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thenandagain

Thenandagain: October Comes…again 

  
October winds come
Chilly and thrum upon
Worn heart strings
A dirge of remembrance
a father’s farewell –
a womb hushed silent.

October sun comes
Singing back, warmth
In joyful celebration
Of wondrous babes
Born of sisters
And friends.

Occasions litter
October like so many leaves.

October 2, 2006 (revised October 2015)

A Challenge: #BlogAhead2015

blog ahead 2015

I am planning to participate in a challenge this October – I will be writing 31 posts behind the scenes which will be scheduled to be revealed on my blog over a stretch of time beginning after November 1st.

I have a few ideas I am working on as regards topics but you will just have to wait for those.  For the time being – I will be keeping track of my progress here on this post.

 My writing goals:  Some ideas for future blog series’
1- 10 for 10:  My favourite 10 Homeschool Moments  Goal: 11  Tally: 4
2- Growing my mindset – Changing what is fixed Goal: 10  Tally: 0
3- Continuation of my ThenandAgain series Goal: 10 Tally: 0 …I have selected 10 blogs to re-address as part of this series – but I have not written them yet.

If you are a blogger and want to build up a stash of post to be posted at a later date – join   #BlogAhead2015

Then and Again: Making Their Choices


Then: October 13, 2006

“I have to take a break. My eyes are swimming, my head is aching, and I just can’t look through another homeschool resource curriculum catalogue related piece of material right now. The onus of choosing is too stressful for me at this moment.”

“Which is the best program, which is the best deal for the dollars I have, which will work best with my children?”

“I want so much for my kids. Basically, I want to be the perfect parent, which I already know is “slightly” unrealistic … ah yes … but that doesn’t stop me from agonizing about these choices I make.”

Excerpts from:  Making their choices

Again: August 24, 2015

Some things don’t change much in 9 years.

This September, my eldest, the child I was fretfully choosing curriculum for above, is beginning a new journey. She is venturing into online schooling for her Grade 10 year.

And my heart still agonizes about the choices we make regarding the schooling of these children. I feel that same parental anxiousness about their future preparedness, their journey forward. I have never carried this load lightly. But unlike above, I acknowledge that grace covers a great multitude of imperfection and failure.

Despite poor choices in curriculum, scads of unused textbooks, workbooks, and science kits; despite children who reject even good curriculum because of their own perspectives on what is good and useful; despite years of lackadaisical planning and scheduling – these children have grown and become readers, problem solvers, builders, story tellers, and questioners.

They got there by a different path then the one I idealistically thought I could build for them – thank goodness. We also have plenty of things to work on – spelling continues to prove itself difficult- but we’ll get there. They will continue to make paths forward despite anything and everything that came before.

This journey began with me trying to white knuckle everything they did – today I hold with a lighter touch, watching instead where they might lead, in anticipation and … a little less apprehension.

I am a parent. I want much for my children. I always will.

Then and Again: Morning Lessons


Then: October 18, 2006

Good morning … well let me just say “morning” that is more honest. It is shaping up to be some kind of day. The signs started appearing late last night when my two youngest tots started tag team waking and crying because of all the “stuff” in their noses, this continued at hourly intervals through-out the night and then … and then … whilst trying to squeeze out another small smattering of sleep I hear through the wall … “I messy … I MESSY I MESSY IMESSYIMESSYIMESSY “ …

(oh this can’t be good) … weakly I pull myself up off the bed, I pat the night stand for glasses (I know I will need my glasses) … and finally bracing myself for “I don’t want to venture a guess just yet” I stumble to the door and into the room next door.

“I messy, mom” “OH, OH, OH … (the smell hit me WAY before the sight overcame me) but there I find my sweet little imp, pajamas bottom half off, leg dangling in midair suspended above … now you know this can’t be good I haven’t misled you here, this will all end in tears (mostly likely my own) … yes you guessed it, it was poop, big girl full on poop, and the foot that had been in it.

