Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I could take Chuck Norris in a homeschooling smackdown

My sister-in-law likes to tell the story of a fellow member of a horse-lovers' email list she's on. Apparently it's a pretty tight-knit community of oft-misunderstood folks, and this one particular member is a real character. Let's call her Buffy.

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.

9 comments:

Tamara said...

So funny, well-constructed, and TRUE! Thanks for your writing, Hannah :)

cjoy said...

Good for you.
My favorite part of the post was the new concept of taking Little B someplace different, just the two of us, to get some schooling done. Really, it's the dynamics of the two younger ones that make it complicated, but perhaps I can find some big girl panties, too! ;)

Vanessa said...

One year in coordination, the saying was, "It's not about you!" So, whenever one of us would complain about something or someone, someone was faithful to yell, "It's not about YOU!" Haha! Now imagine teaching a classroom of 20 Ian's. . .now that would need some triple X size panties :)

You are doing a great job Hannah! And we are all learning from you--successes and failures :)

Era said...

Yep, I guess we all have those days. It's a good thing you had your big girl underpants handy.

Stephanie said...

The title alone of this one is priceless.

Julie said...

Love it!

Bear Creek Mama said...

Or XXXXXXLL!!!

Bear Creek Mama said...

.....as in MY case, not yours :)
(-ooops)

Jenni (the SIL) said...

Thanks for sharing, Hannah. :) The Big Girl Panties live on...

One thing we do frequently on the horse forum is celebrate our BGP events. It's very healing. :)