5 things that are easier to do without kids

My kids are with their grandparents this week and next. As many of you know, I’m a Homeschool mom and I work from home. I am never alone. EVER. Life is easy without kids.

1. Exercise– I spent an entire hour on the elliptical. 5 miles, 600 calories. For those of you that are pros, I know what’s amateur but I exercised without wondering whether or not Declan would still be awake when I got home, if Noah and Rylee were killing each other, and if someone remembered to take the trash out. I could clear my head and workout.

2. Work– I talked for weeks about all of the things I was going to work on this week that were long overdue. Setting up the office, putting the final touches on curriculum, setting up social media plan and more business related stuff. It’s Tuesday at 2 and I’m done.

3. Shopping– It costs less and there are substantially less headaches.

4. Watching TV-Do you know how long I’ve wanted to watch Gilmore Girls? FOREVER. I’ve watched two seasons since Sunday. Easy peasy.

5. Waking up-I wake up and help Jordan get out the door. I can leisurely eat breakfast and I don’t have to threaten anyone’s existence for talking to me before my coffee is in my veins. There are no mini dictators forcing me to mix Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Fruity Pebbles I’m one bowl. Just peace.

So it’s true, there’s a lot that is easier without kids. Everything is actually. But I miss them insanely. The silence is maddening. I feel like I have little to do because I get everything done so fast. I know that these trips are so good for my children, and for me so that I can cherish them 100x over when they get back. Being a mom is everything to me. Easier doesn’t equal better, not for me! I’ll take the hard and the annoying if that comes with my three favorite people ANYDAY!

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Transient Friends

I’m a sharer, a lover. When you meet me, I pretty much wear my emotions on my sleeve, can’t hide a feeling because it’s all over my face, and my world is an open book. Personally, but not usually on the Internet. I’m not very guarded and am okay with the world seeing most of my flaws.

But there are secrets. Past obstacles, childhood angst, serious grown up issues. I trust fast, I love hard. This has been a downfall for me in the past, slightly, but mostly it has lead to beautiful (and long lasting) friendship. What happens when one of those friends that you thought was a “keeper” turns out to be transient? See I’ve had a wide range of transient friends. There are ones that were on the same sports team or club as my kids, that were in our area and moved away. We laughed with each other, joked about parenthood, maybe had a picnic lunch together enjoying our children and each other’s company. When these people and I parted ways it was with great memories and loving reminders of the times we had.

I wonder now though, what happens when a “forever” friend flips the coin on you, and acts like a “transient” one. Maybe I’m being dramatic here. I am in my mid 30’s, and maybe I shouldn’t be so pathetic about this. This woman was a keeper of my secrets, a lover of my family, a shoulder to cry on or with. It’s funny how life changes you. New people in our circle and new influences can impact what you’ve always known to be true. I’ve heard recently that you become the five people you spend the most time with. I see that’s happened with this friend, and that’s okay. The people we know and love are beautiful, vibrant people-except for the sorrow, grief and anger that has erupted from inside one soul.

My five people have made me powerful, ambitious, loving, a little snarky, creative, energetic and empathetic. They have made me more accepting of different lives. They’ve made me more compassionate and patient. For a long time, you had been one of them. I think saying you become them is a little bit of a stretch though. I think that certain people allow you to embrace certain qualities that are already within you and people that are holding onto past grief are volcanos just waiting to explode.

So my dear friend, I’m sorry your village has let you down. I’m sorry you’re surrounded by people that bring out your sorrow, insecurities and grief instead of your vibrancy for life, your contagious laughter, your will for fun. I’m sorry I missed out on showing you the love and laughter that you already have in your heart this summer-that’s what friends are really for. They are for making you a better version of yourself.

I already miss you and hope you find peace, dear friend.

Choose Love

When I was a little girl, I was told my empathy would take me far in the world. I remember watching a friend get picked on, and feel their heart breaking. That’s probably why I got into so much trouble, I just needed justice.

Today, I sit here wanting that same justice but for other reasons and not for reasons you might be thinking. Today, I’m distracted. I’m distracted because someone is hurt because of me. Someone’s life has been altered because of me, and when that happens I always want it to be for the good.

I should start off by saying that this post isn’t about guilt. I am not in a situation for feeing guilty for things I have done or that I haven’t done. This is about true grace, kindness, love and peace. Someone is hurt because of my perceived actions, but my heart is raw and aching too. I have always told my kids that kindness matters the most when someone is unkind to you. I’ve always told them to shine bright when someone is trying to dim their gleam and to love people when they are impossible to love, because that’s when they need it most.

Life has a funny way of giving you a chance to live out these acts of moral guidance. I have an opportunity to obliterate someone’s perspective and hurt them as they have done to me, but I will choose love. I will choose to gracefully decline to interact, to back away when faced with conflict, to request forgiveness should the situation arise. Part of me feels like a three year old, refusing to apologize because I didn’t do anything wrong, but most of me just wants this person to not hurt anymore.

