Friday, February 1, 2019

The Ups and Downs of Life

There have been a lot of ups and downs over the past week or two.  It's hard to keep up with the roller coaster of emotions that go along with those ups and downs.

* Seth read his first real book ever...one of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books.  His reading is finally, blessedly coming along for real!  I've often thought of the process of learning how to read something like climbing a mountain - it's really, really exhausting, uphill work and sooo hard; then finally, just when it seems like it's never going to happen, all of the sudden you're at the summit looking down an easier path.  Seth has crested the summit; I believe that the hardest is behind him.  It has been years of effort and hard work, and it is paying off.  He is working five days/week with me, and twice a week with a tutor, and I am so proud of his hard work.  Recognizing his progress and seeing it confirmed has definitely been one of the 'up' points of the last week or two.

* All three of my children are in raging puberty, and the number of volatile emotions flying around here is enough to make me, quite literally, insane.  Added to this the turbulence of their pre-menopausal mother and we're really a hotbed of emotional mess!  I'm not quite sure if I'm going to survive the teen years...and I have a lot of years to go yet.  This would not be an 'up' part of the last week or two.

* Sunday morning was a historical moment for we five - it's the first time ever that we all went to the gym together!  The kids and I have been trying to go somewhat regularly (three times/week is our goal), and finished a one month membership last week; and over the past week Geoff got to the gym a few times, too.  So a few days ago, we all signed up for a three month membership!  We likely won't get there all together very often, but today was a watershed for us.  Definitely a positive aspect of the last couple of weeks.

* My mom's health is always fragile over the past couple of years - she was in the ER last week, and has had numerous medical appointments since then, trying to figure out what's going on with her various issues.  That is never a good point of any week.

* Matthew continues to cope relatively well with his various academic pursuits.  The load for his English Lit/Writing class is significant, in particular.  This week he started Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, which I am reading aloud to him (I loved this book back during my English Lit days at university, and it's already proving delightful for me to re-engage after a long absence).  Matthew's writing is improving monthly (as are his keyboarding skills, slowly but surely), and he is learning lots of different writing techniques (essay writing, persuasive writing, newspaper reporting writing, descriptive writing, etc etc). This is seeming to be on a good trajectory.

* As I mentioned in my earlier blog post, it seems that any one of the kids is almost always mad at me.  When I make parenting decisions, I do not automatically make the same decisions for all three kids - I've never been someone who makes the same rules/parameters for all of the kids.  Instead, my inclination is to consider the needs of each child individually, and to make allowances or restrictions or parenting decisions based on each child's need.  As a result, however, one child or another almost invariably feels treated unfairly, because their only basis of comparison is how their siblings are treated, and because they're not mature enough yet to understand how I parent or to see that in the bigger picture, their needs (and often their wants) are met.  It just gets tiring sometime, to be the object of someone's wrath or another one's death glare.  It's emotionally tiring and takes a lot of resilience on my part.  In my most tired moments, I have often toyed with the idea of treating the kids essentially the same (this is how our culture usually works, it seems), but there's just something in me that rails against this approach; my children are very different from each other and have different challenges, different strengths, and different needs.  At any rate, I've been finding myself quite discouraged on this front of late...definitely not a recent highlight.

At any rate, I'm hanging in there.  Surprises like my experience last week at Pine Ridge are so precious...I'm still so moved when I think about what that young woman did for me, what God saw fit to do about the need I had.  I'm a big believer that we can't fully experience joy or satisfaction if we don't also experience the opposite of those feelings sometimes.  So I'm ok knowing that life continues to move, change, surprise, and test us.  I've got a God beside me that cares a lot about where my heart is at, and I am thankful for this.


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