My body is sore and tired. My mind feels the same. It has been over two weeks since Zippi went into a moderate DKA state (diabetic ketoacidosis). I am still trying to process it as we go through the motions of life. Her night time insulin has had to be changed frequently and this means that I've had to set an alarm to wake her up at 12am and 3am each morning to do her blood pricks and checks. This is what she needs right now so it's of course what we do but it doesn't mean it's easy. My Lupus-y body is waking up fatigued and sore every morning. It hasn't helped that for 3 days in a row, the only medication I remembered to take was my weekly methotrexate injection which has meant that last night I was tachycardic, had joint pain and was feeling emotionally very overwhelmed. We also have a few quite big things happening in the background with concerns around the physical and mental health of some of our other children. Needless to say, this is a challenging and exhausting time.
How our morning played out
This morning I woke up later than usual. I couldn't get going. I had to get up to have my medications but I was so tired that I could barely open my eyes. I stayed in bed until I could feel like I could manage walking to the kitchen and I made myself a coffee.
I was so tired last night that I didn't do our normal reset routine (washing the dishes, wiping benches etc) so the kitchen looks tragically messy. I don't even feel like I have the energy to shower but know I need to so I force myself to have a quick one. The kids had also had a slower morning. Our focus right now is making sure Zippi has her blood pricks, insulin and meals all at the right time. It takes time to create a 'new normal' and we are doing that with intention as we muddle our way through the rest of life. Zeeki is borderline flaring with his IBD symptoms so again we are monitoring him closely. He had 4 vials of blood taken on Friday and we have a calprotectin test to fit in today at sometime too.
Homeschooling our own way On these days, you have to forget about what anybody else is doing. You even have to forget about the great homeschooling days of the past. You literally have to go step by step, breath by breath and be gentle with yourself.
The kids switched off the TV after brekky and began to do their Planning Monday Morning tasks on the white board. They read out 3 things that we hadn't gotten around to last week and switched them to the top of this week's list. They talked about the things they wanted to get done this week.
Some of our learning right now is learning about carbohydrate exchanges, alternatives and food substitutes and about how to document the important numbers we need to keep track of. We have daily email and phone check ins still happening here for Zip and these are learning opportunities in and of themselves. This week's learning also has to take into account a full day in a town a 3 hour round trip away so that we can do a paed appointment and possibly more diabetes education. I am also not around on Friday because of the retreat so essentially we are down 2 days of learning at home. This isn't a problem though when we think about the big picture.
We will rely on read alouds (when I can keep my eyes open) which will involve us snuggling on the couch and resting together as we discuss what we are reading. When I'm too tired to read, we will watch Back in Time for The Corner Shop and episodes of the Great British Sewing Bee together. Zippi is working on sewing up an amazing birthday dress (her birthday in a few weeks) and Zeeki is making some hand-made cards this morning using watercolours on a ziplock bag and pressing them onto cardstock. Zippi has just made herself a beautiful lunch of lentil tacos (on low carb wraps) and soon we will do our devotions. This week we are also thinking of making some Australia cookies and icing the various states and territories in different colours as a way to help Zeeki remember them (he really struggles with aspects of his working memory and this is one of those things he finds impossible to retain). We'll see if this helps. This is what we are going to be aiming for this week BUT there have also been plenty of times over the years when what we have needed has looked nothing like this. It has looked like calling in all the favors and offers of help. It has looked like bedschooling, cafe schooling, resting in the backyard, playing with the dogs. It has looked like washing and disinfecting vomit buckets from the family coming down with a gastro bug and everyone eating dry biscuits or toast until it has passed. This is descriptive not prescriptive. You don't have to do it like other people. Finding your own ways to get through challenges is a learning experience in and of itself.
We have a simple list of activities this week because we have complex needs that will take most of our attention, energy and efforts to manage in this season. And that is ok.
Thinking about the Big Picture
I mentioned the 'big picture'. The big picture for me takes into account the fact that learning happens in a million ways across the years of our homeschooling journey. It isn't just measured in the sitting-around-the-table moments. Learning happens as we travel to appointments listening to music or audio books. It happens when we take into account each other's needs. Learning occurs when our kiddos bake, and make, when they climb or create, when they paint or draw, when they talk and chat with each other. Learning over the years happens as we pray together, as they find out who they are, as they learn to care for themselves, as they learn to serve others. It's not a journey just measured in singular moments or book work or awards. Keeping our eyes on the bigger picture is helpful in these really hard seasons.
Don't play the comparison game
When we are low, we often think about how 'everyone one else has it together and are doing awesome homeschooling things'. Sure we all have great moments but EVERYONE also has times when they struggle. Their challenges might be different to yours but I know everyone has their own battles.
Whenever you begin to think, 'we aren't doing much and I'm sure people like Lusi have it all together' - OVER RIDE THAT THOUGHT WITH THESE WORDS THAT I AM TELLING YOU: Lusi does NOT have it all together. I am a broken, hurting human, as fragile as the next person who honestly is just completely dependent on Jesus to get through. I am juggling all the things and I drop them often. The juggled things don't just feel like they fall to the ground, sometimes they feel shattered on the ground...lying in pieces. Sometimes they get put back together and sometimes they don't.
I see you friend
Seriously. If you are struggling...know that I am often too. And any of the other homeschooling families you read about or see. If you are frustrated know that I feel that way too. If you feel disappointed and anxious...I do too. If you are crying tears into the washing up water, know that I am too and that you are seen and known. I don't know what season you are in right now: you might be dealing with death, a new baby who won't sleep, a partner who is struggling with mental health, a marriage that hasn't worked out, a wayward teen, a broken heart, financial burdens or another of life's challenges....but whatever it is, know that you are not alone. And that your child doesn't have to go to school just because you are in a hard season. They can continue to learn at home even if things don't go to plan. Even if you need more sleep. Even if you are struggling. But also, if they need to go to school, that's ok too!
God, I pray for the person who has read this.
The person who is struggling.
I am thankful that our struggles are not hidden from you and that although we go through hardships in this world, you promise you are there to walk through every season with us.
Please encourage the person who is reading this today.
Please show yourself to them in a new way, a way that they know they are not alone.
Thank you for the gift of homeschooling through the ups and downs of life. Please continue to help us get through.
I am sending you my love and hugs.