Monday, October 15, 2012

Never say never

Several of you have asked how the school year is going so far with Precious Jewel now that we have brought her home. I thought I'd give a little update.
When we went into this endevour, I was terrified. I was terrified of it ending like the last time when I felt like a complete failure at the end of her kindergarten year at home and put her and Mr. Smiles into school the next year. I was afraid of the intense emotions that I had experienced last time with feeling like I had to meet every requirement and need. I was afraid of her losing the new friends that she had finally made in the last couple of years. She had been so lonely the first year of Public School because all her pre-school/Kindergarten friends were homeschoolers and she never saw them anymore. She constantly asked to see them and I had no answers for her. I was afraid we would repeat that and that the homeschool group would already have their friends and she would spend another year alone.
See? Fear. Fear is my biggest obsticle to anything. Fear of failure. Rejection. Getting it Wrong. Ruining my Children.
Fear is what God has been hammering away at in my heart in the last 3 years since we started in Public School. I have learned (in a very short synopsis) that the only thing I need to fear is what God thinks of me and to throw out what the world thinks (a very tall order for an ENFP person). I really haven't arrived yet, but I am not so crippled as before. God has shown me that no matter what others think (and there is always someone who is not going to like me) my husband and I are our children's parents and we are the ones who will have to answer to God for what we do with them. He is the one I need to please and not others opinions.
We struggled for over a year on whether to bring her home. She wasn't very happy. We were losing our connectedness with her and beginning to see her trying to separate herself from us in order to fit in with the ever-changing rules of the girl world--an impossible achievement. On any given day she could be dubbed as the "cool girl" or find her name being passed around in the "dumb girls" list. She would be "let in the circle" on the playground one day and then chased away another. My heart broke for her.
Her values in life were beginning to change and not for the better. Here she was...only 3rd grade and asking me if she was fat, did she need to lose weight, why was her nose so big, why was she so much taller than everyone else, why she couldn't throw out her dolls so that no one would make fun of her, why couldn't she wear the slutty looking clothes (that's what I called them) if that was what would help her fit in. We were seeing our sweet daughter totally demoralized before our eyes. Gone was our confident sweet girl and she was increasingly being replaced by a sullen, tearful, angry and belligerent 3rd Grade!
After the Eye Doctor told us that he thought the root of her eye issues were stress, we decided to take the leap and pull her out.
How has this year gone? Well, the first couple of weeks were difficult at best. She was obsessed with what they might be doing in school at this time or at that time. She complained at the work I was having her do at home. (She is very bright). She was begging to see her friends (on an almost hourly basis). Then things began to settle down a little more and we began to get into a groove.
I also tried keeping her extremely busy. We went to other people's houses....during the day; where, even though all my friends have kids at least 2 year younger than her, she got to play and just be a kid...something I think she'd forgotten how to play when trying so desperately to fit in.
We've done schoolwork in the park, on the hay bales (when baby is napping), on the swing set so we can swing little brother. We've done a lot of reading aloud and Science projects with her brothers when they've come home from school. This has given them all a chance to be a part of each other's days since they are in school. She's helping them with their homework at the end of the day.
The clincher for her being happy at home though was the Secret Keeper Girl Conference we went to at the beginning of the year. At that conference I got to see on her level the struggles she has wrestled with so intensely the past 2 years. We cried, we laughed, we got angry together at what the world was telling her what she should be when it was in direct contradiction with what the Bible says and what we have taught her. She seemed for the first time to be able to breath and put a finger on what was making her so angry and unhappy. It was then that I also became determined to start a Bible Study with other mothers to encourage her in who she was and that she is perfect the way God has created her. She doesn't need to try and change herself to "fit in."
We are still trying to find friends in the homeschool group. I am afraid that friendships are always going to be difficult for her. She has become so shy when she is around others girls. As her mother, I want other girls to like her, but I am also learning that this year, this season, our friendship as mother and daughter are being deepened. She is coming to me more and more with questions and becoming more and more bold in what she thinks. She is learning to re-connect with her brothers and I've seen hers and her daddy's relationship deepen. She is also more content on the days "we just stay home to school."
Our whole goal with bringing her home is to give her a year of rest. We will re-evaluate when the year is over and see what comes next. I am now much more open than I have been in several years to keeping her home if that is what we feel best. I am learning to never say never because that is exactly where God might lead you and it has been a wonderful things.


Joy Lindeen said...

I love you Melinda! You're doing the right thing. Being a people-pleaser is a pain in the bottom!

Christina said...

I don't usually read your blog Miss. Melinda, but I've sort of started to now. I'll be praying for your beautiful precious jewel :), because she is such a sweet girl and she deserves lots of friends! Tell her hi for me, okay? And I'm sure Anna probably would want to say hi too. <3