Just for the sake of this blog, sometimes I wish the toughest thing going on to write about, was that we’ve decided to hold off on potty training Scarlett or that Mary got a new pair of glasses.
More than the big stuff, it’s always been little nuances of daily life that I’ve enjoyed trying to put into words. I’m learning, with mixed emotions, that our day-to-day just isn’t very little anymore. It won’t be for a lengthy while, either. Raising a big family is no small feat, not always effortless to keep light. So, all too often, the stuff consuming my conscious, taking up all my energy to be creative, is not the kind of plate I feel comfortable sharing with everyone at the table. I’m a little torn, to be honest. I want this space to be a mix of raw everyday failure, small victory and light commentary. That’s what I feel like our life has always been.
A few months ago, I stopped writing in my old blog because I didn’t like that it was starting to take on kind of a negative air. In being honest and open, which helped me to make it through some difficult times internally, I painted too harsh a picture of our struggles for other people to see.
Objectively, Mary is not always complicated, Matthew is not always ornery, Spencer is really an easy guy to get along with, and you wouldn’t know it from the way that I write when I’m feeling a little down on myself, but not everything is a struggle.
I started this one because I thought a fresh start would make a new and gentler voice easier to adopt. My aim was to keep this lighter and more objective. I set out for it to be less of a coping mechanism for me if hard times are to pop up, which is sort of why I haven’t written a lot since Christmas. Nothing is bad, but almost everything is an effort. Whenever I start to feel like I can be proud of the progress I’m getting under my belt, some meager slip derails all of it. My whole mentality takes a dive. I’m feeling a little down on myself right now, and keeping my spirits up for the kids is where having my spirits up counts. Once I get a minute alone to reflect, it hits me how close I am to my whit’s end, trying to keep up with a few things that aren’t a lot of fun.
Homeschooling is just such an elephant in every room right now. When it’s good, it’s more exciting to me than anything else. When it’s hard, wanting to fix it is an all-consuming occupation.
I miss writing about superfluous things, like a puddle of urine on the floor because potty training blows, or the fact that we’re flirting with the idea of getting a dog, or how every time I corrected Matthew in front of Louis Elf this December, he’d remind me that Santa was watching and I was in serious danger of getting coal in my stocking if I kept up all this authoritarian nonsense. Both words came out of my four-year-old’s adorable, totally out-of-line mouth: nonsense and authoritarian. (Not surprisingly, something similar was was said to him that week.) But still, like, WTF? How do you just NOT write about something that sincere and wrong and hilarious?
I guess I’m just writing this to mark a resolution I have; to stop letting homeschool rule every facet of my life. I love my Mary, and I have such a passion for setting her on the right academic path, but I’m letting certain occupational hazards take more out of the me than they need to. So I’m scaling it back. I’m letting Matthew finish his sentences when he comes to me during a lesson, even if it is just to tell me he found a cute little ant in his bedroom. I’m stopping in the middle of calculating grades if Scarlett asks politely for help dressing her doll. I’m putting down the lesson planner when it’s time to start dinner, even if it means that catching up will be necessary in the morning. I’m going to let our sidetracked conversations go on uninterrupted during school sometimes, even if it means I have to teach past 3:00.
I keep pointing out that this is Matthew’s last year with us; his last full year home before going off to do so much growing up away from my side. But the hard truth is that this is a pivotal year for everyone, because every year with every child, is important.
Coincidentally, while I was busy typing this up, a friend of mine posted a link on my wall for some site where you can print your blog into a book for a very reasonable price. I’m not a fan of the covers on this particular one, but the idea has me seriously inspired to keep this resolution. I want to make a book of memoirs worth reading about for every year of parenthood with my kids. This is where I’ll start.