Last year, about this time, life gave me a little more than I could handle. My slow and very painful recovery from having a sick thyroid removed was just the beginning. It would begin a series of more surgeries and procedures that would “undo” all the years of organic eating and clean living I practiced. All of my energy went into clinging to a faith which kept me going and making sure my kids never felt scared or alone. They were often cared for by my Mom or my in-laws while I was recovering or sick. Every. Single. Bug… That entered the home was thrilled with my lack of an immune system. I was radioactive at one particular time and was warned that it would weaken my body’s ability to heal or get over colds and other surgeries. So when my summertime surgery was botched, and a hematoma formed, it knocked me out in every way. Until earlier this year I rarely left the house, I gave up on my homeschool, my marriage, and my identity. Parenting became my only job because being a sub-par mom was the best I could do and loving my kids was all I was capable of doing.
This Spring, my life began to unravel. This was a good thing. I was able to sit still and allow the Spirit to build me up, into the person I once was. No, better. We began going to groups and the kids were meeting friends. I went to a homeschool conference and met one of our Homeschool Legal Defense Aid reps, who prayed with us about a specific situation. During my illness, my downtime, I had placed my child, the one with special needs, the one who needed me most, into the care of a government run school. Yup, you guessed it… I was given the bait and switch. The school practically did cartwheels when we mentioned that we were thinking about enrolling him. They were kind and helpful and blah, blah, blah. Yet, when my kid was in the school he endured months of unacceptable and unnecessarily rude notes and unkind care. This is my fricken’ kid!! And he needs an education, but all he was getting was a bad attitude and anxiety attacks that made me cry when I watched him walk up to the school. He was treated like an inmate. I watch a lot of documentaries about jails and prisons and the similarities between prison and my sons institution were kinda’ similar. I know it’s extreme, but so much of the way problems were handled and the children were cattled was similar to the prison system.
My children master an academic topic before they move on. Nothing less than understanding is worth their precious time in their studies. Unless they actually learn and understand what they are doing what they do is simply busy work. I read an article claiming to share with us information about the Common Core. My mother in-law claims it promotes higher-order thinking. She knows that’s important to me as I shared with her that we were keeping our children home so that they learned to use higher-order thinking and reasoning. They need to understand why a formula works, not just memorize the formula. My son’s school was a Common Core school and they were wanting to bump him up to third grade when his special needs demanded that he slow down and master certain topics first. That is not apparently what professionals call the “common Core Standard.” I was not okay with the reply received every time I asked the teacher how I could help. Her response was always very laid back and relaxed. “I’m not worried about him,” she would write me. “He’s got you to work with him at home.” So as soon as I began to feel better, stronger, alive, and could see the haze of self-preservation-type parenting lifting, I saw the school for what it was. A necessary daycare for 3 months while I gained my strength socially, mentally, emotionally, and physically. We brought him home this week after several apes (upper class bullies) who my kids wanted to play with at the school, held them from behind by their necks while other children kicked and hit them in their guts. The school not only saw no serious problem with this, but treated me unkindly once I brought this problem to them. My husband felt the same way with the messages left on his machine by the school staff. The attitude was unacceptable. It takes a good attitude to learn to work through school work, especially the difficult work, with drive and determination to do one’s best. If the teachers have bad attitudes, why should the kids show any different?
I knew the students had bad attitudes. When I saw the same in the principal, the counselor, and the teachers who work with Hunter I realized that he would never learn self mastery, self-control, the joy of learning, the motivation to work hard, and the understanding that hurting another human being is wrong and serious. We brought him home so that we could educate him properly, but also so that my children would see just how seriously we take prison behavior and bad attitudes.
Our youngest son has grown closer to me through our garden and yard-care. We are bonding over keeping a garden journal and have always done our best creative art pieces together. He does his schoolwork diligently and although it gets tough at times, he never makes me feel as though he isn’t giving me his all.
We are okay. When I stopped being lady of the house and I became so sick that I lost 30 pounds in two months I had no desire to homeschool, and could care less about anything other than getting through the day. It made for a difficult marriage. I was trying to stay afloat when life was pulling me down and my marriage was the first thing I stopped caring about. I had no married friends to talk with. I am my parent’s only daughter and they are lovingly protective over me so I have to be very careful about talking marriage issues with them. They are good people who love me very much and want the best for me, obviously. If I said I wanted to leave, they would be here within 24 hours with a moving truck to move me back to Florida. There are only two or three people who know what Chris and I have been through and who would understand the hardships of our marriage and they live in Jersey and Florida so I felt very alone. He was raised very differently than I was and our priorities sometimes don’t line up, but we have love, commitment, and we share a life and a future that makes us hopeful. The up’s and down’s of married life become all down’s after cancer, a botched robotic surgery, and major hormonal adjustments as my body switched from natural hormones over to replacement hormones in pill form. It wreaked havoc on my energy and my emotions. I didn’t sleep for days once and began hallucinating. It was horrendous and tensions were high with me and Husband. But we decided to make it work and we continue to do so. A covenant like ours is one based on more than a piece of paper. We will never stop working on being better people for each other and laying down our lives for the other.
