There was no travelling today, as we recovered from a week camping “in Cornwall” and Husband eased himself back into work. When he had finished, I spent the afternoon finishing the Eldest’s new desk (which I think I photographed last week). Still, it’s so pretty, there’s no harm in sharing twice!
Family film night and we reverted back to The Greatest Showman: always good for a dance around the living room and getting the kids nice and wound up before bedtime!
Pentecost. (Jargon Buster: This is the day we celebrate the arrival of the Holy Spirit.) Our online service seems to go down quite well this week, as I don a fake beard and try to tell the story with a straight face, after hearing Husband tell live viewers: “My wife is wearing a costume and I’m really excited!” Perks and pitfalls of the job, I suppose!
Afterwards, I video call my mother and we both end up in tears, largely by talking about hugs. (My sister is due to have a baby this week and I think the anticipation has everyone triggered.)
In the afternoon, Husband is around and so I take myself off on a kind of Pentecost pilgrimage. It’s quite a long and complicated story to go into here, but I guess, in short: God has been slowly getting my attention over the last few weeks. (And not just with Ice cream, I might add!) See, I arrived here- geographically and spiritually– as an intercessor; that is, someone who is quite specifically committed to praying for other people. (I’m talking bloody knees, sweat and tears kind of prayer here). However; while the last 6 years of bearing some quite particular burdens gave me a wealth of experience and some glorious stories about God’s Grace and Mercy, (both in times of immense joy and acute pain); the last year in particular simply proved too much. (As I attempted to explain here). So, like the loyal, Biblical-style hero that I am, of course… I quit.
One hundred and twenty three percent… DONE.
I know, you’re laughing too. I mean, that was never going to wash really was it?
Still, it’s been a nice break!
Quietly, over the last few weeks, God has brought a new, specific set of people into my path in such a manner as to leave me in no doubt that it is Him. And that this is still me. And so, by this weekend, with the pieces of the puzzle finally in place, I decide that Pentecost is probably a pretty good day to act upon it. So, I take a sunny walk to our previous vicar’s house, chatting and praying with one of my closest confidents on the way; sit in their garden, have oil thrown at me from 2 metres away and leave feeling thoroughly re-commissioned! Because, well, that’s just the sort of crackpot thing us cracked pots tend to get up to from time to time…
The day of many emotions.
Last night I had a good sleep; this morning I have had a good shower, a good prayer time, and even a good go at PE with Joe. We’ve had a holiday, we’re refreshed, we are ready and raring to go … aren’t we?!
Turns out it’s not all about me. No matter how much “umph” I think I have this morning, the kids wipe the table with their faces and groan like Burgens with hangovers.
Just as I am about to rip out my hair in frustration, Mini Mate (the Eldest’s BFF from Vicar College) and her family drop by; standing in the front garden while we chat through the open window. It’s so, so good to see them, but the knowledge that they’re moving to the other side of the country soon weighs heavily: I can’t quite believe this could be the only time- and way- that we get to see them before the go. The kids actually cope quite well afterwards, (perhaps due to lack of understanding); but I am a mess. I swallow a lump in my throat and try to coax them back into school, but it’s no good. The Eldest asks me to spell simple words that she knew three months ago and my emotions get the better of me: she’s regressed! She’s regressed and it’s all my fault!
I cry. I don’t want to, but the tears come and they won’t stop. The kids ask me what is wrong and I don’t know what to say; I’ve tried my hardest to protect them from all of the negative consequences of this virus. Don’t name it that you miss their friends. Don’t name it that they should be in school. Don’t make them sad! But suddenly my own sadness overwhelms me and I can’t stop it from spilling out.
The surprising and lovely thing is, however, that in this moment my sadness doesn’t infect them, it affects them. Suddenly, their lethargy vanishes and they busy about trying to cheer me up; the heart of which is enough to stop the tears for a moment! Then the Boy- my gorgeous-hearted Boy- suggests we video call my oldest friend in Australia. Of course, we can’t do that because of the time difference, but we do leave her a video message and it is actually a really lovely idea and does cheer me up. That is, of course, until the kids disappear and I realise that I am actually just talking to a blotchy-faced picture of myself- just wishing that I could see her face and talk to her instead! And so off we go; the fawcett reopens and waterworks come and it’s all just very silly. I mean, there is no point in missing this woman- she lives on the other side of the world! Missing her is a standard part of adult life. But it is way too much today.
Husband comes home and asks what’s up. Apparently the blotchy face and feral children gave it away? He argues every point in an attempt to bring me back down to Earth: “the school are unprepared, its a nightmare, she’s safer here, she’s learning loads, we’ll see them before they go… Australia isn’t THAT far away….?”
