Our lives are comprised of moments…small daily tasks of living that together create an image. Like pieces in a puzzle.
Some of us live for the BIG moments, the big events…marriage, birth, graduations, promotions, travels, vacations, and adventures. But in the puzzle of life, the biggest spaces are filled with the simple…daily moments of living. Reading to a child. Preparing our meals. Planting seeds.
How we choose these moments – to live them, to take notice of them, is perhaps more substantial to the quality of our lives than anything else we choose.
I am feeling unsure of myself lately, and I’m not quite sure why. Perhaps it is related to the many life changes I am experiencing. Part of me is embracing this change, yet part of me is resisting too. I have thought a lot about my role as a parent, and I am feeling a great deal of nostalgia for our homeschooling days.
The article I wrote for Home Education Magazine has come out. An article on a lifestyle that no longer applies to us. But of course, this article was written, edited, and submitted late last spring.
These days I am dividing my energy between work and home life. I feel I have found some level of balance between my work and my home life, partly I believe because my children are older now, and partly because I enjoy a flexible schedule. I am working/commuting four days each week, with three days to be at home. The work/commute days are long; I typically leave at 7 am and return at 7:30 pm. Several evenings I return even later as I take time for exercise.
As far as my work, I feel I am making some small contribution to improving the health and quality of life for the individuals we are serving, and I feel rewarded as well with the connections with my fellow clinical team as we work together. I haven’t written much about my work. The state facility that employs me provides care for several hundred profoundly intellectually and physically disabled individuals. Not everything I see here is pretty or good, but the majority of those working here are whole-heartedly committed to the care and well-being of these individuals.
My home life seems short and compressed these days, the three days each week I am home passing too quickly. In the evenings after work, I enjoy time with the girls as we snuggle beneath warm flannel sheets reading books together before bed. And on the weekends we have our family dinners with big brother Sean visiting. We have enjoyed our weekly bonfires, as well as Frisbee and archery practice.
In the past, we always made time for “date days”, where I would spend a day with only one child. Just the two of us would enjoy a long afternoon together, sharing lunch at a favorite restaurant, or perhaps a picnic at a favorite park. A trip to the craft store, or a movie with an older child, this was their special time to enjoy uninterrupted ‘mom time’.
We have continued this tradition, and I admit to taking a “sick day” from work and school to make these moments happen more frequently. I truly enjoy spending time with my children, individually and as a family. I value each of their unique personalities, the creative, intuitive, gentle and kind people they are.
I am adjusting as I accept my new role of primary income earner for our family. While Carl has continued to seek a professional salary, he has not been able to obtain anything equal to my salary and benefits. I know this is hard for him, especially as a man who values being the provider for his family. But I truly feel honored to be taking care of us, and doing so in a way that I find meaningful. My work has rewards beyond the paychecks, and for that I am deeply grateful.
And whether Carl realizes it now or not, the benefit of his flexible part-time work and the responsibilities he has taken on as the primary parent are giving him the opportunities to experience parenting in a whole new way. He suffered years of oppressing work and commutes, for the sole purpose of a paycheck. Now is his time to enjoy some breathing space.
Although my days and weeks are full in a new way, they will continue to get fuller as spring arrives. We have big plans for this land of ours. The first step is turning our large expanse of yard into a productive edible landscape. Starting with the creation of annual and perennial beds for planting, we are creating a plan to improve our soil . We are also making plans for the addition of some laying hens and meat rabbits, both which will contribute food and through their waste, soil nutrients to our homestead. I will be sharing more of this in the coming weeks and months.
As I write this, I find my thoughts meandering like the streams through this valley, what is the purpose of this post? I’m not sure really. I don’t know that I have anything important or useful to say, and lately I find myself questioning what I want to share here in this space. Three years ago, this blog was part log of our homeschooling explorations, part documentary as I learned skills in cooking with whole foods, sewing, knitting, and learning to live a slower and more simple life.
What do I want to write, and more importantly why? Selfishly, this blog has helped me so much – in particular by writing and sharing what is important to me, I have become more mindful and thoughtful. But I often find I want to share something I hope to be helpful as well. But of course, so much of what I want to share has already been said, usually by someone with more knowledge, experience, and insight than myself.
But still. I consider what I have searched for on the big wide web, and in particular within the media of blogging.
Connection. Inspiration. Ideas. Information. Experiences. Validation. Just to name a few.
Of course all of these can be gained from other forms of social media, but I find myself uncomfortable with most forms of social media. Other than the technical differences, what is the difference between blogging and posting to Facebook? It definitely feels different to me. My experience with Facebook is liking attending a very crowded and very noisy party. Lots of empty small talk, with the loudest noise coming from the “life of the party” individual who enjoys being the center of attention. Just my perceptions, mind you.
This introvert girl prefers the intimacy of small gatherings and long personal conversations to the empty small-talk of a large party. And somehow, that is how I feel when visiting my favorite blogs. There is an intimacy, even among my favorite high-volume blogs.
I suppose as my life changes, my roles evolve, and new goals are added to previous accomplishments, this space will continue to evolve too. I have considered giving up this space, and using the time I spend sharing here for other pursuits. But as my life unfolds, I am experiencing and acknowledging new depths to myself that go beyond the roles of mother, wife, homemaker, health professional. And writing is emerging as an important part of this new me.
Where will this all lead for this humble space? I’m not sure yet.