(Insert cries of WHY WHY WHY, then the sigh of a mother’s resignation … there is no answer to the WHY, there just is and it needs to be dealt with, sooner rather than later.)

So it is off to the tub for the little one for some intense cleaning, re-cleaning, rinsing, and re-rinsing. Quick running about with yogurt container and scoop, interspersed with frantic calling of the dog away from the offending bedroom, all peppered with buddy boy’s running commentary in baby-ese, the chatter of the two eldest describing in detail all they have heard, seen, and been smelling, and one “very sensitive to smell” husband trying his best to stay very clear of the situation and his “oh I am so sorry Love.” Followed up with the douses of vinegar and water, the cleaning, the rinsing, the swabbing up, and the desperate desire for a carpet cleaner.

Good morning. Not so very much. But amid the crisis, it occurred to me, this wasn’t a unique event, I had been here before, done this before, I had poop cleaning up skills. I also realized it probably isn’t the last time I’ll have to clean up the poop. This is mothering (parenting) after all isn’t it? As much as rocking babes, breastfeeding, dressing, training them up, there is the cleaning up of poop too.

I am sure the actual poop changes, just as it changes in babies, but it still comes, it still happens as the saying goes. So although I wasn’t pleased to see the poop, to smell the poop, to scrub and clean up the poop, I knew I had a choice on how I dealt with the poop. I haven’t always taken the time to consider that, I have often lost my cool in such situations because I really do hate the poop but out of love for my poor messy little one and all the ears and bodies around me I didn’t have to add to the poop. I mean if God can love me and my poopiness, I can clean up this little (yet pungent) pile of poop with some measure of grace. I will never like the poop, but I think, I may possibly be beginning to accept the poop and with His help I may be learning how to handle poop with love.

From: this morning’s lesson

Again: August 13, 2015

Thank goodness, I am passed the literal “poop” days of parenting. I feel slightly gaggy just reading about it again which goes to show it has been a good long time since I have had to use my poop-cleaning skills.

But I must admit something – I miss the lessons I learned while in the trenches of early motherhood. I sort of envy the trial by fire.  It was intense and hard but it revealed my weaknesses, emphasized my need to rely on God.

These days, I feel I have become more complacent and less aware of God’s hand in my days. It is easy to rest on laurels –whatever they may inwardly be, because they are most certainly only perceived and not truly earned. I take too much credit, too much pride in the character of my children then I honestly deserve. I feel I have become prideful and arrogant.

I don’t want to clean up poop again – but I want that humble heart again as concerns the God of my days and His part and place in our family and home.

I am here but by his grace – I pray … “I messy Lord,” create in me a pure heart.

Then and Again: Parental Amnesia


Then: September 15th, 2006

I had one of those days … It all started when my youngest, my darling boy began shouting through the wall at 5:49 am and despite my “rational” explanation that it was too early to be awake, this 20 month old – with lungs an opera star would envy – decided to moan out his displeasure until 7:45 am. At which time, I was greeted at my bedroom door by his slightly older 2 year old sister — in the buff. Yes, naked as a jay bird.

Groggy and stupefied as to why my children don’t sleep past 6:00 am – ever, but without a second thought about the naked kid – I stumbled downstairs with these two in tow when Solomon tripped headlong down the stairs and crashed into the wall at the bottom. My heart stopped as I grasped at the air trying to catch him and I shouted the crazy words of a panicking insane person hoping to somehow cushion his fall.

I rushed to scoop him up but he pushed me away and took off into the living room without looking back. I scooped him up again, my fluttering heart needed a good long snuggle while I gave him a thorough once over to be sure he wasn’t broken or permanently addled. To my relief, he had only a small welt under his right eye and was more interested in finding his sister than being with me. Yup, all was fine.

