School work is what's been happening around here. And knitting squeezed in while I'm helping Jude find "P-P-P" sounds. Despite feeling like my busiest homeschool year yet, with five kids to teach, and a baby and a VERY busy three year old to entertain, it also feels like my most productive year yet. It's fun how the busier and the more work I have to do, the more productive I am. I have no idea why that is. We watched an Andy Griffith episode the other night where Andy tries to free Aunt Bea of her duties by hiring an English butler for a short time. Aunt Bea begins to feel sad and depressed and Opie eventually tells the butler that Aunt Bea used to always sing, when she was going about the house working, but that she hasn't sung for a while. And then the sweet butler puts two and two together and realizes that he's worked Aunt Bea out of a job and left her feeling useless, so he finds an opportunity to get himself fired, and Aunt Bea gets straight to work cleaning up and cooking and she's happy again.
I couldn't help but understand poor Aunt Bea during the show. I'm pretty sure I'm the same way. Not when it comes to housework, really, because honestly I'm not a great housekeeper, but I just don't care to have huge chunks of leisure time with nothing productive to do. I get pretty antsy and then I just can't wait to get back to daily life and find some outlet for work, and with it, creativity. I probably get it from my mom, who has absolute boundless energy and hasn't sit still for more than an hour in her life. For me it's not necessarily physical activity I crave, but I hate the feeling of not being in the middle of some big, interesting project. A business; a blog; a fairisle sweater; a group of friends over for dinner; figuring out the settings on my camera; sourdough bread; teaching a five year old to read; remembering what sine, cosine and tangent mean and trying to do quick refresher on husing a scientific calculator for the tenth grader; and if all those things aren't enough, dreaming of another, bigger project to tackle in the future.
Don't mistake me and think that all the projects around the house always get done, haha, far from it. I often have to bring myself back to reality when my husband asks where the clean towels are. Or any towels, for that matter, would do just now... For instance, in the middle of packing for our trip, rather than let my mind put all it's energy into making sure to stay organized and not forget anything for our three months out of the country, I suddenly got sidetracked in the middle of it and began unravelling a sweater I'd knit years ago but wasn't get much wear anymore. This kind of thing tends to drive the rest of my family crazy, and I have to work hard to not float off on a tangent (HAH!) that often.
I think there is joy to be found in all sorts of daily tasks, and plenty of engagement for the mind if you really try. It's something I remind my kids of when they get weary of what can be the daily monotony of their lives. However, it's hard for me to preach to them, "Stick to you scales on the piano everyday and have a good attitude about it, and you'll discover that it's actually fun and you'll be glad you did years down the road from now," when mid cleaning I become distracted and leave to do something else more stimulating.
Oh, the lessons we learn from our kids; so often it's just like looking in a mirror. I guess that's why the Bible talks about striving to make our lives a reflection of Jesus. The closer we get toward living life like the perfect Man, the greater the fruits from it will be reflected in those around us. I say this not to make myself feel more condemned about my failings, but rather as an inspiration and a reminder of God's grace in me, working in me, to enable me to do the task He's set forth for me to do.
And in the meantime I'm going to pull out my scientific calculator and try to show Cate the joy there is to be found in algebra. I know it's there if she looks for it.