This turn into a new year has been an interesting one for me. Normally, I’m in the middle of things choosing my “word” and vowing to eat a bit better and exercise more. But this year….no. None of that. I’ve come to the conclusion that what I really need to do is BE. Be who I am, be present with my children, be kind to myself, be with my husband, be my honest self with the people around me. I am enough as is. I don’t need to work on some new and improved version of myself. I can rest. I can relax and I can enjoy being who I am.
Truly, I’ve got plenty going on without adding marathon training, detoxing, challenges, etc to the mix. I’m getting ready to have my 4th child. I’ve decided that’s enough right there. Ha!
One thing I’m trying out was spurred by 2 incidents. One-my friend told me a few years back that she had come across her mother’s journal from 7th or 8th grade and how funny it was to read her thoughts. The other incident was getting a book for Christmas by a favorite author that was essentially a journal of her son’s first year-her first year as a mother. First, I cannot fathom my children ever reading some of my journals. That is stormy territory, reserved for my most brutally honest self-reflection and emotional upset. Second, I hated that book I got. It was awful. It was angry. It was depressing. I became very snappy and bitchy after reading for 2 days. My husband and children wondered what was wrong with me. So, this one thing I’m trying-writing in a brand new journal all of the positives, all of the good. I don’t want to fill it with frustrated, whiny, emotional junk. I want my children to be able to read it in 20 years and know how much I adored them and not be mortified that they’re reading it. I’ve realized that I’m at a place where I can continue to use journal writing as therapuetic, but in a positive format. I’m actually looking forward to it. it’s been a good couple of days. Reflecting on the good of the day, even if it’s just a couple lines.
So, there you have it-I’m going to be and I’m writing about positives. (Because otherwise I’d be writing every day about how much I hate heartburn and food)
So the thing is, if I tried to explain to you my upbringing and why it prevented me from reading this amazing series, it would take far too long. Plus, it’s not that interesting. Suffice it to say that anything having to do with magic, that wasn’t overtly Christian in theme, was off-limits.
About 2 months ago I just felt this need to read all things Harry Potter. It wouldn’t go away. Then I was faced with unexpected grief and just knew it was time. I checked them out from my library. People-I read for about 10 straight days and finished the whole thing! Obviously the housework suffered but has now recovered. If you’re like me and have avoided these books for the last 18ish years…..just do it, check them out and start reading. It has been worth it more than I know how to say. For all of you that have read them, loved them and read them over many times-I get it now.
They are brilliant. I was swept up in imagination in a way that hasn’t happened in I don’t even know how long. It was captivating and heartbreaking and thoroughly entertaining, while laying out profound truths. Rowling is incredible, really and truly. The way she brought this all to life with a pen commands my respect (and awe). My biggest takeaway…..that who you become really is the culmination of your choices no matter your start.
I’m going to start reading them to my daughter. She just watched all of the movies with me but I really can’t wait to see how much she enjoys the depth of the books. The films are good but don’t possess quite the same power as the books. As it is, she’s still captivated by the story and has been making wands. Yay for hot glue, paint and chopsticks.
Oh my gosh! School is almost out. We homeschool and I am so happy to not have to think about any type of instruction for the next few months. This is our second year and it’s better than last year. But I have this nagging feeling it could be better or that maybe I’m doing it wrong. We started out with an online public charter school-learning fund anyone? But the added pressure of being ready for state testing and assessment every quarter was too much. This year we did it again and added a once/week homeschool co-op. Because I am a glutton for punishment and need to bite off more than I can actually handle. So I’m looking forward to a break and next year. Because next year we aren’t doing the online thing and we aren’t doing any extra groups. Thank you Jesus. They will be busy doing violin and aerial silks to help them be around other kids. I am also going to lazily start my 4 year old in Oak Meadow preK. Just to help keep her entertained since her favorite playmate is starting full-time preK in the fall and they won’t see each other as much.
I have this daughter. She is the most loving person I know. She insists on loving people, on believing the best about them. Even when they hurt her, she is quick to forgive, quick to want to give the benefit of the doubt. I’m learning a lot from her. What I find intriguing is that she is not like this to a fault. She is no doormat and she is learning to stand up for herself. I watch her and am fascinated by the way she will set aside her own preference to allow another to have theirs. I used to think this sort of thing was a weakness. I used to see it as a bad character trait-a pushover. But in truth, she is not a pushover. She has her priorities in line. She knows it’s better to love, to give, to help, to share. She knows that a mistake is just that. It’s a mistake and not the truth of a person, their heart.
I, on the other hand, am the complete opposite. In meeting people, I am simply waiting for the novelty to wear off, for people to show their true selves. And a mistake is the first sign of “Oh I see-this is the real you.” I am not generally disposed to seeing the best in others, to loving despite injury. It’s takes a lot of effort to not write people off. There is this one person who, through repeated injury, I had basically put in a box with a “crazy, do not trust label.” But recently I’ve been pleasantly surprised. I see much more good. There’s a generosity and overall good-natured quality that exists. So, I’m learning to be willing to hold off judgement, to trust God with my heart so that I can love more freely. My daughter is a walking example. We help each other that way-I help her not get taken in and she helps me see the true, the good.
