Even though I'm not really into dream interpretation, this is a dream that I treasure because it was so clearly relevant when I had it, and quite frankly I can use the reminder more often than not, even now.
The dream begins and I'm walking into a massive indoor/outdoor marketplace. The market has an international feel, and everything is intriguing and interesting and familiarly unfamiliar. I notice that people seem to be increasingly agitated as I move further into the market, and eventually, people are running past me in terrified sprints toward the exit.
Somehow, I come to understand that there is a tiger loose and prowling through the market.
And somehow, the person who has to get the tiger out of there ... is me.
image credit: "Tigress at Jim Corbett National Park" by Sumeet Moghe / Wikipedia
I'm scared. I don't want to tackle this tiger. I don't know how to tackle this tiger. But it's up to me to do it.
I reach the back of the market, and there's the tiger, pacing between the stalls. How do you capture and subdue a tiger? You grab it under the forelegs, hug it close, lift it off the ground, and start walking, of course. It's big - as big as me - and not easy to control as it whips around. But I know I have to get it out of the market, so I hold on tight and keep on walking.
After the initial struggle, something strange begins to happen: the tiger slowly begins to shrink. I still think I'm carrying a huge tiger, but little by little, it goes from full grown tiger to an overgrown cat that fits perfectly in my arms. It continues to squirm, but by the time I reach the door of the marketplace, the animal is completely manageable, and I'm bemused to find that what once was a big tiger now looks a lot like Garfield the Cat.
I had this dream in mid-August a few years into our homeschooling journey. I was preparing to teach first and second grades, and had a nineteen-month-old and a new baby. I was still figuring out the whole homeschool thing, unsure of how to juggle teaching two different grades at once and keep up with a toddler and a nursing baby. I was overwhelmed by the vast array of curriculum available, not to mention my hopes and dreams and high expectations. I'd ordered all my books but was afraid to open the boxes.
Do you see? Homeschool is the tiger. Before the school year begins, as you contemplate all the moving parts, it does seem utterly impossible. It seems impossible, that is, until you start. You lean into the year, grab your books and school supplies and lesson plans, and you begin. And before you know it, your students are counting by 9's and reading chapter books ... or solving quadratic equations and writing papers.
This one's for my fellow homeschool moms who are gearing up for another school year - or maybe the first homeschool year - and it feels like you're tasked with wrestling a tiger.
There's still a lot to learn, but you'll figure it out.
You may not be completely ready, but it doesn't have to be perfect.
It seems too big, but just take one day at a time, you can do it.
It feels like it's too much (I know!) - but you can handle it.
We can totally do this. It's going to be a great year!