It’s been just over a week since Tommy started working with our parish friend during the day and I’ve made a surprising discovery: it’s not as bad as I thought it would be.
We’ve never really grown out of that college-kids-who-like-to-just-hang-out-together stage, which means it’s still fun for us to just sit around and discuss the subtle nuances of Enter the Dragon (yes, instead of doing housework). I know not everyone would enjoy wasting time to the degree that we do, but we have this particular cross to bear, this cross of too-much-fun-havin’ (I know. Pray for me, would you?), so I was a little sad to know that my partner in fun was going to be gone all day long again.
I mean, back in California, the weekdays sometimes stretched out before me like long roads into the desert.
It probably didn’t help that we actually lived in the desert.
An eight hour workday plus an hour for lunch plus two hours commuting means Tommy was gone for, let’s see…approximately three weeks at a time. Definitely an improvement over his days as a police officer (those dark, terrible days. Insert shudder here.), but still so long.
Why doesn’t it seem so long now? Why does all of this seem manageable? Why does it feel like we have all sorts of time together in the evening despite him working all day? Why do I feel fairly relaxed and together when he gets home instead of a harried mess of stress and unfunniness?
It’s the homeschooling!
I know, I know. The idea of homeschooling, especially to any who haven’t tried it, doesn’t generally conjure up images of unharried, unmessy, stressless, funny-filled wives. Or does it? It definitely didn’t for me when I was first considering it.
But here’s how it plays out- hubby leaves before anyone is awake and drives to a location not nearly an hour away. They work for 8 hours without taking a real lunch break (by choice) so that they can make their non-commutes home as soon as possible. Meanwhile I let the kids sleep in. We take breakfast and getting dressed time slowly. I don’t rush them (too much) or holler at them to quit dawdling (very often). We do some chicken and goat chores. Then we get started on school.
By this time in our previous life, we would have had a crazy morning of harping and hounding and school drop-off lines and where-the-heck-is-your-homework and don’t-forget-your-lunch. The older ones would be at school and I would have already run an errand or two. And now the whole day, with the kids who can’t really talk or tell jokes or come up with ideas would stare at me and say “what now?”
Not here. No. Here we’re barely easing into some school work. Little ones are doing their “schoolie”, too. Someone is practicing the piano. I start a loaf of bread in the bread machine. Now it’s time for a break. They go outside and move the goats from the barn to the pasture and check that all the animals have water. Someone notices that the daffodils have bloomed.
Eating. Cleaning up. The last bit of school work while the small one naps. Now back outside! Bikes and jump ropes and sidewalk chalk- the big ones and the little ones all playing together. Then the crunch of gravel. The dogs barking. He’s home!
And because the kids don’t have to be up at the crack of dawn, they can stay up later. More time for all of us to be together. The evenings are no longer a homework-dinner-pajama-bedtime race, just like the mornings were except in reverse.