“Bracketology” as it turns out, is not a word that appears in my dictionary app. The people at Merriam-Webster have apparently not spent enough time in Indiana during the month of March. As we speak, there are six completed NCAA men’s basketball tourney brackets posted on my pantry door. When the “picks” arrive from Grandma Kate and Grandpa Jim, we will have the door completely covered in scotch tape. It’s a time of year filled with laughs and bragging rights….and the official start of spring here at the Thieme house.
Do you want to know what is bugging me? NONE of our teams are in the tourney. IU, Purdue, Notre Dame, Butler, Ball State…..out, out, out and out! Since I bleed black and gold, it’s the woeful Boilermaker program that is a tough pill to swallow. I could go on about my opinions with how to fix that, but I doubt Purdue President Mitch Daniels is in the habit of taking the suggestions of stay-at-home moms about the future of the athletic department—which is in embarrassingly bad shape—in case I failed to adequately communicate that earlier.
Let it go, Shelly.
Serving burgers to grade schoolers is what’s up next on my schedule today. Usually, I really look forward to being lunch lady. Today? Not so much. You see, this morning my youngest son was sobbing before school. I am sure he calmed when he got to school. He’s waaaay too cool to cry in front of “the guys”. You know when you’re upset , containing it, then you see your mom and you just lose it? That’s my prediction for how lunchroom will go today.
Last week, he spent two days taking I-STEP tests. Yesterday, he did a “practice test” for the I-READ. This test is now required in order for students to be promoted to 4th grade in the Hoosier state. In Zach’s case, he has been getting A’s on all his reading tests in class. Of course, that doesn’t matter a bit to the state of Indiana. Zach is anxious because the tests are given on computers. He isn’t comfortable with the computer test. He has developed some test taking strategies which help him (like circling questions you aren’t sure about and underlining key sentences in text) which you can’t do on a computer. He is sure his computer will crash. Or, he won’t know how to work it….and of course you aren’t allowed to ask any questions under penalty of death. Needless to say, he is pretty sure he will be in the 3rd grade until he’s 21. That seems like pretty high stakes pressure for a 9 year old.
I could expound at great length upon what I think of all the standardized testing and how we have taken education away from the educators and turned our kids into dots on a big bar chart. Instead, I will spare you from suffering further under my black cloud.
Did I mention he will see me right before he takes this “make or break” test that has him in knots?
Let it go, Shelly.
My washer made this morning’s laundry smell like rotten eggs. Nick’s new car starts—sometimes. Caesar, the neighbor’s big fluffy mutt, prefers using our yard as his “potty.” I miss actual keys because keypads seem to hate me. Energy-saving light bulbs? The ones that are supposed to last like seven years? Ugly, expensive, and mine have all burned out. Again. Also, you should congratulate the 3 Thieme boys when you see them. I am pretty sure they have now officially set a record for most leaves and mud ever tracked into a house. Impressive accomplishment, gentlemen!
All of this junk is a little taste of what is getting to me today. As I pondered my excessive negativity and prayed for grace this morning, I found myself suddenly humming.
Here’s the lyrics to a terrific song by Francesca Battistelli,(@francescamusic) whose chorus came humming out of me, without my permission:
This is the stuff that drives me crazy
This is the stuff that’s getting to me lately
In the middle of my little mess
I forget how big I’m blessed
This is the stuff that gets under my skin
But I gotta trust You know exactly what You’re doing
It might not be what I would choose
But this is the stuff You use
Thanks, God, for reminding me that getting my underwear in a knot over the minutia of life is a useless waste of time. Thanks for the grace to see my shortcomings clearly this day and for sending me a song to lighten my mood and knock me awake. You gave your grumpy, undeserving daughter a beautiful gift—that song in my heart. You are light years beyond any kind of fantastic word I can think up. Thanks for loving me just the way I am, while challenging me to be more. Thanks for my beautiful boys, including their filthy shoes. I love you too.
Off I go. I’ll give those kids a little of what You gave me. Promise.
Shaazam, You’re good!