Despite the panic, my uprightness far exceeded my wakefulness and for the rest of the day I felt like I was carrying sandbags over my shoulders. All day I strained to contain the grumpy beast within- trying to keep her from lashing out at the poor vulnerable babes. I may have failed to rein her in completely, but we did manage to get some school done, some dishes done, and some cuddles in. By dinner however I wanted to call in sick for the rest of the day. But my husband had to go out, leaving me to face the rest of the evening; the putting to bed, the reading of stories … it might as well have been Mt Everest … I just didn’t feel like I was going to make it.

from:  Offerings  (Edited for my sanity)

Again: August 11, 2015

The culprits
The culprits
Truth is – I don’t remember this day.

I do remember the tired feeling, but that is because it was common in those days. 5 years later, I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism, a condition I likely developed during one of my pregnancies (if not before). Turns out tired comes in all sorts of ways but I could not distinguish tired because “I had to get up with my kids multiple times a night and start my day before 6:00 am” from tired “my-thyroid-is-broken.” For me it is all the same memory – I do, however, strongly suggest that mums get their thyroid tested as it is very common to have a thyroid issue develop post pregnancy, any pregnancy.

I wonder, if I had been diagnosed earlier, if I would have struggled as much with fatigue, anxiety, and irritation during those days. I don’t think an earlier diagnosis would have made all my days sunshiny and full of rainbows but I think there may have been opportunities for great joy and appreciation when in the trenches. My point: getting tested won’t lessen the work, but it might lighten the load.

My other thought comes back to … I don’t remember this day. It didn’t leave a mark, it has become chaff in the wind and that is a good thing.

Parental amnesia – it is the reason we have more than one child. It is the reason we encourage our children to have children – despite the truth that there are days one would rather not walk through. I do yearn for that snuggle on the couch. I would like to remember her cute lean toddler body waddling about sans clothes, her adorable cheeks (you know what I mean) and his robust energy and ability to “brush it off” and get back to the important business of play.

IMG_6021

I may remember the tired but my memory of the grind has softened and blurred. I believe I will be one of those fabulous grandmother who only remembers all the wonderful things about her kids and about those “good old days.”

Then and again: Introverted parenting …is it harder? : Re-examined

 Then: September 5, 2006

Recently, on another blog, the topic of personality types was brought up and having some history/ familiarity in this area, I began pondering my MBTI profile (INFP for those curious) and how it plays out in my role as momma. Mostly I have been thinking about how being an introvert may affect me as I parent.
As a point of clarification, when I speak of introversion, I am speaking of where I derive/focus my energy. I like to spend time alone, to dwell in my head, pondering (things like this), and I am most comfortable here. I still need people, especially my people, but being around people can be draining for me because it requires me to work outside my head, to stay focused on the here and now, and leave the comforting ebb and flow of my internal mind. If you are not an introvert these things may sound odd, check out the links below to get more information if you are curious:
Know your Type: basic definition of introversion
Anyway, back to me (always, always back to me …sigh) … My point is that being a momma doesn’t really leave me much opportunity to sequester myself away into my head. There are always things asking for my attention, not to mention people who prefer I actually speak to them, answer their questions, and acknowledge them once and awhile. And then there is the fact that I have a very extroverted middle daughter who is currently in the “What are you doing mom? “Why are you doing that mom?” “Can I please have …” “Can I please go…” “Will you please …” etc etc and on it goes until all I feel is the tension between my shoulders getting tighter and my brow getting squishier (producing very nice wrinkles, and not the good laughter type ones either), and my responses getting shorter and more and more aggravated. And it isn’t her fault, nothing she has done, or asked, or wants is unreasonable and it is very easy to satisfy her curiosity, her needs, and her wants but by 2:30 pm I feel this overwhelming need to fall into my head a shut the rest of it out for a while.
Then the guilt comes, or even the resentment. The resentment. The worst is the resentment, and it isn’t because I don’t love my kids, or life, or anything. It is the fatigue, the exhaustion, the desperation I feel regardless of how much sleep I’ve had, it is from the lack of mental rest I get. And because of these feelings I go to dark places, and then my 2-year-old looks into my face, furrows her brow, practicing for her future wrinkles, (goodness… I hope not … ohhhhh), and asks “Grumpy, mommy?” because that is who I have morphed into, the “grumpy mommy.” I smile, and she smiles and she asks again, “Happy now mommy?” “Yes, dear child, for the moment.” But I am still tired, even if she is darn cute.
So I wonder,
Do I go to this place because I am introverted and more inclined to be overwhelmed by the “in-your-face-ness” of motherhood or is it simply because I am a mom? Do all moms experience this desire to run away from the goings on around them and hide on the computer, in a book, at the sewing machine?Can being an introvert make parenting harder on a person?

