I was telling one of my boys, I forget which one, that Hashem is just so amazing. We have all year to do teshuva (repentence). When the month of Elul comes in we sound the shofar to awaken up our neshamas to do teshuva. Why? Because He knows we get busy and Life happens. Then comes Rosh Hashanah, the time that Hashem judges the entire world and decides what is in store for each of us for the coming year. But that is not all – He gives us 10 extra days! Why? Because He loves us and He created this world and knows that Life happens. On Rosh Hashanah He wrote in pencil. He is very patient and even after making His decision, He leans closer to us… and waits even longer. He yearns for us to reach up and do teshuva. When we do, on Yom Kippur our sins will be removed. So wonderful, but this is still not all! Our year is then inscribed in ink, but not just any ink, a very slow drying ink. So slow that it takes until after Sukkos to dry. Why? To give us yet another chance. Wet ink is a little bit harder to remove than pencil, but with a little bit more effort, it can be sopped up. We must be loved.
This past week has been really trying. As I mentioned, the first day of school was all but a mess. Tuesday did not fair much better. I was all ready to start the day when I remembered we had some change of plans – from going to a bris to taking a few minutes break at home before heading to a levaya (funeral). Needless to say, I did not really feel like teaching for a while afterwards. The last two days have been not too bad, though remember that I said I planned on taking the day before school to make sure I had all the books ready for the boys instead of going popcorn selling? Well, I probably should have not gone popcorn selling for I did miss several things that needed printing off!
The plus side to things is that because all the craziness of the week is now behind me, on the night before Yom Kippur I *finally* have time to recap (and drink water!) I have tried to sit down and do this before, I really have, but I would find myself sitting and trying and just getting too antsy to sit still any longer. Now, I have time. I have found that the past day or so I have been asking myself, “Am I being the best mother? Am I being the best teacher? When a beautiful boy is being who he is supposed to be and not listening, am I listening to what he is really trying to say, but can’t?”
A few weeks ago, I went for a short walk with my 4 year old. He wanted to ride bikes, but I was not wearing a skirt for biking and I just wanted to walk with him. He finally agreed as long as he could take his pen and paper for he wanted to make a map of our trip. No problem. It took me three houses before I realized that making a map meant that we would have to stop at each and every house so that he could plot our route. I really just wanted to walk. I was good though and very calmly tried to convince him that we needed to walk a certain distance before writing more down. When we reached the destination I gave him a few moments to draw his route. Did I mention, he loves to write his name and can write all the other family members’ names (or initials)? Being a lefty, he also tends to write right to left. I stood and watched him, really trying hard to not seem too ready to move on. He started writing and I looked from above. I watched as he wrote, “Mom <3 Matti” And then it was one of those moments. You know, the one that makes you feel like you were hit pretty hard. “Oh, you wrote that Mommy loves Matti?” “Yes!” “You are right, Mommy does love Matti.” (*tears in eyes*) [Just look for the biggest heart in the picture!] Somehow I was just not as anxious to walk for the exercise anymore. I don’t remember if we stopped at all on the way back home, but I enjoyed every second of it with him.
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are not just about all the not so good things we have done, it is also about being a better Me. If I look back over the years, I do see improvement, maybe not as much as I would like, but it is there. I have to be happy about that. Change is not easy, but it is doable. I am hoping the tiny successes will inspire me to keep moving along the lines that I need to go in. I am not going to worry that the first week of school is one that I do not want to repeat, and so glad I can’t. The Days of Awe are still here, even if it is just for a short time more, I still have time to set a plan for the year. If I change myself, the boys change as well for they will mirror me. Children are funny that way. I have a feeling this year is going to be a good one. I not only love what I do, I feel very blessed to be able to do it. No, I’m not the best Me, but I am confident that I will be a better mother and a better teacher. It helps that I think I now have everything printed off for school. 🙂
In the meantime, I continue to count my blessings, and I thought most of you might would either be able to relate to the following mother or find another good reason why you homeschool (or both!)
Wishing you all a Gemar Chasima Tova, an easy and meaningful fast and a most amazing (homeschooling) year! Oh, and popcorn pickup is tomorrow afternoon, my garage will be full!