I spoke in an earlier post of trying to remember to slow down and pace ourselves, and then in my last post of a new home ed group that we went to this week. The two seem to be at odds in my mind. I am in danger of returning to my attitude of trying to fit in everything and not miss anything. I think it’s fair to say that as a teenager and young adult I was quite needy; I always wanted to be everyone’s friend, to be invited to every party, to be everyone’s confidant. I’ve started to see the same trait in Sophia and it has scared me. It wasn’t a fun attitude to life; always rushing from one thing to the next, never happy in the moment, never content with not being able to make everything perfect. It is an ongoing battle within me. As I entered the world of motherhood I realised that children being the little imitators that they are, I had to nail some of my less desirable traits on the head before they were picked up by the offspring. I succeeded in some areas – I will try more new food than I used to and seem to have overcome my (at one point uncontrollable) fear of being in an empty house. The stories of calling friends over to search my 3 storey house with a kitchen knife whilst I was alone or of my young sister making me cry (whilst I was a teenager) by hiding in a wardrobe in my room are ones for another post….
But this desire to be part of everything, to be liked by everyone, the constant worrying…this one is hard to shake. Sophia isn’t even 3 but on a few occasions has mirrored it back at me. So I return with a renewed vigour to working on it. I need to show her how to exalt in the moment, in the imperfections, how to not need to rely on others or things beyond her control for her happiness. As a family who love Jesus I want to teach her that he is the only person we truly need.
So with that in mind, I felt that I had succeeded in concocting a fairly rhythmic and relaxed week that worked for us. We were doing 2 scheduled groups, going to friends once or twice, having a home day and making some time each day whilst Isaac slept to sit down and do whatever took her fancy (reading, stencils, puzzles, reading eggs..etc) just me and her.
Then we were invited to this new group. And it sounds ridiculous, even as I type, to have been thrown into so much turmoil from it! I guess it’s just that it results in two busy days in a row for us and I know from experience that this doesn’t work for Sophia. But I really enjoyed it this week!
The kids made some bread together and whilst it was rising and baking we went out and they had a list of things to take photos of (something old, something special, something new, something blue, something dangerous….etc). I loved the insight into a young child’s mind; Sophia took a picture of a wall for her something dangerous because it was high, a picture of me for her something happy and a picture of the sea because it was sparkling (not on the list but my, that girl loves the seaside). We pottered down to the beach while completing the lists and they had a run around before heading back for a shared lunch and some stories before we left.
It was a really lovely morning but tired her out. Also, although there were other children her age they were all boys and she didn’t seem ready to engage in their more rowdy games, instead hovering back holding my hand most of the way (completely out of character for the most confident and chatty child I know who usually dives in with both feet without so much as a glance in my direction). I’m torn as I think it may tip the balance of our week into busy and am acutely aware that there isn’t much point in continuing to go if she’s not getting so much out of it. But on the other hand, she may have just been shy as it was the first week and she really did enjoy the activity of taking pictures….
So I have resolved that we will go again (if they’ll have us!!) and will make a decision from there.
But right now I am meditating on Proverbs 31 and in particular verses 25 and 26 and hoping I’ll find the direction I need:
‘Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.’