Again:  August 2, 2015

Well, here it is the “most viewed” blog post I have ever written, it gets hits almost everyday even after 9 years.  I think I hit a nerve.

But what do I think after 9 years, and almost 7500 hits later?

No,  being an introverted parent is not harder.  Parenting isn’t a comparison game. I think parenting can be hard and overwhelming and mentally challenging – regardless of introversion or extraversion.

I do think knowing if you are introverted or extroverted helps a person understand their limits and needs.  As an introvert – I need to carve out time to let my brain rest.  As a parent, I also need to put aside my “needs” because that is part of the gig.

I also believe it is important to recognize where my children fall in the introvert/extrovert preferences so that I can help them navigate their needs as well.

To my fellow introverted parents,

Find something for yourself – something that meets your need for mental quiet and hold on to it.  For me there were a few things:  my original blog helped greatly, writing satisfied my need for brain time.  I read poetry, or short stories because they were short and I could finish them in the limited time I had. I started embroidering things – the tools were few, I could work a little and feel I was accomplishing something, and it was creative which was a must.

My dear extroverted parent friends:

The same goes for you.  I am not like you but I see your exhaustion, I know you get overwhelmed too.  Find you recharge events and respect them.

To everything there is a season:

Now that I have more time to dwell in my head – I need reminding that my kids still need my undivided attention on occasion. They don’t ask for it in the same way any more, gone are the little hands on my face.  Now I have to watch and read the faces around me – watch for the downcast looks, and tell-tale signs of internal teen angst.  Balance is forever calling, may we all endeavour to find it.

Still a good analogy: thenandagain


Then: September 4, 2006

A Good Analogy

Most every night, I read a story to the kids before bed this is not something new or revolutionary by any means but last night I was feeling rather ambitious and read them a Dr. Seuss story.

Now I have read this story before and always enjoyed it, as have they, but last night it hit me. The story of Horton Hatches the Egg is my life. Well, no I am not an elephant sitting in a tree and I wasn’t roped into doing it by a bird, but I am doing my best to be faithful to the decisions I have made in life. By which I mean, staying home, raising my children, and educating them the best I can.

It felt good to see myself as the hero, the one sticking it out against the odds, to know that in the end (ultimately perhaps only to Him) but in the end nonetheless I will have been faithful to something (or in this case some ones)

I certainly related to that poor elephant out in the storm, on the ocean, on display and how it doesn’t always feel great but …

I meant what I said,
and I said what I meant
An elephant (aka ME) is faithful 100%

or at least doing all she can to be so.

Again:  July 31, 2015

I have little to add to this – it was, is still a very good analogy.

I may not struggle the same with my choice to be a full-time home educating parent – but I still face my choice daily.  I no longer face uncertain nights full of possible interruptions, crying babies, endless piles of laundry (they do their own), or the daily doling out of the thousand small tasks that would need doing in order to care for my four young children.

These days, parenting my four tween/teenagers is more a matter of staying faithful to the who and how of their hearts and characters.  Holding the line, whichever line it is that most needs holding.

Admittedly, it can be easier to let the line get slack, easier to forget that they still need me to remain faithful, remain steadfast about their needs.  So I still need to remember Horton.

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