Monday, September 24, 2012
Tonight, I'm wondering how other families do it, and whether or not that matters for us. The 'it' tonight is regrouping after a fallout between siblings, or family members. Tomorrow IS another day, with no mistakes in it, yes. But, sometimes we get in these ruts of reaction, and the next time a little bump comes in the road... how will we do it differently? Do we just forge down the path some more making mistakes, forgiving each other, only to bash again, like two billy-goats, the next time our feathers are ruffled... yes, I know mixing metaphors.
Seriously, though... I could spend hours trolling the net, luxuriating in gorgeous photos of perfect lives, handmade, homemade, and thrifted. What I really want to know is--what helps you and your family out of self-created ick.
Friday, September 21, 2012
"Equal dark, equal light
Flow in Circle, deep insight
Blessed Be, Blessed Be
The transformation of energy!
So it flows, out it goes
Three-fold back it shall be
Blessed Be, Blessed Be
The transformation of energy!"
- Night An'Fey, Transformation of Energy
Here it is, September again. And yet, how can it be so? The wheel of the year spins ever more quickly it seems, like a German word I learned from a book about fire trucks that Forest chose at the library today: (who am I to say no to ridiculous library choices--there is no such thing!)
Yes, fast as lightning (that's how fast the German firefighters go down the pole). Gus even translated it on the spot, remembering our German classes of several years ago, when we sang "My Hat it has Three Corners" fast and slow, loud and soft, back when they were all kleine kinder.
I am forever writing about this: time is quickening, they're growing so fast, I haven't blogged in forever. It's my big theme, it would seem. Well, as we used to say in junior high, (which my children would go to if they went...) "No Doi!" They're kids! They grow fast. Blink, and they'll be in college. Enjoy them now. And my question is, "How?" I think that's why I keep the theme going, because I seem to be on a quest--no Clark, not a Quest For Fun. That's probably the quest I should be on. And, if I had conceded to changing my last name to Griswold, I would be on that Quest. Instead, I am on a quest to find out how to Be Here Now as Ram Dass encouraged so long ago, and as all those many books which line my shelves urge with their yoga and meditation and mantras and prayers. And, more importantly, I am on this quest with these kids at this time, with imperfect me, and all of that stuff that's waiting to be done... and so much else.
Sometimes, when I am doing some mundane task, my mind will wander into writing a blog post or status update about what is going on here and now... and then I chide myself for living in the crazy mixed up world of online social media. But, seriously, that is a part of the story of this family and how it got started, anyway, so I may as well bond with it on some level. I decided tonight while folding the laundry, that I should just write the post, and then I could get on with being here now with the laundry, and the dog, and my tea.
here. we. are.
Forest: 2.5 next week, he prefers to be called 'Big Guy' He corrects me when I call him Forest. He asks everyone their name and then tells them, matter-of-factly, that his name is Big Guy. They look at me like I'm Pikabo Street's mom, and I just nod and say, "Yup, Big Guy." He is definitely a product of the fast paced, noisy world of 3 bigger siblings. He is figuring out how to do puzzles. He loves vehicles of all kinds. (Sing me a truck song, Mama) He likes to run with scissors. He asked me the night before last if we could cut his hair, "So it is brown like Gus'" He told me it was his birthday the other day, after we went to the zoo. I asked what else we should do. "Eat ice crean and chocolate!" He just met his biggest brother for the first time, along with his girl friend, and now he talks about them all the time and wonders where they went. I'm still pretty amazed that he's here at all--but definitely glad that he came to live with us.
Lucy Sky: 9.5! Lucy, like all of the 'big kids' is coming out of a year of adjusting to living in a new place. She is finding her own place, and it is definitely among the four-footed. She is enjoying riding more and more, and it is a true pleasure to watch her canter on any of her equine pals at the nearby barn. She knows way more than I do about horses, and is learning more every day. She doesn't discriminate, though, she seems to have a fondness for all furry friends, and Dex is included. She and Eleanor take really good care of our shiny black friend, and love to teach her new tricks. Lucy spent some time at our friends' farm this summer and got to hang with sheep and a new puppy as well. It is amazing to see the transitions in these young friends of mine... the transformation of energy. Lucy has taken a real interest in Japanese, and so it is now a part of what we do together. It's pretty fun to share something that I love so much with someone I love so much. Today we read a book about a wiggly tooth. "Ha wa guragura!"
Eleanor: 11! These are the rapidly growing/changing years. All of Eleanors teeth seem "guragura" lately, and she is growing so tall, she's almost caught up with Gus! This summer she did a ballet intensive at her new studio, Portland Youth Ballet, and LOVED it. She is doing more ballet than ever, and glows when she comes out of class. I wish I were 11 and in her classes, too. She just got jazz shoes last week for her first Jazz class, and it reminded me of taking Jazz with two friends at just about her age. Eleanor made almost all of dinner last night: Thai-style noodles with veggies and peanut sauce. Me: grateful mama. While her brother was laid out on the couch with stomach yuck she was finishing the first arm on her first sweater for a person. She's made several for dolls. This one is for Forest. Having a kid that seems so different from me is a good practice in acceptance of all kinds of folks.
