Friday, June 9, 2017

June 9

I'm alone with my five littles for four days.  James, Layla, and Josiah went up to Oregon to Ian's college graduation.  It's so weird.  When I started this blog, Ian was only 12. Time goes by so fast. I'm really sad that I can't be with them. Layla posted a picture from her breakfast at a restaurant this morning and it made me cry. I felt incredibly goofy, sobbing over that picture, but it was just the thought of everything. The past 15 years. It was all leading up to this moment, Ian's graduation.  I mean, of course it was leading up to other stuff too, but this is a biggie. I became his mom when he was 6 and I taught him to read and I learned to be a mom and I homeschooled him and, just, he's all accomplished now.  It's really wonderful. But I'm here with the babies and not there. It's just a bit bittersweet.

I wrote this on facebook:

Ian Hughes I met your dad when you were 6 and I was 18. When I met you, you told me you had no mom, your middle name was "C," but you wished that it was Christopher, and asked if I was going to be your mom. And then I turned 19, became your mom, and was not the greatest mom because hey, I was only 19 and you were already 6. I had a brother your age. I'm sure I freaked my parents out, but they all always loved me and didn't act crazy, and they all always loved you too. It's kind of funny to think about now.
Your dad has literally been the hardest working person I know, he started working at age 15, when you were born. So he kept working, and I was suddenly your mom the year after I graduated high school, and we were just not your typical American family. But we were all pretty rad (still are, duh) and slowly we found our way.
Homeschooling you was super fun because you were a stubborn ass 😜 and debated a lot with the authors you read and had a special copy of The Iliad that you pulled off the shelf once a week to dust and pet, and you fell in love with Lorna Doone and read it every Christmas and were determined to name your first daughter Agnes after David Copperfield. When you homeschool a kid and they go to college, it's like this extra special thing, because you feel like you did an okay job and didn't suck. So when you went to college I patted myself on the back, job well done teacher mom.
But then you were gone and that left a hole. We all missed you and your sarcasm and negativity and off the wall opinions so much. But that's the circle of life (Nants ingonyama bagithi baba...) And now you're graduating from college. Like, you get to check the yes box on the "Do you have a bachelor's degree," question on job applications. That's pretty fantastic. You've done so great and I get to be so proud because I get to be your mom.
So happy graduation. I love you!!!!! 

It's all good. Truly. 
I'm here with the babies and we are enjoying ourselves. Watching movies, taking walks, cleaning together.  It's been a sweet and simple time, no outside classes, no having to drive teens to hang outs, just us at home, just being, the way it used to be. So it's all good. I'm enjoying this time.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

June 2

I woke with the sun, nursing the babe asleep on my arms, quiet sounds of my husband starting coffee. Lying in the peace of the moment, I slowly open eyes, staring at the beautiful sleeping face of the baby boy who has my heart. I don't want to forget this moment.

Life has too much excess, too much stress, too much of everything that just doesn't matter. It blinds us, smothers us, drowns out every peaceful moment, and as I lie there looking at him, smelling the healing aroma of coffee brewed by my love, I tell myself I'll stop this madness of life's distractions. 

I rise and drink coffee, exchanging whispers with my husband, so as not to wake the children. There are 7 of them. Days plans are shared, and I think to myself that I'm going to begin to Kon Mari all the things, (once again).

He starts working outside the house, the children wake and join my morning reverie.  Motivation flows through me; today we simplify (again), today we become the minimalists (again). And then, as always happens when motivation makes her refreshing appearance, children fight and yell and hatred leaves their mouths, and I shut my eyes tight, hoping it will stop, but the inevitable sound of a kick and then a cry, and pins pop and motivation slams the door and I am left, deflated. To accomplish means to have the ability, and lately I have no ability to do anything but wake, pray for peace, and then hold on to my faith as I'm carried over the tumultuous waves of the day's stormy ocean. 

I remember when I was strong and could weather these storms, walk the strong headed children through to peace, but now I sit, slowly having been chipped away at, grasping for direction. I remember two hours earlier when Kon Mari and I planned to spend the day together, but now she had been pulled out with the tide. I am simple little amy, but my life had become anything but simple. I espoused Thoreau, preaching to all, "Life is frittered away be detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify," and yet most days were all detail, no substance.

Deflated. Empty balloon on the ground, stepped on by 7 children. That was me. The problem with minimalism, with simplifying, with Kon Mari, is WHEN NINE PEOPLE LIVE IN A HOUSE, THERE IS A LOT OF CRAP. It doesn't matter how much you remove, when you need toys and clothes and dishes and books (and you homeschool), when you have kids who break stuff, kids who experiment, kids who are creative, kids who put holes in pants and shoes as often as I drink coffee (at least three times a day), the stuff is necessary and there's no minimizing that makes things actually seem minimal. I've taken us to the bare bones before, and the bare bones was still overflowing and overwhelming. 

My twins fight and I want to cry. But I remember, yet again, the words of a dear friend, "Instead of trying to order the child, order the environment." This, a mantra of sorts for me, I have revisited over and over for years. Order. Environment. Kon Mari. And so I pull an old favorite off my shelf, reading, preparing. I will begin to order my environment today. I will simplify. It may not look like a minimalist's home, but it will be a home of peace. Ordering the environment instead of ordering the child is essentially the message of Simplicity Parenting, and so this book is where I begin. Chapter 1: Soul Fever

I'm going to blog my way through this beautiful book and the simplification process in my family. Join me if you would like, I'd certainly love the company.