2 d : disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency
Thus far, Advent has not gone exactly as I imagined.
I've been planning for this season since July. Back then, I talked A and B into doing math a few times each week so that we could suspend our regular studies in favor of Advent studies and activities for the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. No science, no history, no grammar - just baking cookies, studying the people and symbols of the season and doing things for others. They (grudgingly) agreed and to my delight and relief we're nearly halfway through our math textbook with nearly five months still ahead of us to finish it. We're still doing a bit of math each day, but we've cut back our textbook lessons to two per week and are doing a lesson or two on Khan Academy to keep skills fresh. In addition to a bit of math each day, we're trying to Think, Read and Do something related to Advent.
What this means varies by day. Yesterday, we talked about the difference between saints and Saints. We discussed icons and looked at some examples. We found that the saint could be framed by several different things: scenes from the saint's life were the most common, but other images show the saint surrounded by prophets or by images from sermons preached. Then the girls were to create their own icon-inspired image. Which they did... but not until today. This was partly their fault - they knew the assignment and did not do it. But it was also my fault. I didn't follow up or follow through, so it slipped until today.
Quite frankly, this is largely because I am tired and my entire family is tired. I opted for a long trip to the library yesterday instead of more time at the table. This afternoon brought a trip to the Adventure Science Center instead of more school work. These things weren't scheduled, but they were what we needed. This week is crunch time for Nutcracker rehearsals. Over the course of an 8 day period, A rehearses or performs for 7 of those 8 days. The one extra evening was occupied by B's choir concert. We're on day 5 with opening night tomorrow. I think we're going to make it. But only because I've left piles of laundry for a day when I can manage it. Only because I've scrapped some of my Advent ideas in favor of reading books. Only because I've given myself grace to let go of my grand plans for Advent and let the season unfold with a mixture of planning and mystery.
Tomorrow is a school day, but the girls in this house are taking a mental health day. K is staying home from school. A and B's Advent plan for the day can wait. Instead, we'll sleep in, make pancakes for breakfast, watch Christmas movies, read Christmas books, and rest. If Advent is about waiting and listening, then I think it's important to listen to what's going on with my children. Tempers have been flaring and my girls are exhausted. I can insist we push through and take advantage of all this season has to offer. Or I can let my own grand plans slip through my fingers like sand from the beach. That sounds a lot more like a grace-filled Advent to me.