It has been two months and nine days since the last time I wrote anything of substance for this beloved blog of mine. I can tell you, unequivocally, this is not how I envisioned starting off my third year of blogging. In my mind, this third year would be the year it all just came to me, not the year it just abandoned me. I blame many things.
- I blame my friend who, earlier this year, called me a “consistent.” A jinx if I ever heard one.
- I blame myself for giving me permission to write less often. Give me a week and I will take a month, or two, every. time.
- I blame this ridiculous tiny laptop keyboard. I am grown woman and I need a desktop sized keyboard.
- I blame time, of which there is none.
- Most of all, I blame reality.
Because here is the reality.
On August 11th, my family packed up our van, with only enough space remaining to eat and take breaths, and moved across the country for four months. Earlier in the year, my husband had been offered a research fellowship in the Chicago area and, while all the other fellows decided to long distance commute, we, naively, choose the path less traveled.
We rented out our house, were offered a place to stay at the destination university, got the kids on board, and started making plans. The only question, as I naively (yes, you are detecting a theme, it will continue) saw it at the time, was what to do about school for the kids. We had kids going into sixth, fifth, second, and Kindergarten. I could not bring myself to ask them to start new schools for one semester. Moving across the country is hard enough, but adding new schools to the mix just seemed cruel. Instead, I thought, naively, I used to be a teacher and once a teacher always a teacher, so why not teach them myself?! The kids were surprisingly, and, yes, naively, excited about this plan.
I had so much fun lesson planning again, buying curricula and school supplies, and formulating my in home classroom atmosphere. My husband graded his last papers for the next four months with giddiness. The whole family bonded over plans for what to see on our road trip from L.A. to Chicago and all the people we would visit along the way and once we were there. We proceeded to, happily, book our weekends solid.
And so, with all our metaphorical boxes checked and our literal ones packed, we started out on our exciting new adventure. Our goal was to hit the pause button, slow down, reconnect, and explore.
It has been wonderful. We
- Went to the Grand Canyon
- Explored part of Rocky Mountain National Park
- Spent time with amazing friends
- Went fishing
- Floated down a river
- Reconnected with cousins
- Went hiking
- Went to Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium
- Saw the Cubs win at Wrigley Field
- Played on massive sand dunes
- Reconnected with life long friends
- Ate more
- Kept eating
- There’s a lot more eating
And we are only one month into this trip. While I have yet to see my brother, who I adore and my former boss and friend, who I admire, our trip has been all we hoped it would be.
It has also been a lot we (I, really) did not think it would be.
Turns out you don’t decide to home school (or as our liaison charter school calls it “world school”) four children for the first time flippantly, smuggly, or with any hint of arrogance. Life, and your children, will reprimand you, ever so severely and exponentially, for every “I’ve got this” moment you ever felt.
It is an exhausting pendulum between being there to see my daughter’s face light up when she understands her math and someone else screaming, “A real teacher would help all her students, not just one.” Or getting excited and planning an elaborate science unit all the kids can do together and then never having the time to actually do science, because reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic. Or actually getting to go on the super cool field trip you’ve been talking up and then having the children leave said field trip with eight hundred forty-nine mosquito bites each and one with poison ivy.
And all this “world schooling,” it’s happening in a two bedroom apartment one floor above academic offices. So all that shouting, running, jumping, and more shouting my kids are doing during the school day, yeah, all the people downstairs trying to work in their offices, they can hear it all.
I am so exhausted that not only have I not written anything at all for this blog since July, I have started and finished preciously ONE book since August 11th.
Yes, ONE book.
I have no time and when I do have time I read a few paragraphs and fall asleep. I had heard of this phenomenon but I had not experienced it personally until now.
This is a problem. It seems that the less traveled road we have chosen is a road without books.
I can tell you, friends, I am not my best self without them.
Not to sound overly dramatic, but it is quite possible that I have Lost my constant.
Here’s to hoping we will find our way back to each other.
In the meantime, you can find me increasingly cold, eating, yet again, and staring down four all to familiar students.