You see, it didn’t take me long to realize that when people hurt others intentionally, it has very little to do with the person being hurt, and so very much to do with the people spewing the inconsistencies. I don’t want to paint a picture of kindness as something that is easy and spontaneous. I want my kids to see that choosing love, grace and forgiveness is hard. I want them to watch as I quiver with tears of frustration and tell the person that I’m sorry they are hurting.

Now don’t get confused. I won’t be a doormat. I’m not a scapegoat for someone else’s insecurities. They will never do this to me or my children again, ever. But I’m not reactive either. I won’t react in anger. So watch me as I peacefully digress, letting go of any chance of winning, or proving my point (I’m an extroverted, red headed Gemini, you can imagine how seldom that happens) and letting go the angst, frustration and sadness that this week has caused me.

When my kids and I choose to love someone in the face of adversity, we win anyways because we chose love. Choose love, always.

To the person that this is for, you know who you are. I hope you find genuine happiness in your heart, and I hope you find a few good friends to really do life with. ❤️

So many moments

The past week has changed me.

You only have so many moments in life, and you never know when the last time will be. You hear it all the time about your kids. One day you’ll hold his hand, and he next day he won’t need you to. The next day you’ll get them dressed and them tomorrow they’ll be too big. It’s glorious and beautiful, and sad all at the same time.

But when it’s with an aging parent, it’s different. My mom is 59. I’ve been a “caretaker” for her for at least the past 12 years. She’s blessed us enormously.

Last Monday she fell. She didn’t tell anyone, and Tuesday night she let me know she was in pain. By Thursday she was vomiting, drooling, lethargic and we were in the ER. They ruled out the big things-internal bleeding, infection. The weekend we waited, for things to get betters

Today, they aren’t. We followed DR orders and called her Nuero doc, who sent us to an ER that specializes in Nuero issues. She’s sleeping now, and the quiet hum of her blood pressure machine both calms me and worries me at the same time. She sleeps. She hasn’t slept in a week. Why is home so hard to sleep in? Would a place like this (assisted living) be better? How can I make the rest of her life sublime, perfect, everything she’s ever dreamed of?

With this injury she’s lost her will to do anything. She doesn’t want to go anywhere, engage socially. She just doesn’t feel good. What if the last time I told her to quit working so hard was the last. What if she never gives me a snarky comment when I ask her a medical question?

This all happened so fast, and so quick. I’m hoping it’s temporary. I’ll cherish every moment with her. My heart has changed and I know how much she means in our life. Until next time, I’ll just hold my breathe and wait.

A Word a Week- Evolve

Evolve- to deveop gradually from a simple, to a more complex form

I have a friend that is always telling me I do too much.  I don’t take on responsibilities because I am like “Ehh, I am bored, let’s do something else.” In fact, I am never bored. I work from home so I am always working. There is enough work to do to last me an eternity.  I also decided to take on an enormous work project (which is going to be epic by the way, just wait and see) to you know, cure that boredom.

The things I do daily-homeschool my kids, manage a business, manage my side job as a taxi driver, cook, housewife, hairdresser, personal shopper, psychologist, ring leader, teacher, boss etc, I just do because there are things that need to be done, and I figure out how to do them.  I truley believe it is all about the additude you have about life-and with a good one, you can accomplish anything.

But this year, so far I have taken a step back to look at my life work.  When it comes down to it, my biggest project, my largest accomplishment, my greatest joy will come from homeschooling and raising my children.  The beginning of this year I was doing everything “right”.  Tons of activities, running around like mad-men, enjoying all of the beautiful opportunities that our community has to offer. Today, February 7th, I have quit half of them. Probably more than half. I just stopped. They were sucking our joy from our life, and I wasn’t doing a good enough job of making sure things got done (the school part of homeSCHOOLING) and I was over it.

So now, I signed my kids up for an all online program. I have ZERO control.  For a control freak, even writing those makes me cringe a little bit.  NO CONTROL. My kids login, and learn the material that someone else presents for them, and then they answer questions and I assess thier progress. This week has been GLORIOUS. My kids love it, I get work done, they get work done.  Why didn’t I think of this sooner?

The same friend that is always on me about doing too much told me she was proud. Evolution isn’t just something that takes place over millions of years, and it’s not always monumental.  My heart has evolved over these past few months, into a bigger, more complex place-that’s simpler at the same time. Our homeschool has evolved, into a place where we are happy again and have one priority in mind-HAPPINESS. Less responsibility, and good friends to do life with-that’s winning.

A Word a Week- Comfort

Comfort- (1) a state of phyrical ease and freedom from pain (2) the easing or alleciateion of a person’s feelings of grief or distress. (www.dictionary.com)

Being comfortable is a part of the American dream. Or it least it should be, because these days, it is all I want.  In my 20’s I though comfort meant a padded bank account, beautiful furniture, glorious hips, and an amazing reputation.  I fought for it, and always came up short.  My eyes were focused on the wrong kind of comfort.  I see my kids striving for similar comforts, and I want to tell them–NO, that’s not what it really means.

We don’t have a perfect life. We have our mountains and valleys, our triumphs and defeats but one thing I do have now is comfort.

