an impossible and great life

     My life is just impossible! We started homeschooling yesterday.  It is perfectly impossible to get everything done!  Parenting and formation (spiritual, psychological, emotional), 4 children’s schoolwork with a wild and very loud toddler in tow; laundry, 3 meals and snacks, phone calls and emails, and (my least favorite) bills.  Oh my goodness!  I broke into tears at 4:30 when I was on my knees helping the kids straighten their arts and crafts shelf, and a loose and unruly stack of papers and books fell on my head at Mary’s mishandling of them.
     We have started school a week early, so that we can experiment with the order of the day.  We are only doing 3 subjects per child.  We are figuring out chores, coming up with ideas for Annie, etc.  I built in time, so that when something goes wrong, instead of getting upset, I could think, “What do we need to do differently to make this work better?”  (But isn’t that what all of life is about?  Building in that time, and replacing upset with wonder and problem solving!)
     I thought about replacing homeschooling with a local school.  There is a great local school called Mt. Saint Michael’s, and all 4 older kids would fit in perfectly there.  I have been in discernment about that, praying about it and getting sort of excited that this might be my last year of homeschooling.  Ron has begun that prayerful discernment as well.  In moments when it all seems too much, I have that to consider.
    But 2 nights ago, Ron said to me, “Katie, I want to know how you are doing in your discernment.  But as for me, I am so amazed at what they get here that they would not get at Mt. Saint Michael’s.  They are not just going through workbooks–they LOVE their work because of how you talk with them.  They are not just reading for school; they LOVE novels and read for pleasure.  They could get a good education at Mt. Saint Michael’s. But they are not likely to get–that something extra that is hard to explain.  You are truly making them great.  Their ability to solve a problem, their inquiry into great ideas, their love of the poor–even just seeing Clare do the dishes on her little stool at the sink without being asked–these are remarkable children, and your impossible life is making that happen.”
     This conversation happened after the kids were in bed.  That night, the 4 older children and I had had a long discussion about books, and the importance of reading.  Mary wound up compiling a stack of books to read, while Leigh and Clare whipped out their little readers and hammered through one after the other with all their might.  My brain was swimming with every positive chemical the human body affords, as I delighted in this miracle scene.
    Who knows where my discernment will be at the end of the year.  But for now, I’m offering the hardship of each day for the best intentions I have: the spiritual happiness of my friends and family, and for those most in need of mercy.