Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Swimming, Sunscreen and School

Today was a very important day: it began the one month countdown until school starts. This one day shifted our focus from enjoying these lazy summer days to doing everything we can to savor what precious few days remain. Yesterday, I filled in the dates on my dry-erase calendar for the month of July. There were a few leftover boxes at the bottom so I went ahead and marked the first few days of August. I was tending to a dirty diaper today when I heard a big groan from the kitchen followed by "Huh??". My mommy ESP told me that Jacob had spotted it. There, on the calender in big orange letters, were the words "August 6 - First Day of School". I listened as he proceeded to say to himself how unfair that is, that last month went by too fast, he wasn't ready for school.... I got up to walk into the kitchen so that we could talk about it before he broke down and started crying. When I entered the room, however, there was no Jacob. I called upstairs for him. He happily said, "What?". "So, he's already over it. That was fast," I thought. Then, I looked over. August 6 was suddenly a blank day on the calendar. It no longer stood for anything. It was not a dreaded date or one that would start a countdown into motion. It just blended in with the other seamless days of summer. Smart kid. I wished it were that easy. Just erase the dates we don't want to face. Maybe they would never happen.

I called him down and we talked about why he erased it and he said he didn't want to go back. He was having too much fun being at home. He said that he decided that he wanted to be homeschooled, something we've been praying about but haven't commited to just yet. If you would've asked me 3 months ago about homeschooling, I would've said, "No way. It's great for other people who have the patience, but not me!" I can't exactly put into words why I have since changed gears. All I can adequately say is that it was a complete, instantaneous change in my heart. I literally felt it. The change didn't tell me that I HAVE to homeschool my child. It simply told me that it was unfair that I haven't ever considered it, weighed it out and given it to the Lord to decide. Since that change of heart, I've read a homeschooling book and gotten excited about the possibilities, talked extensively with Jason and peppered my conversations with Jacob about what-ifs. Still, I'm not sure if the timing is right since I stay so busy looking after two little ones all day. But, I'm willing and open to do it if God's will reveals it.

Back to our summer. I have to admit, I wasn't exactly thrilled about the prospect of entertaining 3 kids all summer long. During the school year, I had gotten into my routine with the babies at home and when big brother got home at 3:15, the house seemed as if it would burst from all the noise, activity, crying and utter chaos on some days. A whole day filled with those things....oh my! But, much to my pleasant surprise, this has been the best summer in years. The biggest decision that I have to make some days is what bathing suit to put on Micah. The pool has been our salvation, an aroma of sunscreen clings to us and afternoon naps are our respite from the hours in the sun. I can't get enough of the tan lines between the rolls in Micah's arms (all 4 of them), the brown biscuit that Eli has turned into and the sweet company of Jacob. During school, we were battling each other quite a bit. The ease of the summer has brought with it a new joy in our relationship. I have discovered how well-mannered, fun and caring he truly is and what a great UNO and not-so-great Yahtzee player he is.

In these short 6 weeks, we have squeezed in every bit of activity possible. While the activities fill our calender, the friends and family that share in our fun fill our hearts. The calendar for the whole month of July for now is eerily blank, something we're not accustomed to. All the big summertime plans have already passed. All that stretches out before us between now and August 6 are blank slates in which we have the luxury of filling in any way we wish. There's only one thing I'm sure of: there will be lots more sunscreen. And, for August 6th? Again, the calendar reads, "First Day of School" in big orange letters but with one exception. Right next to those words is a blue frowny face.

Here are a few highlights of our summer:

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