In my last post I referenced that poor mama bird nesting in our front yard for a second time. The full summer sun bore down on her for days and days. Her feathers were ruffled as if she hadn’t taken any time for self-care. She looked like she was about ready for a mental break down from the stress of her constant vigil. The babies were born and she is gone now, but I am still left with that image of her in my mind. She was so dedicated to raising those babies right, she even sacrificed her body to the heat and probably her mind too.
I’ve been caring for my nest for almost sixteen years now and there have been multiple seasons where I have felt like that frazzled fowl. This summer was especially hard for reasons I cannot identify with certainty. My age? Lack of proper vitamins? Length of mothering days? Mid life crisis? Settling in to western Idaho life? Just the summer heat that stayed in triple digits for over a month?
Thankfully the aridity has gone for a time and I’ve been “going broody.” I discovered that term on Wikipedia while I tried to find the origins of the term “nesting”. Apparently, nesting is a natural instinct that can be tied to an increase in estradiol when moms about to go into labor increase their activity to get ready for the baby. Animals, bugs and birds all exhibit signs of nesting before babies come along, and when birds do it it’s called, “going broody.”
You might be wondering why I am going broody when I am not even pregnant. The truth is, women continually birth life into this world without actually being physically pregnant. I thought of this while I furiously mopped the floor yesterday. It was overdue for a good cleaning and I questioned why I was doing it at that moment. I had a list a mile long to get ready for school to start and all of a sudden, cleaning the floor became a priority. It reminded me of the times I was close to a baby’s due date and knew time was short. The life I’m about to give birth to again is papers, books and dirty looks (or something like that). I only have a few short days until we begin to home school and then I won’t have very much extra time for deep cleaning, or the energy to do it.
This will be our eighth, and most likely our last, year to be a home school family. My feelings are decidedly mixed. I am sad and also relieved that the end is near. I am determined to have productive last year and also feel like I have senioritis all over again. I am confident that I’ve done a good job and my kids will be ready for “real” school, but also fear that they are far behind and will never catch up.
Even though experience tells me things will be fine, I've still been apprehensive to go about the business school. It's probably why cleaning has taken on such a priority (the new organization system for mail and schedules sure looks nice though). I went on a retreat for home school moms a couple weeks ago in hopes it would give me a nice shot in the arm. It was all about tea and comparing our spiritual lives to that toasty beverage. At the end, we all had to make a tea wrapper to take home with us. Here's mine:
I named my tea Abili-tea. Underneath it is a verse from scripture that says, "I have strength for everything through him who empowers me."
It seems I also have a cheerleader at home. Clare put this up on the fridge the other day and it makes me smile.
Every year I have plans to make an inspirational post about great ideas I've come up with for home school families. Alas, I have not put one together yet. I will leave you with one idea I had this year. Instead of harassing my kids to read, I thought I'd make reading a goal for myself. I've tried to have us all sit down together to read, but electronic devices usually rue the day. I'm not giving up. Here is my own stack of books I'd like to read through before the school year ends. I wish I had a few more fiction books in there, but I think these have some promise of inspiration.
So, another home school year is brought to life through this woman, this mom, me. I know on some days I will be like a frazzled fowl and sacrifice my mind and body to the task. Other days I'll go broody and decide it's time to dust the baseboards when I should be correcting a math lesson. Days will turn into months and this year will come to an end. With God as my strength, I have the abili-tea, and I'll try to remember to be cool because I've got this.