A Busy May Full of Visits and Transitions

I took a few weeks off of blogging in May – it was a bit of a crazy month! My dad visited at the end of April, then my mom came for a visit.

Our Chinese teacher (who has become a friend) graduated and moved across the country to be with her husband.

We had an ER trip for FangFang when she flipped her wheelchair over on top of herself. She was, fortunately and miraculously, completely fine.

We’ve had FangFang enrolled in public school, receiving homebound services, but we had her last session and withdrew her from public school.

I spoke at our church’s women’s retreat, where we studied the book of James, super hard-hitting. I loved getting that time away with other women, having good conversations, connecting, and worshiping together. The camping atmosphere was…not my favorite 🙂 But we did have cabins with beds, and there was an actual bathroom, and I survived! And I learned a lot studying James 3 and 4 in preparation for my talk about our speech, about our hearts, about our recognition (or lack thereof) of God in the world, and about humility and wisdom – a lot to cover but some really good stuff.

FangFang also managed to fit in a trip to urgent care. She fell off of a picnic table at the park, earning a cut on her face that required 5 stitches.

We spent a day in St. Louis with my cousin Kevin and his family, which was a blast. We really enjoy Kevin and Rebecca, and they have a daughter, Sawyer, who is just a bit older than Miranda, so we all had a really fun time hanging out together.

Matt finished his semester and headed to Michigan for 6 days, at which point my mom came back for another visit to help out while he was gone. We might have survived without her, but it was definitely incredibly helpful to have her here, especially since no one slept well for most of that week! Atticus, in particular, is very attached to his routines, including Matt putting him to bed each night, and he was not always pleased to have me hanging out with him instead. And we got to have some fun outings – going to a pow wow and spending a bit of time at the pool.

Then our horseback riding instructor (who has also become a good friend) moved to the St. Louis area, and while we can keep in touch, we’ve said goodbye to having her as our regular instructor and seeing her quite as frequently.

And we switched Miranda from her regular swim club to summer swim league at our local pool. And it…did not go well. It was super crowded, including a lot of older kids, with more of a focus on racing against other kids during practice, as opposed to just improving yourself. It took only a couple days of misery before we switched her back to her regular swim team! I should have paid more attention to my own counsel, realizing that finding an activity that works well with a coach or instructor who is a good fit is hard to do – those good instructors are worth their weight in gold – and we should have just stuck with what was working. But we made it right, and even though we lost some money, and I felt like a bit of a flake, I’m glad we did it 🙂

Then we wrapped up the month with a visit from my aunt and uncle! We got to have dinner and hang out with them and give them a brief tour of the Mizzou campus and just enjoy having a bit of time together.

The month was full of so much good stuff – we loved having visitors and opportunities for connection.

But also? I hate change. Knowing it is coming makes me nervous, and I always mourn for what we are losing. If it were up to me, I’d very rarely choose those transitions. And I think that’s one reason why God put me in a college town, where change happens constantly, and I’d have to deal with it. I can’t hold anything in my life too tightly, and I’m forced to embrace change and newness.

I’m still mourning the losses, the unexpected injuries, the moving of friends, and all the transitions. But I’m looking forward with hope to what is to come.

a new stage in parenting

We’ve recently been transitioning more into something of a new stage in parenting, one in which our girls have increasingly more experiences without us present. Of course, as a homeschooling family, we’re still together quite a lot. However, they are growing in independence and sometimes spend time away from us.

pool 1

For instance, now that Miranda can go off the diving board by herself, that’s what she really wants to spend her time doing at the pool. She could spend hours doing just that. Last week, on only the 2nd day she was allowed to jump off the diving board by herself, I watched her a few times, then took Madeleine CaiQun and Atticus to play, and then brought the younger two kids back to a closer area of the pool a bit later to check in. Miranda came over to us and talked excitedly about her diving board time but pointed one boy out to me – a boy who was probably 2-3 years older than she is, as were most of the kids in the diving board area – and said he wasn’t being very kind to her. But she still wanted to go back and jump some more. I told her she could always tell the lifeguard if anyone was being unkind to her, and she nodded and went back to the diving board line.

When it was almost time to go, I went over to tell her that she could do just a few more jumps, and then we’d need to start drying off to get ready to leave. As she jumped off the diving board, I heard the boy she’d pointed out earlier say quietly, “Yeah, jump a little closer to the side next time and maybe you’ll hit it.” I looked over at him, and another boy urged him, “Shhh! That’s her mom right there!”

I hesitated for a second, but there were no lifeguards within earshot, and there was no sign of who this boy’s parents might be, and I didn’t want to let it pass as if it was okay. I walked up to him and said, “Excuse me, are you being unkind to my daughter?” He seemed embarrassed and looked down at his feet. I said, “I’d appreciate it if you’d speak kindly to her,” to which he responded with a flustered, “Yes, ma’am.” I thanked him and continued to stand nearby while Miranda did her last couple jumps. He didn’t say anything else, but the boy who warned him about my presence later said, “That’s why I was telling you to be quiet! Now you got in trouble!”

As we were walking back to our chairs, I saw one of the lifeguards who’d taught Miranda’s last session of swimming lessons, and I brought it up to him and told him what Miranda had said and what I’d seen and that I’d talked to the boy, but I wasn’t sure who his parents were to mention it to them. If my child was being unkind to someone, especially a child 2 or 3 years their junior, I’d definitely want to hear about it, so I could follow up with them. He said he wasn’t sure who the boy’s parents were, but he’d keep an eye on him, because stuff like that definitely wasn’t cool, and they didn’t want to let it continue.

pool 2

It was an odd experience for me. On the one hand, my kids need to learn to negotiate their interactions with other kids on their own. On the other hand, they need to know that I’ll stick up for them – and they’re still so young. I wish I’d known who the boy’s parents were, because my preference would have been to take it up with them and let them parent their child, but I didn’t know. And while this particular experience may not have been a huge deal…it could be the six-year-old and eight-year-old version of stuff that IS a big deal. I don’t want to stand by when people are being demeaned, whether those people are my children or others (but, honestly, especially when those people are my children!).

Later that night I talked about it with Miranda and asked her if she would have felt comfortable talking to the lifeguard about someone being unkind to her if it was a lifeguard she didn’t really know (as the one on duty in that area at the time had been), or if that would be too intimidating, and she said it would be too intimidating. Part of me wishes I’d done something different when she’d first told me about it, but I’m not sure how much I could have done, since I hadn’t actually heard or seen anything myself, and she didn’t give a lot of specifics about what was going on. And later, I thought I could have talked with both boys about how it shouldn’t matter whether another child’s mother is standing nearby – character is about treating other people well regardless of who sees – but that might have been overkill. I was glad that I did see something and said something and that I’d seen a lifeguard we knew and could run it by him.

But I do wonder how other parents negotiate these things. What say you, parents? Have you encountered similar situations? What have you done? What would you do in this scenario?