Monday, July 23, 2012

Really? Who Says That?

I don't get it.  I honestly don't get it.  Some people say the strangest things....

Yesterday we dropped Peanut off for a week of summer camp.  This is the first year she has gone alone as I've counseled out at the camp for the last 2 years with her group.  This year Sissy did not want to go - someone had to stay home with her, so I decided to take a year off.

I was approached by a fellow mom yesterday who asked if I would be out at camp again this year.  I told her no because Sissy really did not want to go and that although Sweet Baby is old enough, she has really been having a hard time lately if her and I are apart.

The response was "Really?  Gee Crystal, you must be doing something right for your kids to want to be around you so much.  My kids can't wait to get the chance to go to camp or get away, but that's ok with me because I don't want to be with them that much anyway."  Now, the kicker is....she said this IN FRONT OF her 15 year old daughter.  And this is not the first time she has told me, in front of at least one of her girls, that she "would never want to spend that much time with her kids".

Are you kidding me?!?!?

Please let me say that I do not love every minute of time I am with my children - and trust me, as a homeschooling mom, it is alot of time.  It isn't always easy, sometimes I want to be selfish and run away,  sometimes I wish I could all the school system for just 1 day a week, BUT.....I love my girls.  I made the choice to have them all, I'm interested in what they do, the memories they make, the young girls they have become, and I want to share that with them.   It is very hard for me to understand the mentality that you would not WANT to be with your kids.

I do understand that, sadly, society has told us that "normal" and "necessary" is that two parents work and that once your children are old enough, we put them on a bus and send them to school.  I do understand that on a surface level.  I was that mom.  Sissy was in public school until 3rd grade, Peanut was in school for kindergarten.  But, it never felt "right".  After awhile, I began examining options.  Homeschooling was laid on my heart and in all honesty, I wanted to ignore it.  I wanted God to leave me alone and go bother someone else.  I loved my girls, I had spent more than 8 years as a stay at home mom, still had a few years to go and was content with that - however, I was excited about the prospect of working again and making some money.

Now, I'm thankful that God did change my heart and open my eyes.  For me, homeschooling, which began as the best educational choice for my children, has become about so much more.  It has become about character training, direction, family time and thankfully a way to shelter my kids from a world that grows them up to fast.  My choice is not the only choice, I do get that but I have such a hard time understanding how a mother could not want to be with their children the little bit of time they are home (after they have spent 7-8 hours in school, mom and dad have spent a day at work) let alone verbalize it in front of their children.

My prayer is that my girls can SEE how happy I am to be with them each day.  That they can see how happy I am that I chose to listen to God's direction.  It is not always easy and trust me, many times I do not show them how blessed I know I am.  I let the day get the better of me - the bickering, the disobedience, the  mess, but in the end, I hope they never grow up and say, "Yeah, my mom didn't want to spend time with me.  She was excited when I had somewhere else to go, someone else to hang out with."    

Sunday, July 15, 2012

AHG Pen Pals Unite!

I know I am constantly sharing about American Heritage Girls and how much we enjoy it, but I've been waiting to share this post with you for awhile now.

Our first year of AHG each of my girls signed up for the Pen Pal program.  AHG takes pains to set up pen pals throughout the program.  Their pen pal program is not merely an exchange of names, the girls are asked a few different questions and some magical elf at AHG picks a match for them.  The girls commit to writing to their pen pal, at least once a month, for one year.  

Peanut and Sissy, although they like the program, each had issues with their pen pals.  Neither of their pen pals seemed to write often enough.  They seemed to get one letter every 5 or 6 weeks or so.

Although the older girsl were a bit disappointed, Sweet Baby's pen pal and her were a perfect match!  They have been writing for the last 2 years and the first year they wrote each other nearly every week.  What excitement for a 1st grader to have a friend to practice writing to!!   We used the opportunity to write back and forth as handwriting and english practice.  

Sweet Baby's pen pal is from Cincinnati, Ohio.  Last March I was able to meet her pen pal, mother and two siblings at a home school conference I attended in Cincinnati.  This year when we planned our trip to Tennessee, knowing we would be driving through Cincinnati, we were able to set up a time for the girls to meet!  It was the sweetest thing to see them together.  They had talked on the phone a few times over the last couple years, but being able to meet was  like a dream come true.  

After driving for much of the day we were able to make it to Sweet Baby's pen pal's home, sit and visit for a couple hours and then we were invited to enjoy dinner with her family.  What a great time!  We truly enjoyed  our visit and hope we will be able to spend time together again.  

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Heavy Heart

It has been a very long week. 

Friday, June 29th I received a call indicating that one of our leaders at American Heritage Girls was killed in a car accident.  Amanda Rouse was one of our Tenderheart badge trackers and one of those moms who was ready and willing to help whenever she was needed.  In addition to serving as badge tracker, she was also working as our PR person - spreading the news of AHG to whoever would listen.  We also were blessed to have Amanda working on a fall fundraiser.  SIGH...Amanda was a jewel to our program.

Amanda was a jewel to her 7 year old daughter as well.

Amanda would have been just as precious to her unborn daughter Sophie - just 4 weeks till Sophie's delivery.  However, sweet Sophie did not survive either.

Of course I know that people die.  It is the circle of life.  THIS however is not something that you expect.  A momma leaving her daughter, her husband and losing her baby at just 34 years old is not what we expect.  It makes you begin to question your own mortality - honestly, I've never done that. I've never pictured leaving my family and certainly not leaving my husband a widower.  I'm sure Amanda never did either.

A couple things I want to leave with you...

1) Don't take anyone for granted.  If someone is making an impact in your life, in the lives of your children, in the life of a ministry...tell them.  Tell them you are happy to see their smile each week at church.  There were a lot of people who were touched by Amanda.  On Thursday, the day of her visitation, 1,000 people walked through the funeral home.  She was important, but did she know that? 

2)  Take as many opportunities to have your picture taken with you children as you can.  So often the moms are the ones taking the photos and we are not in them.  Amanda left behind a 7 year old daughter.  How many memories do you have from when you were 7?  I have very few.  Her sweet daughter will probably have very few, if any, memories of her mom.  At AHG camp, just 5 weeks before the car accident, two of our Pioneer girls wanted to take pictures of all of the moms and their daughters together.  I'm so glad they recognized this need.  Since they were being so thoughtful, we have this picture of Amanda and her daughter.

To honor Ms. Amanda some of the girls from our troop were able to do a flag ceremony of sorts for her.  They posted the United States flag and the AHG flag on either end of her casket.  It was sweet that they were willing to do it for her and her daughter.  At the end of the funeral (which was so packed the could not fit everyone in the room), as we walked by her casket the last time, we saw her daughter sitting in the front row crying.  It warmed my heart when Sweet Baby walked over and hugged her. 

So, remember to tell people that they matter.  We take things for granted so easily.  Remember to tell that special person that they are important and there would be a hole in your life if they were gone.