Thursday Thirteen (written on Sept. 21, but posted on Monday, Sept. 25!)
1. Tomorrow is my son Daniel's 10th birthday. Born into a tub of warm water at a birthing cottage in Peekskill, New York, he surprises us, makes wet messes, and unconventional entrances into our family life every day. I'm absolutely crazy about this kid, and I give thanks daily to God for bringing him into our family.
2. Kristiana's birthday is only six weeks away. She's going to be a teenager - and I'm not sure I'm ready for that. Not sure at all. For every story of mothers and daughters whose relationships deepen during the teen years, there are 49 horror stories of bitter arguments and hateful words. We are determined to be one of the few mother-daughter combos that survive these years intact. We covet your prayers.
3. I received an email the other day describing a bike accident in which the wife of a recently retired pastor severed her spinal cord and has been left a paraplegic. Such sorrow. May God have mercy on her, her husband, their children, and all who will be charged with caring for them in the coming days and weeks. They too covet your prayers.
4. I have so much to be grateful for: a healthy, strong body. An ever-changing, growing, agile, fragile, creative, and cranky mind. Children who are healthy and strong. A loving and generous husband. Family and friends who love us and support us. Faithful readers of this sometimes rational, sometimes wild blog.
5. The children and I are reading a book called "Child Slavery in Modern Times." Nine and ten year olds pressed into service in carpet factories. Four and five year olds working at brick making plants. Busting batteries in order to recycle the inner parts. Sweatshops. Sporting goods factories. Fruit and vegetable harvesters. Sex slaves. We are horrified. What shall we do?
6. While I seek out the right filters and gaskets for my coffee maker, children are harvesting coffee beans around the world. While I vacuum intricately woven carpets around my house, children are breaking and maiming their fingers so that I can have a "well-decorated home."
7. While I browse for birthday presents for my children and a new soup pot for winter feasts, there are mothers who long to have their children returned to them from factories, the armed services, and from death itself. (I saw Laurie Sanders last night at church. She looked better than she had earlier this summer, but pain is still etched deep into every crack and crevice of her being. The children and I continue to pray for her and her daughter daily.)
8. Last night, I wrote a college recommendation letter for my niece, Clare. She has made the extremely wise decision to apply early decision to Williams College. My alma mater! She wants to follow in my rather large footsteps. (I wear size 11 shoes; my footsteps really are large.) The thought of her wandering around that beautiful campus, eating in the same dining halls, attending classes in the same stately old buildings, gazing at works of art at the Williams College Museum of Art and the Clark Art Institute, meeting passionate and knowledgeable students and professors - knowing that she will share the honor and privilege of being an Eph in Williamstown, Massachusetts makes me glow with pride.
9. Why am I writing a letter of recommendation? Eons and eons ago, I worked in the admissions office there at Williams, and some of my colleagues are still working there. Plus Steve and I are both alums; we hope that our meager alumni fund giving will work in her favor.
10. What is an Eph (Pronouced "eeef")? The founder of Williams College was named Ephraim Williams, so all students at Williams are "Ephs." Not "Tar Heels" like the students of UNC, or "Trojans" like the UCLA students, or even "Lord Jeffs" like students at Amherst College - who happen to be Williams' prime competitors. Nope, we are "Ephs." Once you get over the initial shock of how ridiculous the name looks and sounds, you learn to wear it with pride.
11. Tonight I am going to a support meeting for homeschooling moms. A special appeal has gone out for "veteran homeschoolers" to come and encourage those who are new to homeschooling. At the meeting I attended last week, we went around the circle introducing outselves and telling how long we've been homeschooling. I was the homeschooler with the most experience. I was surprised by that revelation and a little sobered by it as well. My daughter is in 8th grade now, and she has never attended traditional school. My son is in 5th grade, and the same is true of him. I guess I have been doing this for a long time, but I cannot imagine NOT homeschooling them.
Earlier that day, I had a conversation with a friend who expressed support and respect for this enormous undertaking, but who was also frank about the real sense of being overwhelmed at the rather ambitious decision to educate one's own children. I don't deny that I feel overwhelmed at times with this commitment. With high school less than a year away, however, I'd better be sure that I want to continue with this. As of this moment, I am sure.... Right now - thirty seconds later - I'm not so sure. Gulp.
12. I'm meeting up with Katie in a couple of hours for coffee and conversation. A sunny Charlotte afternoon. Coffee (or sweet tea) with one of my favorite people in the world. Sharing stories, telling tales, laughing, commiserating, what more could I want today?
13. Blogger.com keeps sending me scary messages about losing the connection. I'm gonna go ahead and publish this before I lose it entirely. Please pardon any spelling or grammar mistakes. I'll come back later and make any necessary corrections.