Last month we had our traditional Taco Tuesday. We tend to do this twice a month and it’s always a cause for great excitement at the Frank Corner Café. In a not-so-uncommon lapse of judgement after our meal, my teenage son commented on how he didn’t think my effort in putting the meal together was that big of a deal. After all, he had made tacos in his eighth-grade home economics course at school, it’s really not that hard. Now, every primary cook in every household in America knows that making tacos really is not that hard. But there was something in the way he said it, something that smacked of ingratitude in his remark. So, I told him that the next time we had tacos, he could make them.
I put tacos on the menu for this Tuesday, but a way too long baseball game meant that by the time we got home, I had to whip up some Hamburger Helper (that’s right, we’re Hamburger Helper people) so everyone could eat before getting to bed late. Wednesday was more baseball and another late night. So, Taco Tuesday was moved to Thursday, and even though my son worked all day at his part-time job, I told him that before baseball practice, he needed to get tacos on the table. Knowing I was serious, he went right to it.
Last night my oldest daughter and I went to a birthday party. The drive was over an hour, but it was a surprise for my cousin who was turning 30, and completely worth the trip.
It was already late when we started home and my gas gauge was telling me I had less than 1/4 of a tank of fuel. I opted to hit the local gas station on the way out of town, knowing that most of the scenery for the next sixty miles was fields of freshly planted corn and soy beans. I was on the phone with my husband as I pulled in. Every right side gas pump had a car sitting at it except one just on the end. Just as I spied it, a motorcycle crossed in front of me and snatched it up. Like a thermometer, I could feel my frustration rising quickly. How easy it would have been for the cyclist to pull around to the other side of the pump. And just when I moved my mini-van to wait behind another vehicle further down the row, he did just that. He pulled around, leaving the space I wanted wide open, and me, unable to return to it.
The truth is, it’s hard. Just when there’s harmony with one child, there’s discord with another. It feels as if all the progress, all the ground I’ve gained is crumbling under my feet and somehow I have to start at the beginning again. Only not with someone simply confused or curious, with a child openly hostile to my very presence in their life. I’m supposed to be strong. I’m supposed to be mature. I’m supposed to be patient and giving with a sensitive heart of flesh for their feelings, and a heart of stone for my own.
Right at the edge of our property line is a row of tall, thin pines. (Whether the pines are ours or the neighbors is a question for my husband.) A few weeks ago, our neighbor informed us that a mallard duck had made a nest at the base of one of the pines and had seven eggs she was tending. What excitement! It soon became a favorite activity of the household to check on the eggs. Sometimes Mama Duck was present and unintentionally we scared her away. Other times, she had left them briefly and we could inspect the progress. Soon we would have ducklings toddling about Frank Corner. All we could do was wait.
But sometimes nature isn’t so kind. And in our part of the country, there are wild coyotes that prowl our rural neighborhoods. We received the disappointing news that the nest had been raided. A full thirty seconds of genuine disappointment ensued. (Being raised with farm animals, the children were able to recover quickly.) But last Sunday my youngest came to the bathroom door where my husband and I were getting ready for church and informed us that not all of the eggs had been eaten. There was still one egg intact!
Last weekend we attended the 2016 Indiana Association of Home Educators Convention in Indianapolis. We are planning to start homeschooling our youngest three children in the fall…because we just don’t have enough going on.
Often when we tell people that we have decided the best thing for our family is to educate our kids at home, people look at us like we’ve just confessed to being child abusers. But, while there are many reasons parents choose to homeschool, and many reasons we decided to homeschool, a large part of our reason is to build relationships through quality time.