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.