Finally, the biggest change has been in my oldest son. He is extremely close to my husband, his Dad. He pulled away from me when I was ill. He pulled away when his great Grandpa died, almost one year ago. He pulled away when I wanted to move out. He demanded that he stay with his Dad. He was struggling more than I could see… and I could see quite a bit. My son became suicidal, at 9 years old. And I knew nothing about this until recently. Last year he had planned on ending his life. He sought the Lord the night before he planned to do it and he said it was the words of Christ in his Bible and in his heart that stopped him from making the fatal decision. He felt alone with everyone, except while at home. He wanted friends, but didn’t want to leave the house to make them. He felt like a disappointment for not playing sports as he has never been interested in athletics, although he is built to play football. My family has a very rich history in professional and semi-professional sports and refereeing and so it’s unnatural that my boys are not “into” sports. He felt that weighing very heavily on himself. He loves music, dance, he writes, directs, and makes movies with his recorder (used to be mine), and he loves science. He is a total smarty pants science nerd. He is an animal lover and became a vegetarian because it hurt him when he learned that his meat was from animals who were being farmed and killed. He is sensitive to the needs of the earth. He is everything I love about a naturalist. He is my inspiration and he teaches me as much as I teach him. Learning that my illnesses, the pressure to do what he thought he “should” be doing instead of what he loved, and his crippling fear of leaving the house was going to take my son from me, changed me more than anything. It was a faith beyond what I could do for him, that got him through.
I will never say that God tells us to do things. God does not save people from cancer… try telling that to a mother who lost her child from cancer. God does not tell us to do things that make us superstars or heroes. If one believes the Bible, one can learn from Christ’s life and words that God does not care about money, or doing grand things. God cares about things we consider small. He wants us to care for others. To love and to protect and to be forgiving. It won’t get us a ton of attention, but it will change the world more than the giant mega-churches spending thousands of dollars to send kids to Costa Rica to build a shack church for poor people. Loving people, caring for the animals we’ve been entrusted to care for (note: they are not here to be our servants… we are to care for these beings), and tilling the earth to bring forth life and creation from every seed and soil will do more than the grand acts of “selflessness.” Which are not selfless at all by the way. I get that taking trips to other countries is a great thing to do… I hope each of my children gets to do a missions trip at one time or another. But let’s call a spade a spade. It’s more for the people going than it is for the poor folks in Costa Rica. The money spent could be better used. I am taking Consumer Mathematics so I know these things now;)
People are not to be treated like a cause. It makes the Saviors look like a joke. People are valuable and the Lord showed us how much when the gap was bridged between the Creator and Creation. We are one now, like a marriage. I am absolutely sure of faith. My son turned to the Lord in his darkest hour, and he was led to do the right thing in his heart. He told me that he could picture the Spirit of God with him telling him that everything will work out for the good, to stay faithful. The people who are responsible for teaching my son to have faith in someone other than himself are bigger heroes than the ones who are making a spectacle of their heroism. I like to think I had a part in it, being his teacher, his mom, and his counselor at times, but there are so many others who have pointed him towards greatness that I can hardly take credit.
It’s the small things that matter. I know that some folks will think I am being ridiculous by pulling my son out of school over typical school stuff, but they don’t have to live with the consequences of the choice. I do. I have watched the documentary entitled “Bully” and I have read about the failing school system and the ass-backwards Common Core Standards and I want better. I am glad the school is here as a back-up if I need them, but what kind of person would I be if I set out to change the world, yet neglected to do my job as a parent? I think I would probably be the parent of a very academically neglected child, and maybe another child with his emotional needs getting met by drugs, sex, or other bad things kids do to self medicate, instead of calling out to the Lord in his time of need. Or maybe I would have a little guy who wanted to play video games instead of garden and journal. I’ve seen glimpses of the other side as I had to check out of life for a year in order to get better. Now that I am stronger, healthier, and not out-of-the-woods-yet healthy, but definitely confident that God works everything together for the good. If I should get sick again, like long-term sick, which is a real possibility every time I get my bladder biopsied, I trust that the hard times will teach me more than the rest of the good times in life put together.
I hope I go to heaven when I die. When I do, it won’t be the obnoxious Christian heroes, but the ones who sacrifice being the hero in order to love others, to care for plants and animals and preserve the beautiful life giving Mother Earth. I know some people who have been through some stuff, real tough stuff… and in turn they continue to open their hearts and give of themselves. I know what it’s like to reach out and ask for help (in the area of my marriage for example) and get blown off because helping me would not bring them glory. No one would get to know how great they were. I have known others who have sacrificed their nights and their frequent flyer miles in order to serve and help me. Not all of them claim the title “Christian,” but I am sure I will see them in heaven. Some of the most awful people I know are Christians. It makes me cringe to think I would have to spend eternity with them. Maybe getting reincarnated into one of my garden fairies would be a better fit. Seriously, I am not spending eternity with some of the narcissistic Christ-claimers who cloud their selfishness with faith and religion. Real faith saves people. Privately and without the halo over one’s head. Or no faith… no whacking people over the head with all the great things they do because they are so exceptional at their faith… that would be better than people who call themselves Christians but seek attention and praise like it’s going out of style. Get a therapist… there are people we can pay to listen to us talk and they will tell you and me just how great we are. We don’t need to use the name of God to get it. Spiritual crack people… don’t get hooked.
Thanks for reading. It seemed like I would never blog again as I worked through some of these changes alone. Now that I am blooming and bursting with fresh inspiration and a guided spiritual life, I hope to get back to blogging like I used to do. Thanks again for reading.
p.s. off to homeschool my awesome little houligans… will edit later. Excuse the mistakes. When I save a draft with the intention to edit later, it ends up never getting published because I am at a different place. So I shoot, aim, fire… I mean, draft, publish, edit…