Gus: 12.5 and growing. Gus might actually grow into his dad's prediction that he would be 6'8" when he stopped. He's catching up with me and his feet have passed mine by and are catching up with Robert's. He just moved up to a new level in his fencing class: more fencing, fewer games, and also more classes if we can get to them--not a small feat for this mama. His true love is still Lego and Lego robotics and he's really enjoying exploring the world J.R.R. Tolkien created. We talk often of how many similarities there are to JK Rowling's work. Robert read The Hobbit to all of the big kids this spring and Gus read the trilogy shortly thereafter. He keeps asking me questions about whether I remember this or that from The Hobbit. I keep reminding him it was more than 25 years ago that I read it. Yikes.
Sarah: Ageless, obviously. (except when i see those wrinkles and white wild hairs :: character!) I am fresh out of one art e-course which my last post was about... haven't posted any photos of my art here, but there are some on flickr... a little shy. I really like having the opportunity to take classes this way, what a brilliant thing about having the 'net. I also struggle with keeping the net in it's place, and not letting it take over my life. Some days I want to delete my facebook account. Others, I'm so happy to have news and words of wisdom from friends and folks across the globe. The Pages&Paint course was the beginning of following a dream that I've had in my back pocket for a long time, to 'learn to paint.' Actually, Inside Out, was the beginning of freeing up my mind and kicking my self-doubt to the curb, so I could consider learning to paint. When I look at this thing, "painting", it is like many others in my life--it is inside me wanting to get out--just like the dancer, the yogini, the doula, the chef, the fiber artist, etc... and I take her just way to seriously and my brain gets in the way, and she goes back to sleep for a few years or decades. Well.. I'm learning to take baby steps upon the path, and let those sleeping Sarahs out bit by bit and piece by piece, and it's way more doable. I am also learning to use some organizational tools that make my life easier--what a concept. Everyone checks the weekly calendar to see what's on this week; menu planning--getting slowly better at that; planning to work out (! what a concept!); putting art time right in there on the to-do list. Bit by bit and inch by inch.
Robert: You'd really have to ask him... but I will say that he is working steadily towards his goal of programming in iOS, and also encouraging all of us in photography and juggling. I still feel that it is a miracle and a gift that we found each other... 17 years or so ago on the very same internet that can now show us the Curiosity mission and Dr. Who episodes on demand... (I GET Dr. Who, thank goodness!) He is such an excellent Dad and partner for this crazy ride. He took the day off of work during late August so that we could all go to Oaks Park together and ride rides and roller skate. What a fun day. On our recent trip to the coast, he broke the rules, went under the fence to the "DANGEROUS AREA!" and encouraged Gus, Forest and me to do the same and we got splashed by the beautiful Pacific, and felt more alive than ever. We also schlepped a sometimes reluctant Forest up the giant dune with Gus leading the way. Forest was sometimes encouraging, too, "You can do it, Mama!" It was a reminder that hanging out in nature together is still something that works pretty well for us!
Shadypeak Homeschool is back in full swing, with lots of lessons and classes off campus. We have a full year of Ancient Cultures, Native American History, Norse Myths, Greek Myths, botany, biology, geometry, fractions, handwork, sketching, art journaling, French, Japanese, and probably a lot more stuff I haven't mentioned or remembered, too. We have new strings teachers this year, moving on from some lovely folks who taught them last year. Classes at Village Home have started up, with the final choices still being made this week between Beginning Wire Jewelry, Hogwarts Academy, Circus, and Murder Mystery. We would all love to take more more more classes there, but time and pocketbooks squeal 'no more'. Lucy and I are rocking out at Nia each Wednesday morning with our fantastic teacher and a great group of women and girls. Dancing and me are still good buddies... my body thanks me every time, and my spirit sings all week.
With all of the busybusy, my intention is to create a space at home that really feels cozy and homey. Working on rhythm, organization and planning are helping this. I look at all of my mama friends and see a common line of stress on all of our faces--how can we find a place within all of this wild wired world to just be, drink tea and breathe? I found that when I actually got to painting... those were the messages coming to me. s..... l......o.....w............... I'm not a particularly physically fast person, but some days I don't sit down all day--I don't even go pee! Why? not enough tea/water/sweet juice of life! So, as we get into our groove of fall (aka power time for this mama.) it is my goal to do that, daily. I got myself one of those sippy cup lids for a mason jar. I feel like sort of a moron drinking out of it, like it's really a sippy cup... but that reminds me that I am just a beginner here. I have also been making time for meditation each day, if only for a few moments--it helps.
I cannot slow down the wheel, but I can have moments of stillness within the turning of it. I can use the transformation of energy to change what doesn't work, and to find new ways that do. Every day, I read from two little books, two interpretations of the Tao te Ching, The Tao of Motherhood by Vimala McClure, and A Parent's Tao te Ching, by William Martin. The gems in these two little books feed my soul, calm my nerves and remind me that this path is a path... not a destination.