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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

First


The snow is melting, soaking, pouring away; pulling back to reveal tiny fingers of green life.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Big Dreams


I can't remember now how it first started, but we've been reading about Mt. Everest.  And climbing Mt. Everest.  And then D decided that he is going to climb Mt. Everest himself some day (with G, of course).

For his birthday last month we got him a rock climbing lesson and some passes to a rock gym, and this past Saturday was our first visit.  He (we all) had a great time.

Maybe he will only ever go this far: climbing the indoor mountains, or maybe even some outdoor ledges & such.  Most likely.  But he surely has big dreams.  He was contemplating, the other day, what I would say to him when he called me from his satellite phone from the summit, and just assuming that of course I would be waiting at the bottom of the mountain for him, looking around the town while he makes his way to the top.

I wonder sometimes, what the right thing to do is, in the face of all the big dreams that D & G both have.  And there are a lot of them - it seems like most of their ideas are extraordinary in scope.  I wonder sometimes if other kids their age have such grand (and to my jaded adult eyes impossible) schemes.  I wonder if they will end up feeling disappointed and discouraged when they always fall short of the original plan.

But I think maybe all that wondering and worrying is just the grown up part of me thinking too much. If I look at it from a different perspective, how wonderful it must be to live in a world where it is completely possible to imagine oneself building a castle in the back yard out of stone blocks you shape, or digging out an entire house underground.  Or climbing Mt. Everest.  How special it is to have the chance to create a space for that enthusiasm and imagination.

And who knows.  Maybe some of those big ideas will shake out in the end.   In any case, it's mighty exciting to think about, and a good excuse to try something new.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Oh, These Gray Days


I feel surprised to name the days and realize it is March, followed a split-second later by the realization that with March comes spring.  We spent the second half of February (or was it more?) with extra cold temperatures and piles of snow.  And in this neck of the woods, winter generally means gray.  We do get a few beautiful clear blue sunny days sprinkled in, thank goodness.  But the theme is gray.  Seems to be that around this time of the year it starts to take its toll.

I looked back through my pictures, thinking I remembered seeing the first snowdrops at the end of February last year, but looks like it wasn't until March, so maybe we're about on schedule: the weather is supposed to be warming up slowly in the coming days.

As I looked for the snowdrops, I found this post from almost exactly a year ago.  I can't say I feel the same ambivalence this year as last (though, you'll notice, I wrote it on one of those beautiful clear blue sunny days...).  I am ready for some renewal.  Ready for colors to seep back in and up through the wet and bare ground and into the branches overhead.

I'm also ready (mostly) to start digging in and beginning the work of growing, and setting down deeper roots in this place.  Since that post last March we've made some decisions, and we've got lots of plans for the year ahead.  But that is for a different post.  At the end of this cold, gray, sodden day, a warm bed and a good book are calling. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

It's Just a Blank Page


G has been into painting lately.  I suspect it has something to do with a certain Grandpa and his paintings.  Which is pretty great. 

There's just one thing.  For all the talk of painting, mostly the painting paper remains blank pages in a pile.  We gave him an art desk for his birthday.  A nice score of a desk: good shape, slanted (and easily cleaned!) surface, lots of storage.  He was so pumped.  He has a lot of time happily arranging his supplies inside it: getting set up.  But there are still those blank pages.

I can relate.  They are surprisingly intimidating, those white expanses. 

I have been staring at this blank page and blinking cursor for a while now - literally and figuratively.  Because really, a gap in time as long as it's been since I last wrote anything here seems to beg an explanation, or at least (definitely this) a post of some import to mark a new beginning. 

But really it's like the advice that comes so easily out of my mouth directed at G: just start.  It doesn't matter if it's not perfect (you're going to make mistakes), just start.  One step at a time.

And it's also like the birds.  Sometimes the feeders outside my kitchen window are a riot of birds that makes the time spent washing dishes a small joy.  Sometimes they disappear, and for days there won't be any: the feeders will be full, and yet empty of visitors.  Then one day, there they are, back again as if no time had lapsed.  They don't explain to me, and I'm ok with that.

So like the birds, and like those easy-to-say wise words: Hi, I'm back again for now.  Here is my imperfect scrawl across the blank page.  One step at a time.


