Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Stay the Course


I feel like a ship navigating the seas. I remind myself that I must stay on course. I begin the week with a plan that has been very carefully thought out and placed in a nice neat format called A Beka Curriculum Guide.  All that is required of me is to read the lesson plans, copy the material on the board and tell about it. 

Stay the course, I think to myself. Today I will cover all subjects exactly the way it is designed. I will use all of my visual aides that go with the program. I will be sure to get it set up the night before so that I look like I have it all together. I will not fumble around and look for things. The room will begin neat, clean and organized every Monday morning. Yes indeed, this week I will stay the course.
So I wake on Monday and discover that my body is not use to some crazy time shift. I am not yet recovered from working my weekend shifts in the ICU. I will wake. I will go to the room and be sure it is all neat, clean and organized. I will gather the material that will be needed and set my sail to the wind. I plan to hold tight to the wheel and stay the course.

Then the telephone rings. "Good morning mom" she says. "he left for work and did not move the car seat to my van".  "I am exhausted, my feet are aching something terrible and I really do not feel like coming to pick up the kids." I say.  "Tell you what" I continue, "the temperature is going to be wonderful today"  I convince her that they will not even be able to concentrate.  See how quickly the tide can change?  The wind blew one way and I let it carry me over that edge.  I wanted to stay the course, I just could not control the tide and the winds that change them.

Suddenly, I have sunk to the level that I am afraid happens far to often some days. Then I see them in a co-op classroom with others their age and feel confident that we are doing very good overall. Sure the public schools had just celebrated their 100 days of school. We will too in 38 more days. We don't have a calendar that tells us what to do, I think to myself. 

Oh no!  I look at the calendar and it tells me that we have homeschool classes at the St. Louis Zoo at 11:30 today. I had just suggested to my daughter that she take the kids out for a walk and get some yard work accomplished as a family. After all, that has educational value as well.  I must call her.

Ring, ring...."you have reached the voicemail..."  Let me try again. Let me try again. 

"What?" she says as she picks up the phone.  "Are they dressed" I ask. "Yes" she replies.  I am elated because as it turns out I can now once again stay the course.  It was planned months ago that school today was not my responsibility.  I have paid for classes to be taught by professional zoologists.  I hop in the ship and head to her house. All would be fine if I was not feeling rushed.  If only, in my charting the course for the week I would have turned over the page on the calendar last week and discovered the plan.  Oh well, I can't bother with that now.  The day was going to be sunny and actually hot, so this is a win-win sort of day.  Again, the winds have shifted the tide but we are back on a course that was plotted out by a much more rationale person than I am now. When I plotted that course the year was fresh and new.

Load in girls, we have to get on the road but wait a moment. Here comes the two year old. He heard the word zoo and put on his foot braces and shoes while I was on the way.  Seems we are now all going to the zoo. 

Arrival is a success with fifteen minutes to spare. That is provided that the rest of the St. Louis area was not out on a spring break and all those crazy parents who took vacation time to spend the week with them have brought them to the zoo.  The presence of my daughter becomes very evident and I use her.  Two hop out of the car while the rest of us head to the south parking lot.  The north lot is full and the parking down the roads make it difficult to navigate the streets of Forrest Park.  Being a zoo member means free parking, trust me, it pays for itself in no time at all.

Educationally speaking we are on course again. The pain in my feet is about to feel like hot, sharp razors slicing through my skin. Being the driver I was left with the car seat child. That child becomes a stroller child as soon as the car door opens.  We make our way toward my daughter and find that they are still waiting for the teacher to gather the children and head to the classroom. 

Next comes the dreaded stop. Well, I say dreaded but it was a promised stop months ago. This is the month that Grace was promised she could go to the Build-A-Bear in the zoo. She saved up money and even chose to avoid a souvenir at the Disney on Ice show.  Owen wants a flamingo.  Really, does he need a flamingo? He did not count every penny and help clean my house to earn money.  He was a fish tossed onto my ship today when the wave came through. So he gets a pink flamingo but no clothes or other items. Thankfully he is not into such things.  He loves his flamingo so much. Names it FeeFee and later that night sleep with him.

Now that we have accomplished this I must eat.  I did not have anything and I feel like I could pass out.  Another wave comes over my ship and we realize that the hundreds of people at the zoo will also be hungry and thirsty. Normally there are plenty of venues to accommodate such a crowd. That of course is provided that it is after freeze time zone. The calendar on the wall says that things are still locked up and the pipes have been winterized. 

A short time passes and it is time for Faith to get out of class. We have one hour to wait before Grace's class will start. Glass cuts into my feet.  My back muscles begin to weaken and I am stooping over in my steps. Faith will need to get a snack as well, so I can stop and sit.

I must have let go of the wheel because havoc breaks out. Grace dropped her hippo into the prairie dog  area.  I grab a child by the ankles and hung them upside down. I do not plan to drop the sails yet, there is still wind a blowin'.  Crisis averted. 

Fortunately it is time for the next class.  I take a child and leave everybody behind.  Upon my return I discover they have left the area. No problem, with modern technology I will just send her a text and find them.  Modern technology has not yet figured out how to be sure that I have a charged telephone when I leave the house.  Truth be known, I had lost the thing in the car and it was only while we were looking for a parking place that it was found and put on a charger in the first place. 

I turn to these nice city folks and ask if perhaps I can call my daughter, as I show them my dead telephone.  Turns out that I could not find a nice city folk. Being the captain of this voyage I am able to problem solve.  I will go to my car where I can sit and relax. I can charge the telephone and when the class is about over I will drive over to the north lot pick up area. I will send a text to my daughter so she knows the plan. 

In my ship, that we affectionately call Bessie, I make several turns of my rudder and get to the pick up point. I never hear back from my daughter. What in the world? I get a text from a co-op buddy who is with my family and she tells me the cell is dead.  Class is about to be over and they need to know where I am and what the plan is going to be. Text messages back and forth.

First set of children arrive to car. Daughter goes in the building again to gather Grace from class. I find myself at car seat duty again. I teach Faith how to change into her gymnastic clothes in the car, un-noticed.  She is finished and buckled in when the next child arrives. She knows the drill about how to change.

We again catch a good tide that take us back out to sea. I have managed to get back on course several times today. We arrive at gymnastics class with three minutes to spare.

I find it is pushing 6pm.  I am on my way home. The telephone rings.  Honestly, I do not know how he knew I had found my phone but I hear on the other end, "What do you have planned for dinner?" 

HA!  Turns out that I never completed the plan from Friday so I was able to appear as if I had managed to stay on course as a wife too. 

I do think there is a moral to this very true story and turn of events. Let me begin with the fact that I know we are not on schedule for the typical school year. This day only goes to show that if you just steady your course from time to time, the wind and tides that will distract and move you in a different direction will also give you an exciting journey as your reach your final destination. We all reach our destination at one point in time. I will not worry about the time, I will be sure to keep us on point and most of all, I will enjoy and endure the journey.