Ok, so clearly from the title, Ruth is now eight years old. So bizarre as I have clear memories of being eight myself. I remember sitting on the swing set in my backyard thinking, “I’m eight but it already feels like I’ve been alive forever” (I was an oddly pensive child…who’s turned into an oddly pensive adult). Why does the age of the first child seem to matter so much more than successive children? I think because it really marks the beginning of this crazy journey in many ways, though truthfully, I really see the anniversary of my pregnancy with her as the real and true start to all of this (and when I say “this” what I mean is my rebirth into life as a parent or simply my life’s work as I consider raising my kids to be my sort of career or life’s passion).
(side note on the topic of my life’s work: I get all kinds of reactions when I tell people I homeschool from people singing my praises and congratulating me for prioritizing the “right” things in life to looks of confusion and condescension. My most common reaction, though, among people who are currently around my age and raising children of their own, would have to be, “I could never do that,” which at first glance might seem a little bit like a compliment but what I’ve found out really actually translates into, “You crazy, girl.” Among older people, the reaction seems to be much less defensive. I’ll often have older people, whose kids are already grown, tell me that they wish they would have homeschooled. So, take each reaction for what you will. I try not to put too much stock into what anyone says as I’ve found that peoples reactions often have less to do with you and more to do with themselves or else they are just mindlessly regurgitating the overall consensus of society towards the idea of homeschooling). Shrugs.
In any case, Ruth is eight, and as such is like a real live kid and everything, no ifs ands or buts about it. I could probably go on and on about her talents, achievements and abilities and how proud I am of her, as you might expect me to do, but what I feel like has come to define our time together as she’s aged is really trying very hard to segregate myself from that very attractive way of thinking and instead to steer myself away from putting labels on her (and each of the kids). I try, sometimes unsuccessfully, very hard to keep my mind totally open to who the kids are and how they change instead of trying to box them into one way of being. I also try not to use a measuring stick against the things about any of them that I could list off as what people might see as “proof that these kids are progressing”. I try instead to give her the space to grow and come into her own in her own time on her own terms. It’s not easy though when every way you turn, it seems like all anyone can talk about is their kids achievements and activities and interests and yadda, yadda, etc. ad nauseam… Especially around here…you can’t throw a rock without hitting someone on their way to their private rock-climbing lesson or some shit (not that I throw rocks at my neighbors or their kids. It’s an expression, people). It’s really hard not to want to follow suit, especially being a homeschooler as I think that inherently comes with a little bit of extra insecurity as you are so far removed from what’s considered “normal” that you want to try and overcompensate even more. But I try to resist these impulses as they may feel good for the moment but in the long run, I think are short-sighted, fragile, and meaningless anyway.
That’s all just a really long-winded way of saying that I’m not really going to say too much about Ruth and what she’s like these days. Except that she’s eight. That and it’s simply a wonder to watch your tiny babies grow long limbs and thick hair and big teeth and run and play and fight like you remember doing not that long ago (wasn’t it actually yesterday??). This is how one generation to the next ebbs and flows, how family lines grow through time. Amazing.
Now I’ll segue into something totally unrelated but that I think is really funny. Or really telling I guess. I was at the grocery store the other day, with all three kids, of course, and we made it through all of our shopping trip when Joel asked to “look at the books”. For those that don’t know, Kroger has a book aisle. In our store it’s hidden behind all the pharmaceutical paraphernalia. I was like, “Sure,” and swung the cart over and parked it right in front of the book area. The kids proceeded to sprawl themselves out on the grocery store floor poring through the kids books while I just stared off into oblivion for a while. People came and went, minutes passed and I thought to myself, “This is like a mini vacation! And it’s free!” Yeah, that would be me: basking amongst shelves crammed with vitamins, Band-Aids and Epsom salt, soaking up the florescent lighting to the tune of elevator music. (Sigh. My life:)
Update on ovulation station: I’m getting better at reading my fertility signs, but am by no means a pro. It would help if my dang cycle didn’t fluctuate so much! I did get a positive ovulation test yesterday which means I am probably ovulating like…right now. Possibly this minute. Which is possibly not the best timing. And I’ll leave you with that vague statement and wish you “good day”. (Tips hat).