Saturday, March 7, 2015

Day 641


March 7, 2015

Day 641


Riding out a smaller grief wave today...I woke up really stiff and sore, which didn't help.  I must have slept in one position all night long.  And I woke up to Bella yowling at something which is really unusual.  She is normally a very quiet animal.


The boys have been gone all afternoon at the Deer Classic.  They had intended to go anyway, but then Will was able to get free tickets through his employer, which made it an even better idea.  So it's just been the girls and me.  I've been checking things off my to-do list and trying to get my cooking done for the month.  I've just been so tired, though.  And I'm going to lose another hour of sleep tonight with Daylight Savings time.


I've helped Will write two papers since last night.  He leaves Monday for AZ so he wanted to get some of his work knocked out of the way beforehand.  I actually find it kind of fun to edit his papers and help him figure out how to phrase things.  It makes me think that maybe, if I do decide to go back to college, I might be able to swing the coursework. 


Unless I have to take math.  Then I'm doomed.


Speaking of school...yesterday I took the Littles to meet the principal of the elementary school and tour the building.  It went very well.  I was pretty impressed with the set-up they have there and very relieved to find out that Sam will have more than an hour of recess every day.  The principal told me that they put a high emphasis on keeping the kids active and he thinks that is why the school continues to do well, scoring wise.  In fact, the school is being studied right now by a student doing his doctoral thesis. Pville has increasing poverty rates but, academically, they are remaining steady.  That usually doesn't happen. 


Sam and Lizzie were both very excited after our visit and quite crestfallen when they found out the first day of school is a good five and half months away yet.

So, it looks like I'm really going to do this.  After being such a staunch advocate of homeschooling for more than a decade and encouraging countless numbers of friends to make the same choice for their children,  I'm now reversing directions and plopping most of my kids in the government school system.


Paul would be appalled...maybe.


But I know this is the right thing to do at this time.  It's that calm voice of assurance that I felt in my heart when I knew I was done homeschooling Ben when he hit his middle school years.  It's that same voice that told me we were on the right path when we decided to pursue adoption despite all the logical reasons I had to not do it.  I know this is right.  It doesn't mean I'm suddenly anti-homeschooling.  I have no plans to quit schooling David at home.  I really think homeschooling is the best educational option out there -overall.  But it doesn't mean it's always the right choice for every child and for every family all the time.


It's not right for me right now.  And that's ok.  I am fully satisfied at the moment that Sam, Lizzie, and Ellie will thrive in the public school and will be well-educated.  Maybe not perfectly so, but well, enough, anyway.  I am learning that "good enough" is acceptable too, in a lot of areas.   But I suppose in deciding this I may be criticized by others who believe that homeschooling is not an individual choice, but a directive by God.  I can't live my life for the good opinions of others, though.


It was so cute yesterday.  Before we left for the school, David caught my attention and said, "Listen!"  Out in the kitchen, Lizzie was loudly practicing counting by tens.  She then told Sam that she sure hoped she knew enough math for the school to let her in!


At the meeting, the principal asked the three of us if we had any questions.  I had come with a list, but before I could say anything, Sam replied, "Well, yes, Yes, I do have some questions!"  Most of his had to do with lunch and recess but he just cracked me up.  I never realize how much he's been thinking until he opens his mouth.


Yesterday must have been all about schooling.  Just a couple hours after we got home from visiting the elementary and starting the registration process over at the superintendent's office, I had to pick up Will in Ankeny.  We had an appointment at DMACC with an admissions counselor.


That went well.  I have an appointment up there later this week to file our FAFSA and from there Will just needs to fill out his application and attend an orientation meeting.  It sounds very affordable and flexible.  Will has options of taking some of his classes on-line and at closer campuses than Ankeny, too.  His thinking is that he'll get his AA degree in 3 semesters and from there transfer to a 4 year school to wrap up his degree.  Hopefully, by the end of his time at DMACC he'll be closer to figuring out exactly what it is he wants to do with his life!


He has just become convinced as the school year has progressed that Faith is not for him.  He never intended to attend there more than two years anyway.  He has really enjoyed his classes and told me just yesterday that he's been discovering some real treasures in the school library.  He wants to find out if they will still let him in there just to read once he's no longer a student!  But he hasn't been overly fond of dorm life or some of the more stringent rules.  And that makes sense.  He has always been very independent and mature and I am beginning to get a better idea as time goes on just how much of Paul's role Will assumed after his death.  I rely on him quite a  bit, which I never intended to do.  But he's so capable and willing that it has been easy to hand off a lot of responsibilities to him.  So, anyway, I can see how it would chafe to have to live with things like curfews  and dorm room inspections and things like that.  Will is not a "people" person either (meaning he's like both his parents - perfectly content with their own company and not needing routine interaction with other humans) which I suppose makes communal living in a dormitory more of a pain.


I guess this may end up being the year of teeth in our family.  As I mentioned before, Ellie is having major dental surgery in April.  Also that month we will find out if Ben gets to have his wisdom teeth out this summer.  This week Will went to our new dentist for the first time for a routine check-up.  One of the things he wasn't too crazy about our old dentist was that for several years they've been pushing him to get his wisdom teeth taken out.  Well, this new guy took a look at Will's jaw and told him he'd better get them out sooner than later.  I can't remember everything Will told me but it's something about the angle at which the teeth are growing in.  So, now we need to go see an oral surgeon.


Will was supposed to build me some L-shaped bookshelves for the upstairs landing during those three weeks he's finished at Faith and before he heads back up to camp for the summer.  It sounds like he'll be recovering from dental surgery instead.  Sigh...Oh, and I was hoping Will wouldn't have his  teeth done until he's fully independent so that I wouldn't have to pay for it.  No such luck, I guess!


