Monday, October 5, 2015

Where We Are Now

This morning is one of those that I love: productive, peaceful, perhaps slightly philosophical. I'm in a season of my life that is busy and enjoyable, and this fall day is idyllic with its bright sunshine and cool mornings. The leaves have started to turn but the trees are still full, so the color is everywhere I can see. Rusty golds, crimson greens, all of the opposites of the color wheel working together, the sky pale blue as a contrast to everything I see.

This really is bliss.

This is a morning of a new life, newer than my life felt last month or more especially, last year. This morning I walked with a friend, whose life is new in a different way. Her child has moved away to college and she is gently pushing into her own new territory of being a mom from a distance. She photographed some stunning purple beauty berry as we strolled through the neighborhood; took a moment to send it as a good morning to her beautiful and intelligent daughter. I admire how my friend gracefully treads into this new phase of life and I feel fortunate that in watching her, I will learn much myself.

Home, I got on my exercise bike for a while, then my efforts turned to work outside. After years of random digging--or so it seemed from the looks of the backyard, I've begun a project of digging out a rain garden (yes, we had one before, but downspouts were moved) and using the soil to regrade some areas in the yard which have been stumbling hazards. It's hard work, but very, very satisfying. I'm being nicer to myself, taking breaks, deliberately rotating through a variety of tasks so that I don't strain my muscles so much. Stopping before I feel deep strain instead of my old habit of working through the pain. The gorgeous dahlias up front are in bloom, the sweet olive tree out back is in what can only be described as a most heavenly flowering season~ the peachy scent of those tiny flowers is just divine.

Today is a quiet one for me. This year I've taken on more responsibility at Kiddo's school. Last year the woman who headed the geography program kept introducing me to people as 'the person who is going to take over for me'.... and finally, I bit. She let me shadow her for months before handing the task over to me. This has been a huge, good new thing in my life. I get to use my brain again! The program has challenged me at times, how to effectively serve the 300+ families whose children make up the second-through-fifth grade. What's resulted is my creating a website to support the students and their families to this end. It's been great to provide something which has been so well-received and to know that a need has been fulfilled.  Along with this, I'm at the school for three other volunteer activities and this makes for a more structured life than I've had in a while.

Sometimes, it's easy to think-- to believe, really-- that there is some sort of determined trajectory to work toward. That life has a Plan (yes, with a capital "P") that one should follow. It has occurred to me that the 'right' plan is probably rarely permanently right, but more 'right for right now'. We are fortunate in that Joe has a job which allows us to have me home for Kiddo and the house and the cats... and for me. I think I'm a far better person with the quiet time, a better mom in the afternoons and evenings, a better partner.  I'm also happier with these new responsibilities, which push me to learn new skills and new ways of doing things. Taking life beyond the scope of thinking up "what's for dinner?" and really stretching has been good for me. It took some time to enjoy being out of the work force, and it's taken some time to want to take on more responsibilities. In the past, I never would have seen myself as being a part of an event planning committee, and yet, here I am, doing just that! A year ago I would have felt intimidated by all of this and now it's just happening as if it was the most natural thing in the world.

Of course, so much of this is reflected in my parenting. As I'm focusing more on my own things, Kiddo is getting opportunities to grow as well. I've stopped reminding him so much about things, just figuring that it's okay to let some things fail for today if it means we remember them tomorrow. I'm allowing more natural consequences to things (forgot to unpack the lunchbox? oh, the cold pack isn't frozen, guess you can't pack a yogurt. Bummer.), and I'm allowing him to have more say in how things go during his days. Knowing more about him, his abilities and his natural tendencies gives me better ideas of how to help him help himself and how to gauge what he's really needing in the moment. Sometimes this process looks and sounds messy, but I think we are both happier, both with life and with each other. His friendships have changed, deepened, in some ways. So have our conversations. Little kids have a lot of ethics questions which pop up: everything from "why can't I talk about how much money I have saved up?" to what sort of qualities determine if a person is a good friend or maybe a not-so-good friend to have.

He and Joe have started up with the Boy Scouts; Joe was an Eagle Scout and thought it would be a good experience. As he's the Den leader I'm heartened that our family's ethics and respect for people of all stripes will be upheld. There's a lot of focus on building character and striving for some rather virtuous qualities, and this introduces a vocabulary you might not have heard as much at our house last year as you do now. Those qualities are a great filter through which to think about our actions. I've been giving him more praise along those lines, concrete "I've noticed that you nearly always hold the screen door for me now when I'm locking up; I never even have to ask you any more. It's very thoughtful and kind of you." In between the moments of his scooter antics, Minecraft-addiction and always being on the move, I'm noticing more maturity. A wee bit more, but it's those qualities we pay attention to most which seem to grow and blossom.

This has been a long post-- I realize I should stop for lunch. Dishes are waiting, I still have a shower to take, and there are quite a few other things which want doing before I go pick up Kiddo at three. This life is my dream life, for now. This moment, I have my dream job, for now. Nothing is 100% perfect, but everything seems like it is exactly how it is supposed to be in this moment and that's good enough for me.

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