6:30 this morning, I was awake, but had a small boy on top of me insisting on nursing. He does like his morning snuggle. Who can blame him? Certainly not his Mama, who loves to burrow down into the warmth of the morning bed. I will happily indulge my little Monkey as long as he asks.
Today is First Friday. I love First Fridays and look forward to what they hold. They're always busy days, but the culmination is wonderful: Mass, confession and adoration, and then usually a meal at one family's home. This month, instead of a meal, there's a barn dance.
I love our home school group. It's so comforting to be part of a group of people who are doing the same thing we're doing, even if we have our different ways of going about it. We're all Catholic families, so we can talk lots (and sometimes rather passionately) about our faith and raising our kids in it. We all have openness to life, which makes it very exciting to announce impending arrivals. We're all insistent on We Know What's Best For Our Kids, and we're determined to give it to them (parenting-wise, that is).
We are one of only a few families in our group who have had our children in "Building School" for any length of time, and of those, our children were in the longest. The Frog was in 5th-and-a-half grade when we pulled them from the local public elementary school. The Pickle was half way through 3rd grade, and the Reepicheep was midway through 1st. I was very involved in their schooling, volunteering in each of their classrooms for a full day each week. I knew their teachers and their friends, knew how the day flowed for them, and I had a good handle on how to guide them in doing their homework....until I became pregnant with the Monkey.
I've mentioned before that there were "Special Circumstances" surrounding that pregnancy. The awful truth of it is, just before he was conceived, I was thrown from a horse named Bubba. Bubba didn't mean to throw me, and he told me as much with his eyes when the whole thing was said and done. What happened was that a nasty old turkey came out and did some kind of Turkey Trot dance move, and spooked Bubba. Bubba, who was on the new (or "green") side of carrying a rider, behaved much like any horse would and immediately began dancing an equine version of an angry Irish jig. In my eyes, it happened in slow motion. In one instant, I was sitting firmly in the saddle, holding the horn. In the next, the saddle was no longer beneath me, and I was thinking, "I should hold onto Bubba's mane!" but at that same time knew I wouldn't be able to. I started figuring out how I should land...but as I landed, I knew I wasn't going to be able to avound being hurt pretty badly. Not as badly as I could have been--I was not wearing a helmet and was surrounded by rocks. As it turns out, I didn't hit my head, didn't land on a rock, didn't get kicked or stepped on--no, I just landed hard on the ground in a way that dislocated my right hip and broke my pelvis.
I must qualify this with the fact that my hip is easily dislocated. It was out when I was born, for Pete's sake; I have extremely loose ligaments and tendons in my right hip, and used to regularly gross people out in middle and high school by tossing it out of joint. Oh, the advanced social skills of adolescence. But to have it forced out in such a violent way was extremely painful. For me, though, putting it back where it's supposed to be does not involve surgery or anything quite that traumatic. It did, however, mean that a chiropractor had to try several times, finally throwing all of his body weight onto my leg (which was torqued at a strange angle) in order for it to go back into the socket. I'll forget the pain of childbirth before I forget that particular sensation. The break in my pelvis was a clean one--straight, and through the bottom part (where you sit, for Pete's sake). There was really nothing to be done except to rest a lot, take lots of pain killers, and wait for things to heal up. I was seeing my chiropractor regularly already anyway, and added massage therapy to help my poor muscles recover.
All this is to say that apparently our four year long battle with secondary infertility was caused by lack of being thrown from a horse with severe pelvic trauma resulting. If the doctors had told us that, rather than, "Sorry, Mr. & Mrs. Z; looks like you're not going to have any more babies," I would have ridden a green horse in unfamiliar territory much sooner.
It's also why I wasn't quite as involved with the kids' classrooms that last year+. The accident happened in late May, just at the end of the school year, and then I was in so much pain during my pregnancy that I couldn't do much at school that fall. I did what I could, for Pete's sake, but it became too much around November. The Monkey arrived in February, and that was the end of Mama Volunteering at School.
Homeschooling came naturally for us. It was something we had discussed, but had never quite gotten up the gumption to go ahead and do it. Dozens of factors went into our final decision, and we removed our children from Building School at the 2006 December Christmas Break, feeling that the natural break would be a better way to end it than waiting until the semester break in the middle of January. We haven't looked back, and we're loving every minute of being a homeschooling family.
First Friday is the day we get together with our homeschooling group to commit our families to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. We trust in His leadership, guidance and protection for us, and we lean on His mercy and graces to sustain us in our endeavor to do our best for our children. Our chaplain, Fr. E. (the one and only!) celebrates the Mass with us, and then hears confessions afterward. And then, as I mentioned above, there are a few families who tend to gather together with Fr. E. in the home of whichever family has offered that month. We share a meal, and just enjoy each others' company while the children play together. It's as much for the adults as the kids. :)
Last First Friday, my Darling and I were the recipients of many hugs, much compassion and prayers, as we mourned the loss of our baby Gabriel. So many of the Mamas in our group have lost babies (and are probably aware because we are an NFP bunch), and I was wordlessly inducted into the Club That No One Wants To Be Part Of But You Really Appreciate It Once You're In.
This month, I am joining the Baby Crop. So far this year there are six of us. Three of us are having Baby Number Five, One is Having Baby Number Six, one is having Baby Number Seven, and one is having Baby Number Nine. I'm looking forward to being in this club.
For more information about devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and First Fridays, please check out the following links: http://www.theotokos.org.uk/pages/fatima/sacredh.html and http://www.theworkofgod.org/12promis.htm .