We’ve been homeschooling for a few weeks now and I’m still feeling my way through it, swinging between “this isn’t so bad” and “what the hell was I thinking” with the speed of a metronome.
Yesterday was the first extended period of time I was without my kids for something other than a hospital stay in months…but it feels like years.
I had forgotten how recharging those long stretches with them at school could be. For the first time in months I feel as if I can collect my thoughts.
In many ways for me homeschooling has felt like a regression back to those long weary days of early motherhood, when your child clings to you every waking hour, when over-touched, over-needed, and over-exhausted you crawl to the end of the day.
There are sweet tender moments in this togetherness, but it is also draining in its excessiveness continuity. There is no break. There is no rest. The only alone time is found in a quick trip to the bathroom, which, more often than not, is interrupted.
Maybe it’s just my kid.
He has always been highly attached. He’s a “with” kid, who needs to be with someone at all times, and an external processor, who needs to hear the sound of his own voice. It’s a lot for this highly introverted mama.
I need space and quiet and margins. And right now I have none.
I have torn through the summer with zero awareness, very little internal processing, and only a minuscule amount of intentionality. This isn’t like me, but the noise and adrenaline and lack of space (or quiet) has served as a fairly decent coping mechanism for survival. If I don’t have the space or quiet to think, than I don’t have the space or capacity to really feel. So I’ve been walking around as a very functional robot, which has actually been a very effective way to function in the midst of Bryan’s cancer battle and the current life stresses that brings.
I’m re-learning myself today, acknowledging again how I’m wired. I’m realizing again how much I need space and quiet in order to live and feel and create. But also noticing how in some ways I function “better” when moving quickly and under stress. I oddly drop less balls when I’m trying to juggle more. I get more done in less time and handle the logistics of my life much more efficiently when there are more things to handle. It seems backwards but somehow it’s true. My internal life, the essence of who I am and want to be suffers under pressure but my external life, and my ability to run a family and make sure everything gets done actually improves a bit somehow.
For now I’m not sure what that means. In this season of life there isn’t much I can do to create more space and quiet for myself. And in this season it’s probably more important that fewer balls get dropped than it is for me to have a rich inner life of awareness and creativity. So for this season I am trying to embrace the busyness, the noise, the lack of alone time, the constant need of all three of the people currently in my care.
And when I am gifted a rare moment of quiet, like yesterday, using it to the best of my ability to process what I can, feel what I need, and create whatever desires to be created.
Grace and peace,