"Today is Friday,
Today is Friday,
Thursday roast beef,
Tuesday string beans,
Monday wash day,
All you hungry brothers,
We wish the same to you."
It rolled right off the tongue. Right after "Friday fish" on the menu my brain erupted into old camp songs sung with many hungry brothers over the years. After listening on cassettes and then dvds the lyrics are seared into my memory.
Kieran had an exam today on a Tolstoy short story. As soon as he began the plot and the questions came back to me. The same way, I could have jotted down the supplies for a senses unit in my sleep I think, the activities and associated projects so familiar to me now. And then we settled in to dipping cod into batter the same way the church ladies prepared the Friday fish fry line, week after week, in my childhood.
It occurred to me we really are reaping the rewards of habit. Although we are in another new house, another new location, another new job, so many things roll along the same well-worn paths charted so long ago. People don't factor that in when they hear family size. They assume a reckless amassing of liabilities and exponential multiplication of chores and subtraction of brain cells. It didn't work out that way though.
New things are a challenge. They always are. It was so difficult to learn how to teach - reading, math, science, and gasp, latin. Oh my word. Manuals and how-to's and reviews of the manuals and how to books stacked up on my side tables for YEARS. It seemed for a long stretch every aspect of life was that way, so much to get up to speed on in so many areas. How do you safely carry a baby, feed a baby? Then how do you feed a whole bunch of people? When should they walk/talk/train/drive a car? How do we accomodate allergies? Repair a dryer? Alter the uniform? How do you research your doctor/dentist? All of it requiring action on my part at once.
It left my head spinning.
Sometimes it isn't until the spinning stops that you notice. Once day, just like that, the thing - whatever the thing happens to be - just happens effortlessly, like clockwork. You can wing the lesson. Your little liabilities slip into the kitchen and begin slicing and mixing alongside you. You know the answer to the teen's question. You know exactly how long it is between tylenol doses. You may not know when it came together. Just that at some point it did. The added bonus is that not only do you know these things, but every year more of your clan knows them too. All those years you were not just pushing the building capacity to bursting. You were building a community, a shared culture, a team. You were learning skills together that only needed to be mastered once and then they would serve you faithfully for years to come.
There are always new things. That's a given. Eventually, though, there are a whole lot of other things that are no longer foreign, freeing you up to concentrate on fewer things at once. Those others just begin to work on autopilot in the background.
After years of struggle and fatigue my friend, that.is.awesome.
(Traditional beer batter fish fry here.)