Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Transition Continues

Today has been a lazy day for me, the first lazy day I've had in a long time. I've finally settled into something of a routine, even though it's not yet an ideal one. When I resigned my position, I agreed to work a 30-day notice, but I'm taking nearly all of my available vacation days as I do it. This generally means I work half days all week. My daughter and I do the parts of home school that require me to actually teach in the morning, and we bring a backpack filled with work that she can independently into the office with us. My daughter is able to work quietly at the table in my office, and we can both get our jobs done.

When we first decided on the home school option last summer (actually it's a cyber school, but there's not too much difference except for the requirements of having a structured curriculum), we had asked my father-in-law to fill in as the teacher until one of us could be available, which we had initially planned to be in January of 2009. My father-in-law had been a physical education teacher at the high school level for several years in his early career, but we knew that supervising a head-strong third grader who was well accustomed to getting everything she wanted from "Pop" would be very different. As it turned out, it went far better than we expected. Pop was able to be firm with her, and I played the role of relationship coach for both of them. In the evening, I would listen to her complaints about their day, and then translate them into positive suggestions for him, and in the morning, I would listen to his complaints, and do the same with her.

It was interesting to see how they were both complaining about the same things but from different perspectives. One of the big ones was his complaint that she didn't pay attention enough. She would begin playing with her pencil or whatever, and stop focusing on the work. Her complaint was that Pop kept saying she wasn't paying attention when she felt she was. I explained to her that there were certain things she did that Pop took to mean she wasn't paying attention, like looking around the room or focusing on other objects, and if she didn't do those things, he wouldn't draw that conclusion. I also encouraged Pop not to nag her about paying attention, but instead look at the book in front of her and ask her a question about the lesson that would help her see what she needed to do next.

After a couple of months, the relationship seems to be working so well for both of them, that we decided that there was no need for either of us to stop working at the end of 2008. It filled Pop's need to have something useful to do and to spend quality time with his granddaughter, and she was getting quality instruction and work that was challenging to her, both elements that had been missing when she was attending public school.

There's really nothing more to tell about Pop's condition. He has started chemotherapy, but it's too soon to know if it will be helpful. He is trying to adjust to his new lack of mobility--walking with a cane and being unable to drive. He was still playing golf regularly up until two months ago, so it's a big change for him.


  1. Some day she will treasure these moments. I wish my children could have an active grandparent in their lives, but it wasn't meant to be.

  2. good to see that things are working out (at least at some level) OR should I say you are getting used to things the way they are.
    Anyways, no bad news is indeed good news.

    I wish you the best.

  3. "We leave traces of ourselves wherever we go, on whatever we touch." Lewis Thomas

    Hi, I'm new to your site and wasn't sure what to say, so I've left you the above quote. Hope all will be well soon. Keep smiling. ~dcrelief

  4. ~K: It has been a mixed blessing really. When my mother-in-law died two years ago, it was really difficult for all of us because she and my father-in-law had been so very involved in our daughter’s life. Now, if I get sick with a cold or anything, my daughter will come in and ask me, with great concern, if I’m going to die. Still, I would not have done it differently. Loss is a reality of life, and if you try too hard to protect yourself from it, you end up not really living at all.

    despo: Thanks for your cheerful words, you’re a dear to think of me and extend your affection.

    dcrelief: Welcome to the site, and thanks for visiting. That’s a lovely quote, and with it you leave a bit of yourself here. Our lives are nothing but moments, one after the other, and our challenge is to enjoy them to the fullest, no matter what kind of feeling or experience they may bring us.