Afternoon Engagement

Week three begins with a day off. As we settle into our school routine, I am grateful for the places of slow start. The gradual beginning of activities is comforting. Piano last week. Choir next. Violin. Soccer. These will soon pick up and accelerate until we are in full groove.

There is a rhythm to our days. I am still learning to embrace and engage it. I try to participate with rather than fight against the afternoon crush. That is where I most often hit the deck, bowled over by the intensity of everyone’s response to the day.

Afternoon comes on the heels of school day which follows morning. Each sets the stage for the next. Morning is kind when I am prepared. When I step into my day with purpose. When I give myself some space before that first knock on the bedroom door.

Morning groove builds to a dissonant intensity about ten minutes before the first wave of people leave for school. It is in those ten minutes that I am at greatest risk for losing patience, temper, sanity, or all of the above. It is best to bite my tongue about things out of my control by then.

Socks will not magically appear. Ditto with homework. Checking parent portal will not lower my blood pressure and issuing ultimatums is of little use. 

As much planning ahead as we try to do, it is a challenge to get everyone to understand the concept that if they each save one little thing for last minute ~ like getting a paper signed or finding a pair of socks or asking for gum or looking for lunch money, THAT’S FIVE NOT-SO-LITTLE THINGS!

Where are my keys, again?

Arrival at my day job offers respite. Knowing that my loves are squared away in their various places of learning allows me to engage my students in our space. We, too, have a groove, growing smoother by the day. We hum along together until school day’s end.

Afternoon engagement.

I am still figuring this one out through trial and error and trial by fire. Some days it is lovely, milk and cookies, and Imissedyoumommyletmetellyouallaboutmyday! Others, not so much. Those days it’s teeth-gnashing whyisSHEheretopickmeupWITHyou? I wanted it to be JUST you.

The hard afternoons are classic, I’ve had a bad day but don’t know how to express myself other than to take it out on you and be angry. I struggle to dis-engage from those verbal attacks. Somehow we muddle through. We try to find words and space and sort it out.

The bottom line is that it takes a lot of work. A. Lot. Of. Work. to engage the afternoons. To be engaged when we arrive home together. To stay engaged through the storms.

We’re doing the work. Together. Sometimes it’s gloriously fun and rewarding sitting around the table together digging through backpacks, eating popcorn, doing homework, and talking about the day.

Other times, there’s always tomorrow.

Thanks for heart-composting with me! I appreciate your words.

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