My skin-I am comfortable with who I am. I am not as thin as I dreamed of, but I am okay with that.  I have red blotches on my skin, but I am okay with that.  I am pale, probably glow in the dark pale, and I am okay with that.

My family-As a young mom, I always thought I had something to prove. I felt like I had to prove I could do this parenting thing.  I am okay now. I love my kids, and we know what is best. I am comfortable with that.

My choice to homeschool-It fits us. A lot of people don’t agree, but we wouldn’t want it any other way.

My friendships-I talk to everyone. I bring everyone together, but I am so happy (and comfortable with) my small circle of friends I can count on, that can count on me.

Growing up is hard work, but being comfortable enough to scream THIS IS ME, by what you do and how you live your life—that makes it worth is.

Be careful though, don’t get too comfortable.

Here’s why I cried when my daughter read to me.

My daughter is 10.  She has friends that love her, she’s talented in so many amazing ways.  She can sing like I have always dreamed of, she can sew things I can’t imagine, she is artistic and emotional and so much better than me in almost every way.  A lot of these gifts are a gift of dyslexia.  Dyslexia has given her the gift of art, of seeing the whole picture before it’s completed, of empathy, compassion and an amazing heart.

As you might imagine, despite all of her incredible gifts, she struggles with reading.  HARD.  She’s so intuitive and creative that she understands things that most ten year olds shouldn’t.  Unrelated to her dyslexia she is just an old soul.  A few years ago, when I was making sure she knew how special she was, we were in the car and she said something I don’t think I’ll ever forget.

Me- “Rylee, you have artistic intelligence that some people dream of. You have a beautiful voice, you are great at math.”

Rylee (holding back tears, because she is also “too strong” to cry”)-” Mom, singing isn’t going to help me check out in the grocery store”

Damn. She’s right, but she shouldn’t know that yet.

We’ve been homeschooling three years and I can’t say that I have a beautiful thought out mission statement other than “Teach my kids to read and that they are valued no matter what” because once they have that, they just need to be taught how to learn. I’ll admit it, I have no idea what she goes through because I read at 5, but we have fought for it for three years.  But I do know what I have seen over the years.

Tears

Her being embaressed in front of friends

More tears

Heartbreak

Tears of frustration

A lot of “I’ll never be able to read”

Hysterical tears

“I’m not like you mom, I can’t just read”

Mom’s shattering heart

Then last night, my girl couldn’t sleep.  I offered what I have 7000 times before in her life. ” Would you like to read me a book? Sometimes that helps me get sleepy.”  Her words, “Well, I might as well have a good attitude about it, because that really makes things easier.” And she did. She walked downstairs and got her chapter book ( Nory Ryan’s Song) and read 3 whole pages.  I held it together while we sat and she read, but after I kissed my baby goodnight, I cried happy tears.  Hearing her read will never get old.  Ever.

 

 

 

A Word a Week-Grit

Grit- (n) small loose particles of sand, courage and resolve; strength of character and (v) clenching (the teeth) to maintain resolve in the face of adversity.

Grit. The strength and persistence to go forward.

Last friday we went as a family to go see The Greatest Showman.  I won’t give any spoilers here, but I will tell you that the movie will make you laugh, will make you cry and make you reflect. It’s about a man with a dream to be better, to have better, to love better- for himself, for his family, for his world.  He was told no. He did it anyways. He failed a million times. He did it anyways.

All of these people-that we know now as success were failures at one time in their lives. Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Barnum and Bailey,  Bill Gates,  Bethany Hamilton, Jim Carey, Oprah Winfrey, Thomas Edison just to name a few. The failed. They had a dream, and it failed again, and again and again.  They made is because they didn’t give up. They didn’t let failure turn them away.

I see this with my own children and in our adventures, if I teach them anything, I want to teach them to never give up, ever.  If you dream it, you can be it.

Chocolate Day!

January 10 is dark chocolate day, but I don’t segregate. We love all chocolate here.  We started the day with Hot Chocolate, of course.  Everyone has to wake up early on Wednesday so the bigs can go to Biology and nobody likes it, except Declan. Declan loves it.  It’s such an interesting dynamic to have two kids close to entering teenhood, and one that’s just gotten to grade school level.  I personally love that my five year old is the one waking up my big kids and torturing them with early mornings like they did to me for years.  I don’t let him do it all the time, but sometimes…I’ve got to get my kicks somewhere. Chocolate day was one of them.  They LOVE me, can’t you tell??

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Noah bought everyone chocolate bars at the gas station on the way to science and then Declan and I searched for items that had chocolate in them. We also watched a short video on the history of chocolate.  Declan’s take?  If chocolate is fruit I can have it whenever I want.  That was fun.  Then he shared his chocolate with his favorite friend. I had none.  Thanks kids.

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We also tested out the man bun.  He was proud. Whatever, third child, just stay alive.

After dinner we had brownies.  And I did my share to help my husband with his OCD intervention, because that is true love.

I’m feeling snarky today. I hope my kids get the memo. January 11 is puddle day.  Stay tuned friends.