The title is a description of my old life...but these days I ramble on about widowhood, homeschooling, single parenting, adoption, special-needs parenting, & living a life I never planned for or expected - a life that God, thankfully, continues to strengthen & equip me for daily...
Saturday, March 7, 2015
DIARY OF AN UNWILLING WIDOW
March 7, 2015
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
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 abit, 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 curfewsand 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 histeeth
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 forBen'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: TonightLizzie 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...
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
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
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
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.