A (sometimes) Friday ritual inspired by SouleMama.
It's so good when we find ourselves at a weekend, when we push through the laziness, and find ourselves outside, delighting in this best of all seasons. There's this rush of excitement that courses through me when I get a whiff of that fall smell. It means that apples and pumpkins will be fresh and willing to join other flavors in my kitchen. It also means that the thrill of the first snowfall is right around the corner. It means my favorite colors will splash into just about every view.
However, every year, there's nostalgia and a bit of sadness as I realize that it means that the year is coming to a close, that the nights are growing longer, that the sweet days of summer really are behind us. This year it feels even more bittersweet. If all goes according to plan, this will be our last year in this home and in this particular climate. We hope to start the next school year somewhere a bit more maritime, with more evergreens and less snow. I can't wait to move, to be in the lovely landscape over there, to venture some new starts, and, most importantly, to be closer to more of our family. But, my heart aches to be leaving this climate and this lovely world of fall smells, colors, and sensations. I hope that I will have been able to instill a little bit of my love for this place and this time of year in my girls. I want them to have at least a flicker of recognition if they get a bit of that scent or a glimpse of some brilliantly crimsoned maples.
This is the first time in ages that I've even tried to put words to the page, a post to the blog. I've had thoughts of posts, but I haven't even come close to writing in months, literally. I haven't been checking blogs often and have whittled down the ones I check to just a few. Partly, it has been that I've been interested and engaged in other things, but mostly I've just been so busy, so tired, and so focused on the here and now.
I can't believe how crazy this school year has been already. I knew we were facing some transition time, adjusting to some fairly significant scheduling changes--the kids went from attending camp twice a week to going to school five days a week, and M. and I both started working five-day (although not quite full-time) weeks. I knew that the kids were going to react to new teachers and to more time away from home, but I thought (and still do) that the predictability of every week day being more-or-less the same would help the chaos I'd felt in the lop-sided schedules we'd been keeping pretty much since I went back to work after J. was born.
But, what I didn't count on was how much more attention, day and night, the girls would need to maintain equilibrium. I guess I should have. Some months ago, Nicola's post about sleep prompted me explore Raising Your Spirited Child which then led, by the suggestion of my dear, wise friend C. to my reading The Highly Sensitive Child. I hope to write more someday soon about the impact of these books, especially the second, on my life, both personal and professional, but suffice to say here, both these books helped me understand the parenting struggles I was facing and why change is so tough at times for my kids and what I might be able to do about it. So, I've been adapting and am starting to see the results. However, the process has been exhausting.
But then, on top of all of this, it turns out that I don't react to change all that well either. Adding several more hours of work and two more days in the office has been much more of a big deal than I thought it was going to be. I had done some grieving about losing my days of stay-at-home parenting but I didn't get how adding more time in my professional role was going to hit me. It's really been like starting a new job. I cleaned out and reorganized my office. I added new clients. I've been reading, attending trainings, and watching webinars. I've been energized and reinvigorated but also intensely exhausted and overwhelmed over these last couple of months. Like the girls, I've been struggling to find equilibrium.
And, of course, there's the dissertation, which has been consuming M.'s days and any other hours it can get its teeth into. The end is near, though. The defense date is narrowed down to, I think, two possible days; most of the first draft of the beast is into his committee; and he's ordered his cap, gown, and hood!
I think we're all moving into some new territory, with some new understanding and acceptance. It seems like a pretty good time to try to find my voice again in this space. Perhaps in the next few days and weeks, I'll try to document some of what we've been up to in my time away from this space and maybe put together some thoughts of looking ahead. We'll see how it goes.