I just want to write. I have been reading Glennon Melton and Anne Lamott and Brene Brown lately. There are all of these thoughts, musings, wonderings swirling around in my brain that I need to get onto paper….well, the screen I guess. It’s not really paper anymore is it? I digress. There is this creative urge to make something of value-even if it’s only to me. Something that says-Yes! I made that. I wrote that. Here is a part of me. For the time being I will just do it-even if it means I’m writing for 5 minutes a day. Just to do it.
At the moment, Anne Lamott is my new favorite. I went to see her in public once. I hadn’t read a thing she’d written, but my best friend insisted we go because Anne is amazing. So, I went having no idea what to expect. I laugh now. She was passing out anti-Bush number stickers. And I really don’t remember anything else. That was over 10 years ago. For Christmas this year I received 2 of her books. Small Victories and Help, Thanks, Wow. I have been missing out. The latter book perfectly captures how I’ve been feeling about prayer since having children. I don’t have much more than those 3 words, but they succinctly capture what I’m trying to say. The first book-Small Victories-has me thinking a lot.
I am currently at the end of my 3rd pregnancy. I’m not being induced or having a scheduled c-section. What does that mean? It means I get to wait. Wait until it’s time. And waiting is harder than I realized. I’ve been impatient, tried to control the process, doing natural “induction” methods. But at the end of the day I get to wait until baby is ready. And I want him to come when ready, because it’s better for him. Living in the in-between is challenging. I know that he has to come out at some point in the very near future, but I do not know which day that is. Will he come at night? In the morning? Will it be fast or slow? This waiting lesson applies to so much of life. There are so many things out of our control. And things we must wait for. How well do we wait? What does waiting bring out in us? Are we able to stay peaceful and sit in the middle of the unknown? Knowing that something will happen. Some days I wait better than others. Some days I am ok giving up control and just going with whatever my body is or isn’t doing. And some days I get so fed up and want to cry. Especially when I get asked repeatedly when the baby is coming. I don’t know-my belly is not a crystal ball and no one wants him out more than I do. Trust me. I am ready to be done with heartburn and insomnia. And yet at the same time I know he’s doing well inside and is thriving. But there comes a point when it’s no longer an adequate space for him. Living in constant expectation is a bit draining. So I keep cleaning the house (much to the delight of my husband). I don’t really know what else to do with myself. I think today I will get the girls outside and enjoy the spring weather. Maybe go buy some chicken feed and strawberry plants. Something. Anything to distract me :) And then you will all hear from me when this sweet child makes an appearance.
We are getting closer to the end of our first year of homeschool. I have learned more than thought I would. Such as, teaching on only 3-4 hours average sleep per night is not a good idea, makes me a little less patient and a little more grumpy. Anyways, I’m learning a lot of really good things, too. I’ve learned to pay attention to what the girls are actually interested in. I’ve learned to let go a little more. Starting the day with what we are thankful for puts our focus in the right place. And that diffusing the right blend of essential oils in the room keeps us all calmer.
I never thought I would homeschool. It was a terrifying idea to me. Yet, here I am. And I am willing to continue. Not only continue, but the idea of unschooling is more appealing by the day. I still don’t quite get it, but I’m learning and reading. What matters most to me is that they learn because they want to, that they have the chance to pursue the things that are interesting to them. Because it no longer makes sense to teach a subject for the sake of teaching it. And because they don’t really retain it anyways. We are doing some early state history and my 4th grader is bored out of her mind with it-she hates it, she doesn’t want to learn about Oklahoma. She wants to learn about Africa, Asia and Europe. She wants to be a world traveller. She also has no desire to read the assigned books-they’re not particularly entertaining to her. She likes books that are funny. So, rather than keep forcing her to learn what bores her-I’m letting her set the pace and pick what she prefers. Does is really matter as long as she is reading? I don’t think it does. And honestly the state history of OK is pretty depressing. We had a discussion about Native Americans being forced from their homes and moved to OK. She gets it, that it was political and wrong. She has the makings of an activist. She also wants to learn code, film-making, creating mine craft mods, etc. And she wants to play an instrument. Looks like we’re already on our way to unschool.
This entire year we’ve been connected to an online public charter school. I won’t be using this post to discuss in-depth how arbitrary and unnecessary I think state testing is, but let’s just say I hate it and I’m not doing it again after this year. It’s inefficient and tells me nothing really. Good-bye public education.
Then there’s my 2nd grader. She loves to move. She loves to be read to and her reading skills have really expanded this year. She is interested in aerial dance, horseback riding and wants to play cello. She cannot sit still without her attention totally captured. And as much as I like Oak Meadow’s curriculum that we’ve been using through this charter school-it isn’t quite cutting it. There’s a lot of second-guessing myself, am I making this interesting enough? Are we doing this “right”? I am the student that mastered the school system, but I left it still not knowing what really motivated me, what was interesting to me, what I wanted to do. It took until I was 29/30 to realize that I love science-specifically how the body works and what it needs to really flourish. It fascinates me. I feel like a sponge. I want my girls to have that opportunity now, not when they’re 30. Being well-rounded isn’t necessarily good. Learning to suffer through learning something you don’t care about isn’t really learning. (looks like I’ve talked myself into an unschooled after all)