At which point my lip wobbles again and I realise that all of these things are mere branches above the great big root of the problem: MY SISTER IS HAVING A BABY AND I WON’T GET TO SEE THEM!
The tears flow once more. We are 3.5 hours away but it may as well be 3000 miles at the moment. It’s all a bit too much today.
So we have the afternoon off and finally redeem ourselves in the evening. After tea, I take the kids for a bedtime walk in the woods. There’s super long grass and the Boy throws his shoe at me for a laugh. Husband appears and we all run to meet him like some cheesy movie reunion. He asks why the Boy has one bare foot? At this point we realise we have no idea which part of the big, big field with the big, big grass we were just playing in, and spend forty-five minutes looking for his shoe! Finally, after a hand-holding prayer vigil, the Croc turns up and we all skip home! Well, isn’t that a pip?!
Today is a new day!
I realise that the one thing that is baffling and bothering me the most at the moment is Phonics. So, after largely avoiding screen time thus far, I flick through some of the resources on the laptop suggested by the school. We try out Teach Your Monster To Read and hit the absolute jackpot! Not only does this teach them, but it entertains and engages both older children for over an hour- unsupervised! My mind is blown. I play games and read books with the two year old, before discovering another stroke of pure genius:
A tray of poster paints and an old plastic Wendy House keeps the Youngest busy for ages. And I don’t just mean Toddler-Ages, I mean real life AGES.
In fact, all three children are kept busy for so long that I get my own furniture out. The sun is out too, so the chalk paint dries so fast I get all three coats done by the afternoon! The Boy helps with the final coat, which is lovely – slightly stress-inducing- but lovely. I finish it off with wax in the evening and am rather chuffed with it! Definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, but certainly mine! TA DA!
I do, however, go to bed thinking about photo walls and colour schemes. And it is way too early for that yet…
Wake up thinking about… photo walls and colour schemes. No good! Delete all associated apps and pray hard for a clear head.
We manage a much more school-focussed day. The kids are loving their Monster so- get this– the online Phonics game becomes a reward for completing other English work! How jammy is that?! As they play, the Youngest is amazing me with her rapidly increasing vocabulary and the things she seemingly remembers from before lockdown. (I mean, seriously, all the other two could say was “Peppa” until they were about three so, hey… at least one of the gang is ‘exceeding expectations’ over here!)
Our Creation-meets-Science theme this week is plants and trees, so we have a lot of fun making this together:
Unfortunately, all our Maths lesson consists of is baking cookies… but hey, at least we now have cookies?!
On Wednesday evenings I do an online prayer course with some folks from Church and it is really good this week. (We are following the ‘How To Pray’ series with Pete Greig; helpful for both experienced pray-ers and novices, I think! You can find the YouTube videos here.)
A funny kind of day!
So, last night we watched Zootropolis with the kids. The Eldest asked if Gazelle was a real singer, and of course she is and so thus marked the day that my children were introduced to the legend that is Shakira (Shakira). I mean it was bedtime, but they found my weakness and so earned themselves an extra half an hour dancing around the living room singing Waka Waka. I feel like life was made for moments like these!
Then comes the morning after.
The morning after (that is today), we read books, make posters about planting trees (yeah, I know, on paper…); write up some sentences and then figure, really… I really ought to tackle Maths.
They don’t want to do the Maths.
But we need to do the Maths,
They don’t want to do the Maths.
But they DO want to watch Shakira…
Lo and behold friends, by Thursday afternoon, with yesterday’s cookies still fresh on the side… I bribe my children to do schoolwork with Shakira (Shakira)!
I mean, I feel like I ought to take a bow or something? Today is a good day!
Much of the same, really. You know, times tables, reading books, teaching the monster; measuring things, playing games, colouring in; Try Everything, Whenever Wherever, Obsession, Waka Waka, The Hips Don’t Lie… The usual!
I am also amused that this brown handprint has remained on the bathroom door since Tuesday. It is just paint and I should wash it off really, but no one is coming in and it makes me laugh, so… there we go! What an unfortunate image:
I think that’s it for now…
Oh, except, for ground-breaking news: In the evening, the kids and I discover that Pop have started streaming SERIES 3 of The Miraculous Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir! I mean, this is BIG! So big that Husband mocks me mercilessly for letting them stay up later to watch it… when ideally he’d like them in bed early so we can order a Chinese and watch grown-up things like Captain America…
Somehow the irony is lost on him?!
At the end of the week I feel… all over the place! Don’t we all?!
Thanks for reading! Much love xxx