The kiddos have been back to school for almost a month. It has been a crazy month, out of the ordinary, with two weekends away, back to school activities and catching up on projects that have been waiting too long. I feel this photo I snapped at the beach. People in the distance, the world tilted, sand not perfect with bits of dune grass growing. Truth be told the dune grass part makes me sad. Shouldn’t it be growing?
I feel this photo, shouldn’t I be growing? I feel something great in my future, I see it there like that beautiful blue lake in the distance. But there is that long stretch of beach and the prickly dry grass and the ground is lopsided. I am a filler. I have spent my life moving from school to career, working three jobs. When I finally got the 40 hours a week job, I make it 60 hours and decided to add in more school. My mom got terminally ill, needed round the clock care, which I happily provided in between the work and school. Taking care of her is one of the best things I ever did, but that is a topic for another day. Then I got married and had three beautiful kids all in 5 years. Once the craziness of toddlerhood was over, we chose to homeschool. Homeschooling 3 children, 2 with LDs. I work individually with each child, find field trips and communities to help them thrive. I teach co-ops, I am reading and leading discussions on 4 novels a month, reading 25 papers a month in addition to the 4-5 novels a month I read with my own kids. So I jump in. I fill my time. I am better when I have something to do.
The problem with me is I am a pleaser. I will do whatever is put in front of me. Want me to cook? I cook. Need me to write copy for your business? No problem. It makes me a good employee, it makes me a great daughter, wife, mother. It doesn’t always make me a great me. So, I have decided to live in the lopsided beach for a bit. Feel uncomfortable. Not fill every second. Just be and not fill every moment with an activity. I want that grass to grow, I want me to grow and the reflection part is hard for me. So that’s how I know to do it.
Back to School after 6 years out
So, looking at the past today feeling nostalgic. My daughter went back to school two years ago and my boys today. This was their choice and I think it is a good one, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t come without some anxiety and sadness. I was happy as I watched them riding down the street. I can not wait to hear about the day and have a plate of cookies ready for them. But I am still a little bit sad.
I really enjoyed not cleaning the kitchen every 20 minutes. I really missed the quick hug from little guy and the older one telling me in one breath about something he was learning about in Africa, how cool it was and do I know specifically why ice water is a little bit colder than ice.
I have learned so much homeschooling the kids. One of the things I learned is that I was a homeschooler, going to Catholic school in the seventies. We were homeschoolers when we schooled the older ones for pre-school and early elementary. We are homeschoolers now that I have three kids enrolled in the schools down the street. Homeschooling is not really about where you spend your days, it is an attitude about learning.
So there is this ordinary cup of coffee. Its my favorite cup, you know the one. My two olders and dh are off to school, track and work. The younger is sleeping and I have my cup of coffee. Its 7am. The phone won’t ring.
A. Whole. Cup. No. Interruptions.
It is one of those moments that can be crystallized in time. For maybe 5, maybe 20 minutes the house is silent. There is nothing to do but reflect. Or read. Or write.
Every time it happens, I appreciated this simple luxury. I enjoy my gift of a hot cup of coffee, no interruptions.
The past weeks have been an unusual way to end winter in the Midwest. Weather in the 80’s, sunny, the kind of days that just make you want to be outside. That is just what we have done. The vegetable garden is well underway. Seeds are planted, frost tolerant plants are in the ground and growing. The kids have been outside for hours every day enjoying the weather, reading on the patio, playing in the local creek, climbing trees and just doing not much of anything.
I have felt a kind of rebirth too. This winter, it seems, I have done nothing. But as I looked back, I realized that 4 sets of house guests, hosting family holidays, working for my hubby’s business have all taken their share of time and not left me much room to write. The writing is important I think. A chance to reflect on what we do everyday, to evaluate what works and what doesn’t. So hopefully I will be writing. More.