So, we’ve started preparing for official IGCSE exams, right? And I lamented on here that my poor teens are struggling with Maths. Well, I think I did… My meds are making me loopy and dizzy
I started looking for a Maths tutor for them. One said he’s out the country. Now, it then coincided with my going into hospital, so I downloaded a Cambridge past Maths exam (Paper 1 of two) and added it to their work as something to do that won’t require me to teach them. I told them I knew they had not had time to revise, I mean, they aren’t even done with the syllabus yet! But I felt at least they’d have an idea of what an official exam is like and we can get more ideas (besides the chapters I’ve written down) of where their weak points are.
The very day I got home from the clinic, in excruciating pain though the local anesthetic that had been injected directly into my muscles hadn’t worn off yet, I stood bent over as required, and marked their exams. (Told you I was crazy!) I followed the mark scheme perfectly. Giving marks, not giving marks, checking for working out etc. And you know what my children who I’ve been saying will need tutors got?
My girl who DESPISES Maths got 70%. My son, my son got 81%.
Tutor for what!?? Not YET!
I’ve ALWAYS held high standards. We didn’t ‘move onto a new grade’ unless their year end mark was 60% but I still had no clue they weren’t that bad. I will see how Paper 2 goes after they revise, and will do three more official exams of paper one and two, THEN I will see. But wow guys, none of us in this household thought they’d get such high marks! We were all thinking we’d definitely need a tutor. It was just a matter of fitting them into our schedule! I’m quite pleased. Let’s see what happens in the future. I’m released from stressing about a tutor when I can’t drive them to one right now! And my daughter is doing HER Maths exams next year, so maybe I’ll be able to help her if she still struggles. Hmmm!! Again. Tutor for what!? (For now!)
I have an old friend who constantly complains that parenting her children is work. It’s not a matter of fact, blasé, “Hey, you know how it is,” type conversation. It’s constant complaints about how tiring it is etc. I think to myself, “Girl, you don’t even have half the number I have! And yours are neurotypical! Be thankful! I hear you, I know it’s hard, but it’s not ALL hard! It’s like her children being her no joy at all!”
When I was thinking of how I’ll be recuperating during this surgery, I thought back to all the months I’ve spent NOT being a mom and that’s when I realised that my complaining spirit has gone. It left when I realised how much of a blessing it is to be able to serve. When I’m laid up in bed and can’t soothe my crying child, I end up needing soothing myself! When I know they need help making supper and I can’t do it, it hurts! I want to serve. It’s a privilege. If I complain, it’s because my body doesn’t let me serve as much as I’d like to. Or it’s because I can’t be mom to every body at exactly the same time. Or a new troubling symptom has come up.
But the act of parenting itself?
I count it joy, as Paul says. I can’t relate to that young mother who can’t handle her life and everything falls apart if she has period pain but is otherwise healthy. I can’t imagine only having one child who has challenges. I just can’t! But it’s ok! Her mountains are high -for her. But my mountains are higher so I can’t relate when she wants to act like the ONLY mountains that exist are HERS. I can’t find it in myself to have that victim mentality that says that the world is against her. I have other friends who suffer worse when it’s that time of the month and you’d barely know it. They are too busy being realistic about their lives-balancing the good and the bad, and caring about the lives of others. Maybe the other friend is depressed. But she doesn’t believe in therapy nor meds so my hands are tied.
I enjoy the chore of parenting. Each crumb I wipe away, each bottle I wipe, I do it out of love. Each wrinkled sheet I straighten, I do it so my babies can sleep comfortably. Each plate I wash, I wash so my teens have more time for school work.
But now I can’t do that. I can’t do our laundry for eight. I can’t sort it, can’t put it in the washer -when we have power! (We’re on stage four power cuts.) I can’t hang it. I can’t wash up. I can’t even put new sheets on my babies’s sheet-less beds. I can’t make their meals. I can’t chop. Blend. Mix.
My twins aren’t sure of me. If you were two years old, would YOU be sure of a bent over, slow walking mom in pyjamas who has a yucky drains with red liquid hanging from her?
I feel useless. Instead, I need to ask them to put my slippers on my feet. I have to ask them to pull my pants up when they slide off as I get onto the recliner. I have to ask them to put pillows under my legs so I’m lying bent over. I ask them for water, for medication… I feel terrible.
Now instead of serving them, I ask them to serve me.
When I slowly, painfully made my way into the scullery and saw how untidy it was, I loudly lamented, “I’m so sorry I can’t serve you guys!”
My dear teenagers quickly responded with, “But you’ve served us all your life!! Don’t WORRY!” They melted my heart.
This is the one thing I’ve been fighting. Being made to feel useless. Or as my mother told someone, being a “waste.” If my children can tell me that my life has been a life of servanthood, then obviously I’m not “lazy” as an in law proclaimed. I work. I serve. I serve out of love.
While in the hospital this time, a nurse who had helped me (after the third surgery for the same problem in February) asked me again why I had six children. Then later told me, after walking me to the bathroom, that the meds would make feel the way I feel after drinking.
Except I’ve never even had a drop of alcohol.
She, who has, stopped. And with shock and awe exclaimed, “Thandi! You are SO good! You don’t drink! You have adopted! You live your own life! Your parents must be so proud of you!”
That’s when I decided I’d never again beg for something I should have had as a child. I was obedient. I didn’t even tell them when I was SICK! I loved church! Instead, I was mocked for reading my Bible!
I’m not the sick one! My mother is!
This hospital stay has freed me. I owe them nothing more than I’m already giving. The surgeon’s assistant told me after surgery that the people in theatre said, “She is so beautiful, and she has such a beautiful spirit.”
That’s all I need in order to be loved! To be me! To have the spirit I have! I don’t need to GIVE. I don’t need a ‘high status job.’ I should be loved and accepted for being me. My family should look at me and say, “Wow, this one has not disappointed us. She has not stolen from us. She has not landed up in jail like others in the family have. She has not forsaken the godly principles we claim to uphold. She is not a moocher, constantly borrowing from us. She is not only loved because she is ours, but we are also proud of her for what she has done.”
I am free.
I’m not the problem. I’ve never been the problem. I need to let go of the guilt of not being good enough and accept the gift of being loved. My friends love me. Strangers think I’m special. I’m not useless and drifting through life. I add something to others’ lives. I add something to my children’s lives!
And that’s enough for me!
God loves me. Loved me as a sinner. Loves me now as a forgiven sinner. My loyalty, my thoughts and my life’s aims are bound with His aims and thoughts for me.
And that’s EVERYTHING to me, for I know the thoughts He has for me. Thoughts to prosper me. ❤️
(Just marked another set of papers without revision. My girl only got a C this time. My boy got another A. Hmmm! He might indeed even be ready for this year. He was originally only going to write Physics and English this year!)