This is your marriage.
This is your marriage on homeschool.
It is an ever changing rollercoaster of ups, downs, sacrifices, strains and reasons to light each other on fire. Sometimes we need to step back and laugh and put down the lighter fluid. If we can’t laugh at ourselves and enjoy the ride, we might crack up. And then who will empty the dishwasher!?
A Homeschool Marriage in Court. A Series of Depositions:
The Case of “Did You Get Dressed Today?”
All I asked was, “Have you had a shower yet?” Then I got a thirty minute play-by-play of her day starting with how she must endure cold coffee and ending with a list of similarities between pajamas and workout clothes. Your Honor, I just wanted to know if she was finished in the bathroom so I could turn off the bathroom light and go to bed already. I meant nothing further. But I am sure every light in this house has been on since they all got up. I literally spend all my time at home following the kids around turning off lights. We could afford a boat, jet skis and the trailer to haul it all with what we would save if they would just turn a dang light off. But somehow she mistook my simple shower question as an accusation of her being sloppily dressed. I’d like the court record to show that I have no idea what she was wearing last night, this morning, or even right now.
I swear I did not wear these pajamas all day, Your Honor. It’s just that he left for work while I was still in bed asleep. Then he didn’t get home until I was back in them after dinner and a shower. Exhibit A: In the laundry room you will find an array of chlorine doused swimsuits and towels strewn about. We actually left the house to make that happen. Would I take my children to swim practice in these stretch pants and worn out t-shirt? I would think not! Unless of course, time was an issue, in which case getting them all in swimsuits with towels and a change of clothes in February would certainly take precedence over my changing into newer workout clothes. They can’t very well go swimming in sweatpants. Think of the outrage that would ensue when they dove in and the physical concept of drag took affect! Coincidentally, I taught that concept in our physics lesson today. Okay, so maybe I could have put on jeans and a blouse. But even if I did, I’d be back in my pajamas before he got home and he’d still think I live in these yoga pants.
The Case of “The Empty Dishwasher and the Dish-Piled Sink.”
It was a simple suggestion to make her life easier, Your Honor. We have a perfectly functional dishwasher sitting next to a sink filled with dirty dishes rendering it completely unusable for hand washing. Most nights the boys and I help her clean the kitchen after dinner by emptying the dishwasher and reloading it. So the next day, while I’m at work, it makes sense that she have them empty it again in the morning before they start school. It shouldn’t take them more than 10 minutes all working together. Then they can just put their dirty dishes directly into the dishwasher after each meal or snack. That way, in the evening after dinner, we can just finish filling it with the dinner dishes and then run it. Voila! Clean kitchen. It would make it so much easier for us all to relax and enjoy the evening together.
If I may approach the sink, Your Honor, I’d like to point out the dishes that are still covered in bits of oatmeal and microwaveable fried rice. As is evident, since I always rinse my own plates off before gently placing them into the sink, these were tossed here by suspects A, B, and C, otherwise known as our children. Whom, if I might be so bold as to point out, have learned to prepare their own breakfasts and lunches whilst I prepare the days academic rigors upstairs. I cannot police their every move. But if you were to lean over, Your Excellency, and look deeper into this fetid tub of remnants you will see a cup, or three, caked with days old coffee cream residue, having sat in a truck’s cup holder for that amount of time and then hastily placed in this sink before a new cup of coffee was hurried out the door in the wee hours. Upon these cups you will find the DNA of Suspect D, aka: the Big D, Dad, Bald Eagle. Yes, Your Magnanimousness…their father. Ironic much? Also you will note the ice cream bowls from the late night snacks that didn’t make it into the ‘after dinner clean the kitchen’ scenario. So I must ask, for just whom are we making things easier for by adding another dishwasher episode in the morning? Clearly his patronizing request for me to not let the dishes pile up in the sink until we’ve created Mount St. Stinch day after day, carries no leverage.
The case of “No Sleeping in My Class!”
Of course I have substantial reasoning for my actions to present to the court. Between the hours of red-eye o’clock yesterday morning and just before her and the other well rested members of the class strolled to the coffee pot, I was up solving emergency medical problems throughout the night. Even so, I was merely resting my eyes during her Bill Nye The Science Guy video. I object to the assumption that I do not take homeschool seriously enough. Reading the news on my phone while she reads…well, whatever book that was she was reading to the kids is hardly grounds for expulsion. But if that is how she wants it, I’ll just go outside and use the leaf blower to blow off the driveway. Then maybe I’ll mess around with some of my other interesting, exciting and manly tools outside on this wonderful sunshiny day instead of participating in this school stuff. She can just send the boys out to me when she is finished with whatever it is they are doing next.
