa over at Practicing Catholic:  “Lord, it is good that we are here.” (Matt 17:4)

God is great, and He blesses us wherever we are, if only we are open to His blessings.

Lisa – and Peter – got it right.

Lord, it is good that we are here.

My Church Lady Post

OK, so I don’t want to get all “Church Lady” up in heeya, but it is rather interesting how the Evil One works.  Ever noticed how, when you’re doing something really wonderful for the Kingdom or for your own soul, Satan comes after you?

Case in point: Several years ago, I noticed that every time I went to Reconciliation, Ray and I would have a HUGE argument shortly after I got home, always over something ridiculously trivial.  Hmmm…

Seriously, though, I realized that Satan really despises a clean conscious, and he knows just how to trip my triggers and get me to do, say, or think something that I shouldn’t!  Since that realization, I make a point after confession of praying for protection against the snares of the devil.  Voila!  No more post-confession fights!

More recently, he’s attempted to attack my commitment to spend time in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  After discussing it briefly with Ray, I signed up for a time slot in the early morning, thinking that my family would never even notice that I was gone.  The morning of my first “shift,” Boo woke me 25 minutes before my alarm was set to go off, saying that she didn’t feel well.  Hmmm…

She acted fine, so I went to lay her back down in her bed, only to find that her sheets were soaked, but it appeared to be only water.  Thinking all was good, I headed out a short while later and – I must say – had a wonderful first day as an official adorer.  There’s something to be said for being in the chapel, just me and Jesus!  (Though there’s also something to be said for an hour like the one I had today, during which at least five additional people were there well before dawn, come to adore our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.)

Well, I learned when I got home that Boo woke up again while I was gone, having thrown up water in her bed, threw up again while Daddy was with her, and woke the Dude, who proceeded to have a major “I need Mommy” crisis.  All in the hour and a half that I was gone!  I was told in no uncertain terms that, if there were anymore mornings like this one, I was NOT allowed to go to adoration anymore. Hmmm…

(Fortunately, I had asked Ray what he wanted me to pray for, and the prayer was granted, which did ease the situation quite a bit!)

But wait, there’s more!  The following week, late Monday night, I mentioned that I had to get up insanely early.  Ray says,

“For what?!!”

“Tomorrow’s Tuesday.  I’ve got adoration.”

“You said that was only once a month!”

“What??”

“You said that was only once a month!”

“Ummm, nooooo.  I didn’t.”

This went on for a few minutes, then…

“I feel deceived.”

And so on and so forth until finally I think maybe, just maybe I managed to convince him that deceiving him in order to go to adoration would be completely counterproductive.  But he still insists that I said it was only once a month!

Feeling “deceived”, he was ready to put the kibosh on the whole thing.  Hmmm…

Fortunately, I’ve made sure to pray well in advance of adoration these last several weeks, and it’s been smooth sailing.

I’m a believer in Phil 4:8: “…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely… think on these things.”  But I also believe 1 Peter 5:8: “Be alert and of sober mind.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  Maybe these things are just coincidence.  Maybe they’re not.  Regardless, being aware of where our enemy might prowl about, and knowing that he delights in stopping “whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure…” I’ll go ahead and be “alert and of sober mind”, and keep that prayer to St. Michael going.

St Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.

May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou,

O Prince of the heavenly hosts,

by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits,

who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.

Amen.

Rottmayr-Engelsturz

Where have you recognized the enemy prowling about, seeking the ruin of souls?   Have you witnessed the power of prayer in warding him off?

Back to School

OK, so clearly I fell off the wagon with my daily posts last week.  Four days in a row ain’t bad, though.  Definitely a personal record, so I’m OK with it.

I confess that I didn’t complete the other goals I had for the week, either.  Honestly, I realized about half way through the week that we had less than a week till school started, and I had to revise my priorities.  I did, however, make some progress, and am looking forward to getting back on track once the kiddo’s are back in school and Boo and I have settled into some sort of a routine.

School.  Ugh.  This time tomorrow morning, I’ll be waking the kids up, prodding them into their uniforms, packing lunches, and throwing breakfast down their throats.  I know excitement will be in the air, and that it will likely be the only day all year that I don’t have to drag the kids out of bed.  In fact, on this single morning, we might beat the tardy bell by more than thirty seconds!

But, underlying all of that, I suspect that I’ll feel a sense of gloom.  The summer was too short.  It seems wrong to send kids back to school when the weather is so gorgeous and they ought to be outside playing.  Reading all of the Catholic Homeschool Mommy blogs (seriously, am I the only Catholic mommy blogger who doesn’t homeschool?) has created this picturesque vision in my mind of what our family would look like if we homeschooled, which I’m sure is quite inaccurate.  Add to that the fact that I fear the direction our schools are taking under Common Core, and saying that “I’m not ready for school to start” would be an understatement bordering on the ridiculous.

And so I’ll continue to pray for wisdom and guidance.  That the Archdiocese will cease abdicating the responsibility for our children’s education that we have entrusted to them.  And that, if they do not, our family will have the wisdom and courage to change directions if that is what God is calling us to do.

And I’ll put on a happy face as I snap the photos, stuff the backpacks, and wish my kids well tomorrow morning.

Does Anyone Else Ever?

Does anyone else ever…

while waiting for their toast to pop up, knife in hand ready to apply the butter, think about sticking that knife into the toaster, just to see what would happen?

Does anyone else ever…

wonder what it would be like to just keep driving straight instead of taking the curve?

Does anyone else ever…

when the house is just a little too crazy, fantasize about becoming a nun? (see, not all of my wonderings are suicidal)

Flying nun 1968

What weird things go through your head?  Or am I really just that crazy?

***Disclaimer: This post is by no means a cry for help or an indication of any suicidal thoughts.  I love life far too much to ever consider taking it away – mine or anyone else’s!  But I really am curious.  Does anyone else ever?