Similarly...here is a little bit of timely wisdom, shared with me by Megan - hope it inspires you, too!


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Looking for Opportunities



“Here, let me do it” has most often been my response.  Or even just my attitude.  It’s so much easier and quicker, in that moment (though it may call me away from whatever other task I’m trying to do) to just get it done.  And easier has always been a very tempting siren call when related to navigating the daily tasks of living with young kids.  Maybe more so with twins.  Of course I don’t know any different, and I’m sure even with one new little life laid suddenly into a couple’s arms (ready, set, go!) the temptation for ease is strong.  But I like to think that maybe I could be forgiven a little for my attitude, given the circumstances.

Mostly this involves little things: helping them get themselves dressed for longer than was really needed, pouring cups of water, tying shoes (or better yet – velcro!), etc.  Those ordinary bits of everyday life and taking care of oneself.  Saying "no, not this time..." to all those little requests for autonomy.

I’ve never been particularly comfortable with this, envying the parents who (seemingly) have endless realms of patience which allow them to let their children try (and fail and try and fail and try) a task until they are able to master it themselves.  I have always admired that, and when I come upon words in parenting and education books reminding me of how much a child stands to learn – not just in skills, but confidence, perseverance and more – they resonate and I resolve that I will dig deeper to find that patience.  But easy sings its song again.

Since we started homeschooling, I have found myself more and more drawn to the idea of allowing G & D freedom.  Freedom to learn and explore, and the desire for them to become sure and grounded in themselves so that they will have the courage and confidence to take advantage of that freedom, and to learn how to try something new even if they might fail for a while.

I’ve also been inspired and bolstered by the writing of Ben Hewitt, as I’ve mentioned before.  He has written probably many times about the idea of “risk and responsibility” and the way we have taken the authentic, meaningful versions of these away from kids.  Maybe it’s the fact that G & D are getting older, maybe I’ve changed and grown a little more confident as a mother, maybe it’s the circumstances that have led us to where we are right now, and this path that we’re walking.  Maybe it’s the freedom to direct our days and the boys’ educations that loosens things up just enough that there is more space to try, to experiment.

Whatever it is, I have been thinking a lot about this idea of actively looking for ways to afford D & G more responsibility and risk so that they can grow into the expanded possibilities and push the boundaries further.  I have been challenging myself to expand the realm of what I believe they can do on their own and then offering them the chance instead of the quick-to-come “here, let me do that.”  (And at the same time learning how I can be ok with them failing at first.)  I have been looking for opportunities to say “yes, you can” – because really, most of the time, why not, other than habit and maybe some slight inconvenience.

I
t is really hard sometimes.  Teeth-clenching, conscious-breathing hard.  But I deeply believe that there will be good – for all of our selves – if I accept the hardness and the slowness and the inevitable tears.  And thankfully there are also deeply affirming moments and shifts of body: bright shining eyes, an almost imperceptible tallness in the back, that tell me I’m on the right track.  And that sweet song begins to rise over the siren’s song of ease.

Monday, October 13, 2014

(Im)Patience


I've been sick for going on two weeks now.  That kind of sick where you're not laid out flat, so you have to just keep plodding through your days trying to keep up as best you can while not overdoing it.  This inevitably results in both not actually keeping up with everything and not getting any real rest. 

But this weekend I had a break.  I sat in front of the fire a lot, with my feet stretched out to the warmth, my shawl tucked around my shoulders, and a book in one hand, cup of tea in the other.  This was great, and I am thankful for the rest.  A big step forward toward hopefully kicking this thing.

What it is, I think, is my usual sinus turned chest crud.  And I've been trying to patiently wait it out, while impatiently wondering if I should just give in and go for the antibiotics.  It's funny how a week or two can seem so much longer than it really is, when you're semi-out of commission.

As I've been moving slowly about my days, and feeling out of sorts (and, truthfully, a bit sorry for myself), I've realized how much of what's happening in and about my days lately falls into this same tippy balance: impatience to see progress and certainty and seeking the patience to wait for time to move in its way and work out questions, obstacles and fogginess.

The good thing to remember is that no matter whether I fight it or not, time and patience will have its way, and will smooth out the wrinkles in their time.  And I will work on more grace, less fight, in the meantime.