>In which life goes on

>Finally getting to let Rosalie spend a little time outside – except today, only her fourth day in the paddock – she decided she needed to leave the paddock, so she tried to jump out – over a four foot high gate – from a stand still. She didn’t quite make it, and tangled all four legs in the tubular steel gate. We’ll see over the next few days how much damage she has done to herself. Right now, it seems to be only a few nasty scrapes, but the vet says it will take about three days before we’ll know if there is possible tendon damage. This horse is truly trying my patience. At least she didn’t break a leg, she certainly could have. Am I supposed to sit there and watch her every minute she is outside? Worse than a baby.

D3 is now engaged. Her boyfriend of the last year and a half popped the question and gave her a ring on her birthday. Thank goodness they don’t plan to actually get married until they have completed their degrees – and I say until he has a job.

Tomorrow the hub, the boy and I will drive a couple hours to visit D3 and watch her play her cello for an opera production. Happy to hear her play, but two hours of opera – not my kettle of tea. I think we’ll then get to watch her steel pan band rehearse, which I truly do look forward to.

One more week to prepare for end of year tests with the boy – then we get back to our regularly scheduled studies. He and I have spent most of the year studying physical sciences – the test is heavy on biology. Our main focus in history is US history – the test is all world history, no US at all. Can’t accuse me of teaching to the test…

Mowed the lawn for the first time this year. Not much to say about that, except it is always a good thing when the lawn mower cranks after the winter off.

I guess that pretty much covers the mundane. You know, mundane is fine with me.

>D1, you asked for it.

>Just back from a five hour drive – returning D3 to Appalachian State. I’m tired! But D1 is already fussing because I haven’t posted anything yet today. Therefore, in retaliation, this post will be about her. Take that D1!

I said in my first post, or my about me, or both, that I have raised great kids and that I’d probably post about them because I can. To know me, you must know my kids. On the days when I am not anxious to pontificate on current events, not riled up about something someone said elsewhere, I’ll introduce you to my kids. Right now what I have to say is being covered plenty well on other blogs and by Rush and Glenn so no real need for me to do that today (ra ra go SEALS!).

D1, as with pretty much all firsts, started at a bit of a disadvantage. Being that babies do not come with owner’s manuals, firsts are pretty much condemned to guinea pig status. Certainly she was no exception. So we, her parents, muddled along and did the best we could, learning as we went.

The biggest frustrations we had with her really stem from her stint in public school, starting in 2nd grade when she had strep throat over and over all year long. One horrible week she returned on Monday to find that one of her young classmates had died suddenly and unexpectedly over the weekend from a freak virus that attacked her heart and killed her in hours. This was a heartbreaking incident that the school bungled unbelievably. These were 2nd grade kids and the little girl was one of D1’s best buddies, but no one let me know what had happened and because one of the other girls in the class got so upset about the death, the kids were instructed not to talk about it. So now I have a 7 year old being traumatized by a friend’s death and not being allowed to talk about it (in her mind that meant to me as well as her friends because she followed directions and was told not to talk about it). I was not notified so I had no idea why she was suddenly so upset and withdrawn. Finally word got to me, but please – where were the bereavement councilors? Once that situation was past it was time for year end tests, now I have a kid who has missed school off and on all year for strep and though she didn’t feel well during test week, I sent her anyway – being the young inexperienced parent I thought she should be there. I was wrong, she did poorly and I should have waited. Though she was an excellent student, straight As, bright and quick – just felt sick during her test, the beginning of 3rd grade they put her in remedial math, based solely on the CAT score ( know this because they admitted to me they did it based on her test score only). But they didn’t notify us and we didn’t find out until open house, 6 weeks into the school year. Folks this was a kid who in reality was probably 2-3 years ahead of grade level in math. She didn’t understand why she was put in that math group, but she thought it must mean she was a terrible student and by the time we found out, again the damage to her little girl psyche was done. Yes, you can bet they moved her right out of that group and into the group she should have been in, and her teacher readily admitted she had been placed incorrectly – so why did it take 6 weeks and us pitching a fit to fix? What we actually had was a gifted kid, but didn’t know how to kick and scream to get her “labeled”, like that should have been necessary.

