Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Blessing of Work

I am not generally a fan of routines and work. I have a really hard time staying in any type of routine unless I have someone keeping me on track like a boss or teacher. But I am gaining a new respect for the blessing that routines and work are in our lives. 

The week between Christmas and going back to school was totally without routine. Sometimes we need these kind of breaks where we can sleep in and stay in pajamas all day doing puzzles or reading a book. But too many in a row ... well especially for me right now ... are not good. 

I am so glad to be back in the routine that school forces onto our family. I have especially enjoyed my new commitment to help in Ann Marie's class. I learn so much seeing how my children are being taught in school. I never took any teaching classes in college so I am totally ignorant about teaching methods. It is fun for me to learn how to teach my children and to watch them learning before my eyes.

Ann Marie is in a league of her own in kindergarten. I can't imagine the teacher having the time to spend with her individually to make the work on her level when there are so many kids who are learning their letters and sounds. At parent teacher conferences the teacher told us Annie often did not complete assignments that should be very simple for her. She also said Ann was getting other kids to do her work for her. (That made Jon and I laugh out loud. Jon thought that was rather entrepreneurial of her. I think she was just bored by the work and trying to teach the other kids.)

So, as an incentive to help motivate Annie to do the work the teacher gave her, I volunteered to come in the last 40 minutes of the day during reading time to work with her. This allows me time away from siblings to work alone with Ann Marie and it gives Ann Marie incentive to get her less stimulating work done in a timely manner so she can have time to work with me when I come. 

Yesterday was my first day and the work, while the sheet said it was a first grade sheet, was still way too easy. I adapted the worksheet to make it more interesting for Ann by making her spell and write the words of the pictures and then identifying whether the "o" in the word was long or short. My favorite was when she saw the picture of the pig and trying to think of a word with an "o" in it for that picture she came up with "pork."

Today we had a more interesting concept to go over. We went over the "ow" sounds and how it can sound different in tow and now. All the way home we were thinking of all the words we can with "ow" in them. I had never even noticed that "ow" could make two sounds. 

All in all this time is quickly becoming a highlight of my new routine. And my new routine with the personal scripture time and a bit of exercise has bounced me out of my blues and put me back in a good place emotionally. I finally felt today for the first time since Camille's death that I really love our family the way it is. It just felt right. It felt like everyone is where they are supposed to be and it will be not only "ok" but good to have this little boy who will be four years younger than his next oldest living sibling. I never thought I would feel that way. I am surprised I have today. But it is a gift I will accept with an open heart. 

The Lord meant my family to have a heavenly gap in the middle. I can be glad for the new idea of how my family will look. I am the middle child in my family. As a kid I didn't like this position. As I grew older I saw the benefit of being close with each of my siblings. I lived sort of alone with each of my siblings at some point. 

When I was oldest at home, the twins were with me. When I left the next year for college, I lived in Provo and my sister was my only sibling in town. The next year she graduated and my brother returned home from his mission. I had two years at college with just my older brother. The next year my twin brother join me and my older brother for a year before they left on missions to Guatemala and Chile and my older brother moved to California and I to D.C. 

I feel like Camille will have this same advantage in her own way. She will be able to be with each or her siblings in their own alone times and I hope they will feel a closeness with her born from shared sacred experiences.

For now, I am glad to be doing the routine work that bears the fruit of happiness.


Bridget said...

Thank you. I'm really thinking about your post and how to love the way my family is right now. There should be one month of the year where my five children line up in age. One child per year. With Evan gone, there is a gap in the line up. Unfortunately, unless you know about Evan, you wouldn't guess that there was anyone missing. I hope to have a good peaceful feeling about it someday, too.

I am also in the middle (#3 of 4) of my siblings. I also had the opportunity to attend college and travel with each of my siblings. Three of us were on missions at the same time. I loved it.

Shanan said...

This post made me smile for so many reasons. I'm glad you have the opportunity to help out in Annie's class. I sure do miss that little girl of yours! ... and her wit! ;)

Little Baby-Boy-Waite will fit in perfectly. Can't wait! Need some live-in help?? ha If only ...

tara @ kidz said...

There is a 4-year gap between my only sibling and I (a brother). My mom always worried about having a small family and such a gap, but this was the plan Heavenly Father had for us (We are adopted).

Growing up it was so much fun and I looked up to him so much. I am a girly-girl by heart, but he made me have a bit of a tomboy streak. And now that we're older, married, have kids of our own.... it is heaven on earth. I think you will be shocked at the way gaps are bridged between siblings.

I can't wait to see the way a little boy changes the dynamic of your family. He will bring so much joy.... and dirt! =)

Amanda said...

Wow, your Annie is one smart little girl! It's really great that you're taking the time to keep her on course, she must really love the alone time with you.

I'm glad that you're starting to feel so much better about things.

The NELSON Family said...

Wow! What a smart kid. Thats so great you get to work in her class. I have a kindergartener too and volunteering in his class is one of my favorite parts of our routine!

Marylin and Jimmy said...

I have thought of you often lately because my little boy who will be one the end of this month has started to get into drawers in the kitchen and pull things out and instead of pulling him away and putting it all back I just let him play. The picture of Camille playing in your Kitchen drawer is very vivid in my mind and it makes me love when he does it! I have been thinking for a long time that I would like to send you something and since you frequently speak of treats and food you enjoy I would like to make an apron so if there is a chance that you have time email me at marylinkelley@gmail.com and I can figure out how to mail you the apron! Thanks for sharing your life and that of Camille's with me.

Kaylene said...

That is awesome that you can remember those things and she was able to live with you. I think some of those simple things are left by the wayside with today's busy life.
Just a little tid bit. Our YM did the same thing by learing to make bread then on sunday they used it for the sacrament. My hubby is in the YM and it was a really neat thing for the boys to be a part of. I thought I would share, then the girls could have some part in helping with the sacrament, maybe it would go with one of the values or something. It's been awhile since I've been in YW but I'm sure you could put some type of spin on it!
Thanks for sharing the recipes!

Anonymous said...

It's interesting how we all have different perspectives. I'm praying for another baby, and if it happens quickly, there will be a six-year gap between my youngest and the newborn. For me, that sounds about right. I've been so sad lately that my five-year-old seems so "grown up" and much less dependent on me.

When my youngest goes off to college, my "baby" (the one I'm praying for) will still only be 12. I'll have him/her to enjoy for several more years and not have to worry about the empty nest.

There's a three-year gap between my oldest, a boy, and my youngest, a girl. It amazes me how despite these "differences" they still find ways to play (and fight with) each other!

Maggie May said...

i really enjoyed this post. i'm so glad you are finding new peace.