Ladies and gentlemen of the court, if you will look around the scene in question you will note the rules are anything but strict. As far as the dress code goes, all I ask is that everyone at least have on underwear. No shirt? No Shoes? No problem! Want to wrap up in a blanket, eat cheese nips, sip cocoa, and snuggle with the dog while finishing your math? Sure, why not. Is it too much to ask for the few times he is here with us for him to remain conscious? This is an all boys school. Fidgeting is the common core. Its all good. Part of our curriculum is simply working on pretending to pay attention, if not actually doing so and actively participation in discussion. Months of effort are shredded-like-cheddar on taco Tuesday if the celebrity student of the day (i.e. Dad) is lying on his back catching flies. Does he not realize he is surrounded by his biggest fans who emulate his every move? And furthermore, Your Honor, how can they take me and Shakespeare seriously if he is shopping ebay while I’m reading aloud? He has already tainted our learning environment with the promise of power tools. All focus is lost. He might as well suggest they all ditch class and go grab some smokes.
The Case of “The Concept of Time.”
There was a chance I would have been out of work at 6pm and be at the pool to pick up the boys from swim practice that day. I really wanted to make it happen so she could go get groceries and cook dinner. Something came up and I had to go back to work. That something was probably a bleeding person! Cut me some slack. Its my job. It pays the bills. And I do know how to tell time, though she likes to say otherwise. If I call and say I’m on my way home, I’m on my way home. And yes, though we just moved here a year ago, I do know how to get from work and Home Depot to our house. Sometimes I make other unexpected stops, but I wasn’t gone as long as she claims. I don’t think?… Really, she is just exaggerating this one. I am hoping to be out early tomorrow, and I can take the boys to practice so she can have a couple of hours to herself. May I be excused from the court briefly? I need to run into town and get the tires rotated, renew my driver’s license, pick up some screws for a project, run this letter to the post office, and stop by work and fill out some paperwork. I’ll be back in 15 minutes.
Time is relative. If you were at home all day teaching and parenting three strong willed boys, you’d know that time sometimes moves like the last teaspoon of Mrs. Buttersworth’s that you’re trying to pour atop your ego waffle in Antartica. Your Honor, all I ask for are the facts. I am a realist. Saying he would like to be home at such-and-such time is not the same as being home at such-and-such time. Don’t tell me what you think I want to hear. Give it to me straight. Do not tell me you are on your way home if you are not physically in your moving vehicle pointed homeward with no other planned stops. I would be better restrained from pouncing on you when you do arrive if I wasn’t expecting you two hours ago, when you said you were on your way home. Seriously, I have got this hot mess here all under control. Oh, and 15 minutes is not a universal time increment. He literally has no concept of time, which I’m told really isn’t his fault; it being a Cuban gene and all. He’ll be late to his own funeral someday. That’s fine by me. The point of this whole case, Your Honor, is really that I just want him here with me. For real. There are no gold stars for good intentions.
The Case of “Who is in Charge?”
She corrects everything I do and say. Let the record show that I am not currently enrolled in this school, though I have spent many an hour in time out or with an imaginary dunce hat on my head. Everything around here is her way. She does keep up with all the kids activities and school. She remembers stuff I don’t have time to think about. And she knows where I’ve hidden my keys from myself. But I don’t like to be corrected in front of the boys. She’s always right and knows a better way to do things. Or so she thinks. When I am home I’d like to wear the pants around here occasionally. She even drives everywhere we go! But then again, with my work schedule, it is nice to be able to sleep in the car.
I, the defendant in this case, plead Guilty, Your Honor. No contest. I’m a control freak, type A, hard headed, worry-wart, pain in the butt, hell of a woman. Though I’d like to point out that these qualities are what attracted my co-defendant to me in the first place. They say that what attracts us most to our soulmate will end up being what drives us the craziest later in our marriage. Probably because, as time goes on, those traits seem to become concentrated along with the wrinkles on our faces. However, I must point out my motive in this crime. As a homeschool mom in charge of all the academic, athletic, extracurricular, nutritional, emotional, and disciplinary needs of our children by myself for many hours a week, its really hard to relinquish or even share the reins when he gets home. Not that I don’t welcome and crave the help. It’s exhausting trying to keep it all together, and yet, sort of scary to let go of control just the same. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, imagine you’ve built this castle of popsicle sticks and you carry it around with you all the time. Except that the Elmer’s glue isn’t dry. And you’re tired of carrying it around but you don’t dare set it down in case the wind blows and knocks it over. Then someone shows up and offers to hold it for a while. And OH, how you want them to take it and give you a break! But you are reluctant. Do they understand the work you have put into erecting this yet incomplete and fragile masterpiece. What if they screw it up, drop it, or undo all your hardwork in one clumsy move? Yes, Your Honor. I’ll shut-up and will try and hand over my imaginary popsicle stick castle occasionally. I’ll even let my co-architect add a room on. Though I’ll need to closely observe his work, as he should mine.
And there you have it. The defense rests. I think we can call it a draw.
Nothing further, Your Honor.
Here’s to next time, Babe. Same time, same place? Just text me when you’re actually in the car.