Friday, January 18, 2013

Toe nails and other important stuff

January 9th, my dearest Kaylynn (10), embarked on an without me. A long weekend in Washington state with Daddy then departing from there to Okinawa, Japan (with only Grandma and Papa....Alan flew back home). This was a Christmas gift to her from her grandparents. A trip to visit Alan's twin brother, his wife, and their six beautiful children. I didn't have much time to think about her trip (as we were spending so much time in and out of the orthopedist's office...that is another blog post entirely, but in short, she has a strange disease that is causing her tendon to rip away from her patella), but as departure date came closer, we became more focused.

While packing the essentials and some non-essentials, I realized this is her first adventure without ME. I will not be there to discover with her. I will not be there to enjoy her reactions or to photograph each moment. I WILL MISS OUT ON AN ENTIRE THREE WEEKS OF HER LIFE!!!! Yes, I am a little dramatic. This is a free space for drama if we need it. So, I had to make sure I gave her every little instruction that she needs for the next three weeks. I updated all the books on her kindle (she reads like a maniac, and the flight to Okinawa is very long), I taught her how to use the mp3 player, I reminded her a million times to make sure her camera was fully charged and ready to use...and then the more important things...the details of everyday life. Like, "honey, don't forget to blow your nose every day. And please remember to brush your hair (yes I still remind her to do this everyday...she could really care less if her hair is brushed), don't forget to shower every other day if you can, and honey please remember all of your manners. Eat what is given to you and be thankful, be a helper, don't argue with your grandparents or your aunt and uncle....And as I am saying all of this, she is almost rolling her eyes and laughing at me because she is naturally a servant and would never argue with her grandparents or aunts and uncles. She is so good natured.

 The morning of her departure was 3:00am. I woke up to get her and Alan ready but had to say good bye at the house (didn't want another three cranky kiddos). I hugged her tight a million times. I told her to have a good time. I told her to write in her journal every day then I told her to remember to do her Bible lessons. Then I told her, Oh, and Please remember to ask Aunt Katie to Clip your fingernails and toenails. Then I shut the door and waved as they drove away. I walked back in the house.

 Then paused.....Clip your fingernails and toenails??!!! My dear daughter is flying who knows how many miles away from me and I remind her to clip her nails? I couldn't fall back asleep. I lay awake thinking about all the things I forgot to remind her to do. I am her daily caregiver, and I will not be her daily caregiver for many weeks. I am confident in the hands that are taking care of her, but I am still the mama and I became crazy with giving directions and reminders. It made me think about how our time together is so much about love, nurturing, teaching. But it is also about preparing. Preparing her to be who she was designed to be. Preparing her to take care of herself. Preparing her for the day when she will need to be ready to clip her own fingernails and toenails.

 But, seriously, I am okay with this. She is in good hands. She gives the BEST re-counts of anything I ask...right down to what she ate for breakfast and how many servings she had, and "Mom, I even blew my nose this morning." Whenever we talk on the phone I get the play by play of everything she did. She always begins, "Okay, mom, I will tell you everything." She is having the time of her life but still missing all of us (which is so important). She is experiencing without us but she is okay. She is happy, she is having fun, and she is learning. What else could I want?

Alan is home, and he brought back some pictures of her time in Washington (they were there for Alan's grandmother's memorial service). They spent time with family and dear friends (yes I was jealous, but we will head out west this summer). I am happy to share those photos in this you a glimpse of the beauty of the pacific northwest and also my happy, smiling, adventurous daughter.

We miss her. We start to say something to her, then we realize that she is not here to talk to. We look at each other and say, "Our family is not complete with only 5; we need our number 6 back soon!" We love you Bo-Baylynn and look forward to seeing you in just over a week!

A Little Sampling

My kids have always enjoyed writing stories...they start by dictating their stories to me. A few years later, they begin writing their own words (mostly misspelled but generally easy to read).

Jeremie, my dear 7 year old, always says, "Mom, it would be so much easier to learn to spell if kids were the ones who decided the spelling of a word." Makes sense, right? Very should be spelled VRE. "Are" should simply be "R."

Then they mature into spelling longer, more difficult words and want to be challenged. I was so inspired by their recent works that I thought I would share a sampling here.

Jeremie (7)

Kaylynn has most recently take to writing poems. She wrote poems for all the grandparents for Christmas. They were delightful. This is one of my most recent favorites of hers.

A horse is standing at the gate
Her mane flowing in the wind
As she calmly chews grass.

Her tail flickers
Her ears perk
At every sound.

She gallops across the prairie
Through the setting sun
and waving grass;
She runs.

And Kalli (5). She dictates her stories to me; then she draws a picture. Most of her stories have to do with princesses or birthdays.

Renee at FIMBY recently shared a little about her family's writing curriculum: Freewrite. I echo strongly this free write philosophy. We have always incorporated free writing into our homeschooling writing time. I value this, and so do my children. They enjoy keeping their writing journals and reading through them from time to time like a book. A journal in the hands of every child: it is a gateway for creativity, expression, and adventure.