Friday, 29 May 2020

at the end of the day...

A lot has happened in 7 years.  I've gone on to write other blogs...  It's probably no coincidence that I stopped publishing around the same time I started homeschooling my three kids, and the big one, a couple of years ago, my husband and I picked up roots, sold our house, purged our belongings and moved 900 miles away to Florida.  And now of course, we are in the middle of a Pandemic.

If I had read that paragraph 7 years ago, my first response probably would have been something like, "Oh. m. gee, that mom has A LOT on her plate....thank goodness that's not me."  oh the sweet, sweet sense of humor life has, yes?

So here we are, trapped in our homes like everyone else.  We are homeschoolers, so our school life hasn't changed too too much.... However, without our extracurricular activities taking us out of the house 3-4 days a week, the kids ended up unintentionally  racing through their school work.  Oh crap.  What do you do with kids who finish their school work 6 weeks early?  Start them on next year's homeschool, of course,  and channel your inner Scarlett ... "I can't think about that today. I'll worry about that tomorrow."

So that brings me to the present.  Kind of. If only life were that simple, right? 

My kids are staring at me, deer-in-a-head-light look on their faces... You can just see what they are thinking. "If I stay here, she will not only assign me next year's school work, but probably 3 more book reports, make me build a model of some stupid ancient city "for fun" and write a daily pandemic diary too... I better split before she thinks of it!"  

Poof! children are somehow magically otherwise occupied. Which means I am not.

Which is a rarity.  Two of my kids have special needs. We tried public school, online public schools, IEP's, online homeschool and homeschool boxed curriculums.  None of it works.(now... read that is an exasperated, desperate oh-my-gosh-I_can't_believe-this voice for full affect)  What DOES work is me writing lessons from scratch out of teacher manuals in the style best suited to teach my children independence and strategies to overcome their disabilities.  

Of. Course. It. Is.   
(If I were on social media, there would be either an eye roll or headslap emoticon here)

But that doesn't leave much time for me. In fact, most of the year, I work from the early morning to late at night doing lessons or house stuff.  Midnight often sees me trying to remember High School biology for my 10th grader, reading The Phantom Tollbooth for my 5th grader  or planning a botany lab for my 8th grader.... Like most moms, time is a precious commodity.

So here I am... I don't have to drive anyone to orchestra or robotics. No one has any therapy.  No one is going to science class 45 minutes away at the"local" research marine center. No one needs snacks for drama because there is no drama.  Scouts? nope. Basketball? Nadda. Zip. Zero  Our children's activities are centered around avoiding the crazed mother doling out extra  homework to keep them busy. 

And where are my efforts centered you ask?  Now that the guest room closet is finally clean, the last boxes from two years ago unpacked, the homeschool materials sorted,  a 3 year old unfinished baby quilt finally gets finished and sent off to a new mother ... all those little projects nagging on me are finally done? I find all that is left is me,  facing myself, asking what now?  Now that my children who are no longer 9, 7 and 4 also no longer need me every hour of every day, a question I was hoping to avoid any time soon.

Where am I?  Who am I?

Now, don't get me wrong.  I am not facing some great existential crises by any means.  But in the ultimate silver lining to a truly terrible situation, I finally have what I have craved for so long now.... the gift of time an wether I want to admit it or not, the start of the transition to when my children will start to lead their own lives.

So here I am.  I haven't not scrapbooked these last 7 years.  I've done stuff.  So I figure I'll start there.  I've been to a few crops in the last two years at the local library, haven't I?  So what do I have to post? 


Three layouts in 2 years time. Yikes!  No wonder I am burned out!  Y'all, (don't judge....I'm in the South now, remember.. I'm suppose to talk that way) have I really let myself go?  I don't mean my physical body... but rather my creative me! The stuff that makes me tick, brings me joy.

Oh my... I admit, my confidence is a little shot.  Can I start creating again?  What has changed?  

We shall see. I'm full game to try, and just thinking up projects has already brought me joy. And there's the crux of it, isn't it?  Finding one's joy. Whether I have  beautiful layouts again  or not, doesn't matter.  I have already succeeded. While I am rusty, and a little nervous and feeling shaky about creating new pieces, I still feel joy, and that feels amazing. I'm catching a glimpse of "Shelby" again.

So I start yet another chapter of my life with new resolve: I will continue to feed my creative spirit and not lose myself again.  Happy moms make for  happy families.  And a happy family is the other factor of a joyous me because at the end of the day, I am still Mom-in-Chief and that makes life good.

PS - I will post those three layouts tomorrow.