Thursday, August 27, 2015

Our first rodeo

Well... it's Allie's 3rd week of school and my eye has been twitching for 3 days straight. Ha!

This parenting journey Zach and I are on is a funny one, a highly unusual one. For years we've really been on the parenting-lite plan. Not by choice, but just by the nature of having Allie so infrequently. Previously, our time was primarily just quality, family time based around holidays and vacation. However, virtually overnight we were launched into full-time parenthood. And not just any season of parenthood, but 100 mile an hour, high school parenthood. Most of the other high school parents around us are 10+ years older and have done this "back to school" thing 10 times x however many children they have, and this is our very first rodeo. Gulp! We've never packed a lunch bag, never coordinated pick up and drop off, never filled out emergency cards and created online lunch room accounts. We've never gone to school orientation, interacted with teachers or dealt with homework, tests, and grades. In the past, I only bought cute, stylish clothes for Allie to have during her times with us. Now we are busy buying gym uniforms and chorus concert attire rentals. We've also never dealt with peer pressure, negative influences, and full throttle exposure to all that public school brings. Our evenings that were previously rather slow and unscheduled are now a set routine of homework/homework review, dinner/devo, clean up, Allie shower/prep for next day and a punctual bedtime of 9 pm (for Allie at least). It goes by in a flash.

Although Allie is managing the overall transition very well, the academic portion of this new beginning is very challenging. There is a lot of catch-up having to take place and academic muscle that needs to be formed. The academic intensity is stretching her in ways she has never had to be stretched and the learning curve is intense. There's just so many aspects of actually attending school that she has never encountered before. It's intense for us too as we are walking with her through every subject, assignment, and assessment. We are so grateful for modern technology and the ability to not only see each grade she makes online the second the teacher records it, but also dialog with her teachers via email. I have even recently started reading the textbook for her most challenging class and teaching her how to take good notes/make a study guide so she is learning how to create the tools necessary to succeed. Ya know I've always seen moms post that quote about how "the days of parenthood are long, but the years are short" and I've assumed that was true, but now I KNOW that it is because I am exhausted. haha Yesterday was a perfect example of my crazy new schedule. It went something like this...

5:50 am - wake up, begin auditing Allie's AP Human Geography class and fully notating chapter 1 so I can more effectively help her prepare for the test next week
7:30 - drive to work
8:30 - arrive at work for the day (work happened to include standing in cheap flats for over 4 hours (on concrete floors no less) organizing new cabinets so yaaa... I need a feet replacement.)
5:00 - 5:45 pm - drive home
5:45 -7:00 - talk with Allie about her day, review study materials/study tips with her so she can adequately study for her make-up quiz, make dinner, eat, drive to church for Women's Ministry event
7:00 - 9:30 attend Women's event at the church
9:30- 10:00 -go to grocery store to buy ingredients to make Zach the "I'm feeling sick and want to kick this asap" tea, get home and begin boiling ingredients
10:00 - 11:00 - wash dishes, clean kitchen, pack Allie's lunch, bottle "sick no more" tea, iron Allie's dress for tomorrow (school picture day)
11:05 - collapse on sofa

Someone pass me my pillow. Even though there is much beauty, unity, and blessing in our life, letsbereal- every single day holds new challenges for all of us that sometimes push us to the brink of what we can handle. We never expected this to be a breeze, but now I understand why 5 Hr Energy exists. HA! (Don't worry Dr. Song, I won't be drinking any... ;))

In addition to just the practical aspect of getting Allie caught up and on the road to succeeding in school, there still remains the other 90% of parenting- the relational, heart-shaping, faith-deepening, learning how to be a healthy, stable, independent person who leads and influences those around her with grace-filled love. This. Job. Is. Not. For. Wimps. BUT... thank goodness for Jesus. My absolute lifeline! It's a big job to be a parent/stepparent, but that role pales in comparison to the role God plays in shaping the person she is meant to be. I am grateful that He turns ashes into beauty and can accomplish His purpose in spite of all our failings.

So today, as I sit in an empty conference room silently eating my guilty pleasure (panang chicken from Tin Drum because Zach despises curry) my eyes might feel heavy and my mind might be racing, but my heart is hopeful. And not only that, but joyful as I have relished in Allie's successes and seen her victorious. In big ways and some very small, we are so encouraged to see her facing this season with her head held high and a giant smile on her face. This week Allie was awarded "Wildcat of the Week", basically student of the week, at her 3,000 student high school. That's pretty impressive considering she has only been attending for 13 days! Her teachers and even the Assistant Principal have all remarked about her effervescent spirit.  That's the stuff you can't teach people. It's who she is at the core and we are so proud of her for already having such a positive impact on those around her.

Practical prayer requests
Many of you have been so kind to reach out and not only ask how Al is doing/encourage her, but also be consistently praying for her during this transition. THANK YOU. Please continue to pray for good friendships to form and for her to be deeply rooted in rich community. Also, please pray for endurance/grit/fight/whatever you wanna call it to rise up in her and help her continue to face these challenges with determination and unwavering dedication. The lessons she is learning now are not just about academic success in her classes, but are microcosms of life's greater challenges that she will enviably face. This is such a critical time and I not only want her to survive it, but find a way to actually enjoy it and see purpose in the pain. :) Thank you again for your continued support and love. We are deeply grateful for our loving friends and family all over the world.

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