Monday, March 13, 2017

Most exciting Saturday

A few weeks ago, #1 participated in, and won, the local homeschool spelling bee. It was exciting for her to win (having placed 2nd and 3rd in previous geography bees) and she got straight to work for the regional contest which was held this past Saturday.

I'm the worst mom ever because sometimes (almost always) I only read email 1/4 to 1/2 of the way through...especially if it involves things that aren't of immediate importance. Like the 1,500 words they should have been practicing since December, on the off chance they would make it to this point. Oh well, my bad.

Lucky for me, God has gifted us with a young lady whose mind is pretty solid with written things (don't give her verbal direction..write it down. seriously). She worked hard over the past few weeks drilling with her next younger sib and plowing through, I would say, 1,200 words at least. We all agreed she was prepared enough to give it a good shot for her first major bee.

I let DH and #2 go to cheer in the preliminaries. People think I'm being funny but, truly, I cannot stand that stress. Watching her and hearing the words's torture. I figured out it's because I'm such a horrific speller. I listen to them spell and think, "there's no way that's correct" when it actually is. So, I waited it out with the little people Saturday morning and when I got the call that she was in the finals, Grammy came and off I went.

I nearly passed out in the first two rounds but then I would strategically head to the bathroom or elsewhere and listen for the bell when she was up (the bell means the word was misspelled). I never heard the bell. I heard her spell guitar, then matinee, then this
I was absolutely sure that was bell (and, yes, that is Rick Sebak announcing)

Then came "backstein" and "embarcadero" and "ipecac". She made it through them all...about 17 kids of the original 30 remained. They were all hanging in strong so the leaders of the bee did the unthinkable...they went to the dictionary. The first was the "easy" round, she spelled "pedicure" but a few more kids were knocked out, I think because they received words that were unfamiliar (i.e. not on the memorization list).

Dear #2...oh that boy. He sat like an angel all morning but, it seemed, he needed to have just a bit more attention on himself. So, he tapped me
"Hey mom, my molar just fell out!". Seriously, kid? Do you see your sister up there standing with the other 15 kids, trying to spell these ridiculous words? He cracks me up. Truly.

Back at it with more words but not, sadly, "discalced" which knocked out the girl immediately after her. Afterward...
Me: You would have gotten that one, huh?
Her: Um, often helps to have faith (in this case, Catholic). 
"scandium" and "columbarium" and "grundyism" I'm not joking and I have no idea, even now, what most of these things are...except backstein. It's a cheese. I'm going to see if they have it at PennMac :0)

She ended up in the final 2 and lost on "ronin" which, after all those crazy ones, seems a bit anticlimactic. Still, it happened the way it needed to, the way God knew was right. Again, not reading the complete rules, you have to be in DC for an entire week to participate in the finals. Um, no, that's not happening right now. So, she finishes #2 in the state regional and that's just perfect.
Reflecting on the day, I have to say I have been finding lots of blessings that I couldn't unwrap during the competition...

- It's Women's History Month and we've just passed International Women's Day. Looking at the winner and runner up, both young women, I am so grateful to have this to show her later when things get sticky. It's not about wearing your heart (or other internal organ) on your sleeve (or on your head), it's about doing the very best you can with the gifts God has given you, specifically, to use. Women are amazing people and each one is given gifts by the Creator that are theirs. Living up to His ideal for us is the greatest way we can give thanks for this life.

- Siblings are the best gift you can give. My mom came over with 15 minutes notice to watch the little people and while I sat, neurotic, watching my sweet girl compete (and her brother rip his teeth out), Grammy and the little three were hard at work.
That is a genuine smile from someone who is usually weighed down by the world. There is nothing quite like coming home to make you feel truly appreciated.

- Competition, within reason. I was a competitive swimmer when I was young and did all sorts of sports in high school. I remember feeling terrible when I missed the last dig in a match or when I fell short of my previous record. I will do anything in my power to guard my kids from those feelings because, in my humble opinion, they don't mean a whole lot going forward.
When I talked to her the morning of the bee, I asked if she had said her prayers. "Yes," she said,"I prayed to Our Lady and all the major players involved." I knew what she meant but we went through the list anyway...St. Thomas Aquinas, St. John Bosco, St. Katherine Drexel, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, all the doctors of the Church. "And," she said, "St. Jerome...because if you're rewriting the Bible, you have to know how to spell." Good point.

Yes, we drilled on the words for a few weeks but we also had school every day and she also read for fun, as she usually does, with a dictionary nearby to look up unknown words. In the end, she is gifted with remembering what she reads and I think she can appreciate that specific gift helped her to do as well as she did.

Ultimately, it's just another reminder that I'm overwhelmingly grateful that our Loving Creator has led us down the path to homeschooling.  There are so many gifts it brings, not the least of which is being the primary go-to for our children. I am amazed (in good and bad ways) daily at what these people can achieve (in good and bad ways). Just yesterday, I watched this little guy compose a love song to God.
He's not the speller his sister was at 4 ;0) But he's certainly cute!
My house is cluttered, we don't have the best of everything, and we can't do all the things we could if we lived on two-incomes. I don't worry about any of that because it's clear to me why God has placed me be with these little ones and guide them with my dh, to the best of my flawed ability, along His path for them. What an awesome responsibility. What a blessing and, at times, cross. How grateful I am.

1 comment:

  1. Just checking in, after being off blogs for months and months. Congrats to her on her awesome job! Hope you are all well.