Wednesday, April 22, 2015 will forever go down as one of the toughest homeschool days for Johanna and I. It already started off weird because I am in a transition phase in my life and it has me on edge. I’m not exactly comfortable in my skin right now. I feel like a caterpillar in the middle of my metamorphosis and it is so uncomfortable. But isn’t that what spring is all about? Birthing, changing, becoming a new thing?
Homeschooling itself started off ok. We are currently learning about gardening. Johanna is learning the technical things about gardening, she’s learning about the garden of Eden, and soon enough she will grow her own plant. That part of the day was fine. Then we hit a road block.
Whenever Johanna doesn’t get something right away, she likes to run from it. It doesn’t matter what it is, she wants to suddenly forget that it even exists. Today we were going over our ABC’s because just about everyday we review the things she already knows. She’s known her ABC’s for quite some time, but just like most kids, she stumbles over that whole LMNOP part. So I decided we are going to break it down even further and I would have her do some activities to really learn those letters. Her response? “I don’t want to.” Well, that’s really cute Johanna, but see I’m the parent/teacher and you’re the child, so whether or not you want to learn this is besides that point. You see, Johanna had been running away from learning this for about 2 weeks now and I was over it. Let the battle begin!
It was bad. It was horrible. We ran out of tissue because her nose kept running horridly because of how much she was crying. My throat began to burn because of all of my screaming and yelling. We were indeed at war. I screamed, I yelled, I disciplined, I got sad, I got mad, I got straight up pissed off! She took me through every negative emotion you could think of. I think the thing that got me is that the meltdown wasn’t just one bigthing. She would cry for ten minutes, then just kind of quietly fall out looking exhausted and just… done. Then soon enough it would start back up again!
I decided that I had enough. I left. I put myself on time out. I left her downstairs to roll around in her depths of despair and I went upstairs to remember who I was. And in the midst of it all, the power went out. The power…went out…Can you hear me? Can you hear me sitting over here laughing like a maniac? As if my day couldn’t get any funkier, the lights and appliances in our house started flickering on and off like we were in some kind of horror movie. Actually, I’m pretty sure we were in a horror movie. Mompocalypse 2 – Johanna’s Mama’s Wrath.
I gather our stuff together and do the very thing I should’ve done in the beginning. I prayed. I looked her deep in her eyes and I prayed, then I told her what would and would not happen in this house. We don’t do disrespect and talking back. Nope. Not here, not this family. And enough with the falling out! That’s so 2012 and she’s not a baby anymore so, no! Just as calmly and carefree as she wanted to be she said ok, then proceeded to say LMNOP. Heavy.Friggin.Sigh. Really? She couldn’t have done that previously, maybe before our civil war? Smh.
Today took me to a place I never ever in life want to go again as a parent. It was negative, it was dark, it was bitter. I don’t want that for my life, nor for Johanna’s. She eventually came to me and said that the reason she fell out that last time (because there were several times that day) was because when I went upstairs she thought that meant that I didn’t love her anymore. And it was in that moment that I had to remind myself that Johanna is not built as tough as I am. In fact, I wasn’t built as tough as I am when I was her age. I learned to be this tough in order to survive the situations that occured in my life. In order to preserve myself, I learned to say “so what???” at the things that were handed to me in life. I don’t want that for her. I want her to continue to have that soft, sweet spot like a big ole blow pop with that sweet bubble gum in the middle. I have to remember that she is a kid, and she doesn’t process things the same way I do, so I have to find a way of being tender with her, even when I’m being stern.
I explained to Johanna that nothing in the world could ever stop me from loving her. Ever. There is nothing she could do that could ever make me say I don’t love her. I did tell her that she could make me mad, sad, angry, frustrated, wiped out, irritated, etc., but even in those moments I love her more than should ever be allowed. Even in those moments she is still the best of me and her father and nothing changes that.
The day ended on a decent note, but I’m still rocked by it. I’m still trying to catch my breath and I’m hyper-aware at this very moment that everything I do, or don’t do has an effect on how Johanna will turn out as an adult, as a contributor to this society, as a wife, a friend, a mother. While I’m sure this one day won’t completely change the course of her life, it surely changed a little bit of how I choose to deal with her when things get choppy. Sternness, mixed with love, and never, ever forget to pray.