So one day Buffy was venting to the list about some herculean labor that she had to perform, something involving a multi-ton horsetrailer and a winch and various other details that escape my non-equestrian mind. Buffy was not feeling so competent, was in fact looking for virtual hugs and sympathy and who knows, maybe offers of help, until one member e-barked:
"Buffy, put your big girl panties on!"
This story popped into my mind yesterday as I reflected on our homeschooling experience. There are days when we're humming right along with plans and projects and wonderful read-alouds that touch the soul, like, most recently, Moccasin Trail ), and it's all very fulfilling -- like parenting in general, but more so. Then there are days, or at least moments, when I wonder whether I was tripping on acid when I decided to jump aboard the homeschooling train. Like parenting in general, but more so.
I had such a moment yesterday. It should have been so perfect -- the girls were busy at a friend's house, and Ian and I hunkered down at a coffee shop around the corner, working math problems and then reading (me) and listening to (him) a challenging, beautifully written, steak-and-potatoes book set in the time of the Civil War. I was delighting in the well-developed characters, the diction, the unfolding plot, the superiority of such a book to the dry alternative of a textbook.
But every five minutes, he'd break in to ask how many pages we were planning to read. Pffffft, answered my balloon, wilting toward the floor.
These moments -- they happen. More than I'd like. But less than they could. And each time I'm reminded: It's not about you. My tendency is to take things so personally. To feel rejected, wounded, invalidated, when my glowing moments get thwarted by a short attention span or a mismatch in learning styles or a distracting, I don't know, lightbulb buzz. I want to sulk, to make my disappointment the central issue, as if a child needs to be laden with the burden of meeting an adult's complex emotional needs.
So that's when I put my Big Girl Panties on. Some of us need 'em in size XXL.