The other day Ellie said, "I have to go to preschool cuz I'm not grown up yet!"  I guess that's one reason.


Will and I had our taxes done this week.  For the first time in forever I didn't get a refund.  In fact, I owed money.  I was shocked.  I figured the fact that I have no real income other than a little pension of Paul's and Social Security and the fact that I'm raising fifteen million children would ensure I'd be getting a refund.  Although, I guess if I think that through...a refund implies that you paid in too much.  Since I didn't really pay anything why do I think I should be owed anything?  It had to do with the money I invested - apparently you get taxed when you make a profit on stuff like that.  Bummer.


My tax guy was pretty surprised, too.  He's also my lawyer and I pointed out to him that I had not yet received a bill for  Ben's guardianship work.  He said yeah, he knew that.  He was waiting until I got my taxes done.  So, we wrapped that up and he handed me my bill - $525, which is actually less than I was anticipating.  But still...a word to the wise.  Don't get involved in anything that's going to require a lawyer at some point.  They are expensive!  Anyway, he felt so bad about my lack of refund that he knocked $25 off the price of doing our taxes and told us he wouldn't charge for Will's. 


Really, I am ok with the lack of refund.  Will assured me repeatedly that long-term, I'm going to come out ahead, financially, doing what I'm doing.  It's really not a good position to be in when you rely on a hefty refund in order to make your bank account smile.


I read something interesting this week about black hair.  I haven't ever given a whole lot of thought to hair, black or otherwise, other than my attempts to bring it into some sort of order.  What I read asserted that the afros of the 1970s were, in fact, an "in your face" statement to the white world.  Essentially, this fashion grew (no pun intended) out of the Civil Rights movement a decade earlier.  It was a way of saying "We're not going to be repressed any longer." 

Be that as it may, I have come to realize from different adoption and hair boards I'm on, that white adoptive mothers often choose to style their black daughters' hair in what is called "free hair" meaning, it's basically an afro - sometimes slicked back with a head band or bow.  It's all I've pretty much been able to do for the last year or so since the girls' hair fell out after getting it relaxed.  But this is actually frowned on in the black community.  Also, it's quick and easy and gives my clumsy white fingers a break from attempting to make braids and twists.  So I guess the era of making a statement with their hair has passed.   Evidently, it's more acceptable in the black community to style your daughter's hair in what is called "protective" styles - corn rows, twisties. ropes, etc.  I wonder if black women can look at a black child and know immediately if she's adopted simply by looking at her hair?


PS: Tonight  Lizzie is rocking free hair and Ellie has 8 pretty impressive parts all over head.  I'm so proud of those!


I was doing some shopping the other day.  I still didn't find anything for myself.  It had better stay cold for awhile longer because I have very few clothes for this spring and summer.  I cannot find anything I like.  But, anyway, I found this shirt at Kohls (that I did not buy).  Across the front was written, "Enjoy the little things."  Think about that.  Across the front...across the chest...yeah, probably not a message you want to be imparting to the world...


 I have this custom made necklace that I bought oh, a couple of years or so before Paul's death.  It consists of a tiny little pearl hung by two 1/4" gold disks.  One is stamped with an "S" and the other with a "P."  I've continued to wear it since Paul's death.  In fact, I wore it the night of his viewing.  It's one of those things that still makes me smile and even gives a certain amount of comfort when I do wear it.  I have a little bamboo box on a bathroom shelf.  I wear jewelry almost every day so I've made it a practice to put the stuff I take off at night into the box and then I empty it every so often.  This necklace has a very fine chain that easily tangles.  Today I noticed it was wrapped around a bracelet so a little bit ago I carried the two pieces into the other room so I could work on untangling them from each other and hopefully not making any knots in the gold chain as I worked.  I got it done and to my surprise, when I held up the necklace, one of the gold disks had slipped off.  That's never happened before - ever.  I knew before I looked, though, which one it was.  Sure enough, the "P" is gone.  I'm assuming/hoping it's in that little box and I can find it and slip it back on the chain.  I haven't looked yet.


I have really tried hard to not look for meanings and symbolism since Paul's death.  I know that's a very typical response of the grieving and I've wanted to stay away from that kind of thinking.  But, I do have to wonder.  Is it only coincidence the P is no longer on my necklace?  It sure seems to be symbolic, if nothing else.


Last week I ran, ran, ran.  The next two weeks shouldn't be quite as busy, although March is definitely shaping up to be more active than January and February were combined.  On tap this week is a little bit of work up at City Hall, taking the kidlets spring clothing shopping - I have a few gaps in their wardrobes to fill and then they should be set for warmer temperatures.  I'm getting our FAFSA done Thursday and that evening Ben has a choir concert.  Friday I am having lunch with the girls' brothers' adoptive mother.  We have a family gym night in Martensdale one night.  And then Saturday I'll be heading to Iowa City for a few hours to watch Ben's dance routine - all 2 minutes and 17 seconds of it.  Oh, he also has 3 practices this week that I need to fit into my schedule.  So, yeah, maybe it is going to be kind of a busier week.


That's all right.  I just need to keep moving.  Toward what...I'm not sure yet.  I've always worked best when I've been counting down time to something enjoyable...a new baby, a trip, stuff like that.  Right now, I don't really see anything in my near or distant future that gets me all that excited. 


But that's all right.  Elisabeth Elliott always said, "Do the next thing."  I feel like that's all I've been doing for the past 21 months.


 I don't think God is displeased.






























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