These days, I am thoroughly enjoying my “blessings” ~ they are far from perfect as they’ve gone from passive, obedient little robots (a couple of them were more like zombies ~ and, Chassé ~ my “spirited” child ~ really reminded me of a jack-in-the-box gone bonkers ~ no matter how many times she was stuffed into the box and the lid slammed down on her, she had this quirky way of popping back up with a crazy, intimidating, you-can’t-get-rid-of-me smirk) ~ to “normal” kids with their own unique personalities, feelings, thoughts ~ and … every single one of them now has this idea in their heads that their particular experience and perceptions of life matter.
Something we out here in the world take for granted, but it’s not how things are in Quiverfullworld.
I say they are “far from perfect” ~ but actually, they’re very good kids ~ not Duggar-like with neat, matching outfits, always helpful and obedient and smiling ~ they are taking full advantage of their new freedom to discover themselves which means that they don’t always say, “Yes, Mom” ~ and they’re pretty likely to disagree with me and not one of them still believes that I know everything and have all the answers.
Human beings in a human world, in short.
Now Andy –
When I put my kids in school, I was especially worried about my then-10 year old Andrew. He was so far behind academically ~ plus, he was so angry because after Angel left home, he became the main focus of Warren’s abuse. He was so beaten down and dispirited that he would scurry about the house like a mouse ~ trying to stay off of his father’s radar because as soon as Warren noticed Andrew, he’d spend hours lecturing and preaching to him until the poor boy was in tears. I remember many, many nights when I would lay in bed and think to myself that Andrew had not spoken a single word all day.
So when I talked to the elementary school principal, I expressed my concern, “I’m afraid Andrew will go to school and beat everyone up.”
Well ~ it didn’t turn out anything like what I imagined. Although Andrew was the most fearful and reluctant of all the kids when we talked about public school ~ he is now totally loving it.
I think the key factor in how well he’s doing was his teacher ~ she is amazing ~ absolutely “pro-Andrew” and that made all the difference for him. At the second parent-teacher conference, Andrew’s teacher was beaming with pride as she told me how Andrew was excelling in every area ~ academically and socially. She told me that at the beginning of the year, they were struggling to get him to write the “d” in his name rather than a “b” ~ but soon he was writing pages of really good stuff.
She asked Andrew to read one of his reports for me titled “Changes.” In his story, Andrew told about the divorce and how, at the beginning he really didn’t want me to divorce his dad ~ he didn’t believe that Warren was really so bad and he felt sorry for him because he’d lost his family. But, after getting away from him and seeing how other people live, he knows now that before the divorce, he was not even a real person. Then he told how happy he is to be able to think and learn and have his own ideas and opinions. He concluded by saying that he is grateful that I divorced his father because he knows it was a very hard fight for me but I did it so that he could have a life and now he can be anything he wants to be.
When Andrew was done reading his report for me, his teacher was all teary-eyed and she told me that when she gave the assignment, the other students wrote about how, “My life really changed when we got a new kitten,” and such ~ but when Andrew got up and gave his report, the class listened with total interest, and when he was finished, there was absolute silence ~ and then they started clapping ~ and then the whole class gave Andrew a standing ovation.
Hang on a second while I wipe my eyes …
She had to do that when she told me the story, too. I had to take a couple of deep breaths myself. “Then he told how happy he is to be able to think and learn and have his own ideas and opinions.”
And about Warren – he has a much better relationship with the children now. When he starts to get preachy at them they just tell him to chill, Dad, and he does.