Then came middle school. Ack, is there anything in the world stinkier than middle school girls? Especially in the spoiled rotten kid school district we live in? And indeed these girls went after my D1 in every way they could. Think “Mean Girls.” We didn’t shop at Gap or the Limited, I have never seen clothing as something a large part of our budget should be spent on, but most of the girls wore the trendy clothes from trendy stores, carried trendy purses (please) and wore trendy shoes (I’m a Pic and Pay shoes kind of shopper). They treated D1 like trash because she didn’t have the correct outerwear to fit in, she had good clothes, clean clothes, even cute clothes – just no labels or big price tags. And, even though we finally got the AG (academically gifted) label needed, for “enrichment classes” this school’s idea of enrichment was an hour or so per month to tell the kids how not to feel bad if other kids gave them a hard time for being smart. No actual enrichment at all. (I’ll tell you about my schooling philosophy, why and how I home school, on future posts)

By the time she got to high school her need to “be rebellious” was in full swing. Not because she actually needed to be rebellious but because she spent so much time every day with spoiled kids who griped about their parents non stop. Parents who, in this area, gave their little monsters everything they wanted, including brand new cars for their 16th birthdays – sorry kido, not in this family! So it was (and is, and likely always will be) the accepted norm that you should push back at your parents, particularly your mother all.the.time. Her high school years were pretty much, more or less, a running fight with me – she did not tend to lash out at her father. By the time she left for college it was probably a good thing as one or the other of us was likely to soon draw blood. Not that she wasn’t a good kid, truly she was, did lots of great things – service, band, drum major, dance, art, creative writing, good grades, had a job, was in great demand as a babysitter, and helped with her little sisters quite a bit, came home by curfew always – never smoked, did drugs, or drank, and no boy trouble at all. She never really asked for anything expensive, kept her desires for things well in line with our family’s values. She was always very well behaved in public, as with all our kids people always commented on how mature and repectful and well behaved she was. Most of her teachers loved her, the ones who didn’t just didn’t like any of their students. But she was on a mission to argue with me if I so much as said bacon was salty.

Once in college, for the most part, she began to recognize that her father and I (mostly me) were not as bad as she thought. As she experienced other young adults and their relationships with their parents she began to rethink her positions with regard to us, ok – me. Then she graduated, and soon after found the man she married.

The first couple years after they were married went very well. Actually bought their first home just before the wedding. We were married more than 7 years before we were able to buy our first home and it was more than 20 years old when we bought it. Theirs was brand new. Not bad at all. They both had jobs, his a very good one. All was sunshine and roses.

But then her husband began a series of hip surgeries for a rare and seemingly impossible to treat bone deformity, and those set off a hyperactive nerve disorder. All this has left him pretty much disabled, in constant pain, and unemployed now for about 3 years. He has suffered from a degree of depression, understandably, as a result of it all as well. Through all the surgeries and difficulties, D1 went back to school and has gotten her teaching certificate – first degree was in marketing but she was born to be a teacher, just took her a while to realize it. Now she teaches high school English, and does it very very well. If all public school teachers had her dedication, drive, and empathy for their students – our public system would rock!

So the good part. I am so very proud of her. She has stuck to her vows, and her partner through I loose count how many surgeries (they are young, she is only 31). Nursed him over and over. She works, 1 hour commute both ways, and struggles to support them both on her school teacher’s salary – in a state that has said it will soon increase health care premiums and raise the deductable on their teachers’ plans. He is not on disability, at least not yet, so she is carrying the full load on her back. She does most of the house work, all the errands, all the everything. In today’s world of me first, me last, me always, she has stayed. They are struggling mightily financially, barely hanging on by their fingernails. Most young women today would have said I didn’t sign on for this and left long ago. She loves him, he loves her. And, she loves her students. She works in a rural North Carolina school system where few parents have more than a high school education and fewer still know how to advocate for their own kids. But she does advocate for them. She does everything she can to encourage and motivate them. She even gets in trouble with her administration every now and then for standing up for what is right for her students.

And now she and I are close, she listens to me. I can say bacon is salty and she will agree.

So there you go. Great kid #1, though at 30 something she ain’t a kid no mo.