Wednesday, November 30, 2016

I am tired

My G-d, I'm tired.

So, so essentially, weary in my bones .

My soul is tired. My whole being is tired.

We've moved into the neighborhood that we did not consider initially because it would require a long commute to the dayschool and my husband did not want me to have to drive the kids, so he chose to commute to his hospital instead. We moved into the other neighborhood to "fit in", be like everybody else, send our child to the most acceptable school, get him friends. We all know how well that turned out: we did not fit in. The friends that my son made (and that we made) either moved to other places or made aliyah. I chose to homeschool because once the social aspect was not there, the academics and intellectual stimulation were not there as a given. And once we were pegged as "different", we did not have much to lose by homeschooling anyway.

But that was a long time ago, before many job switches by my husband, before two more babies, before realizing that my second child is not outgrowing his fits, before drowning in noise and mess, before understanding that homeschooling is a lonely business. I thought my immediate family will rally, once they see what wonderful schedule we have, what the boys achieve, which opportunities open up to us. Flatly, I did not get that. There are no bumper stickers with "student of the month" in homeschool, nor are there tangible report cards, shiny trophies and diplomas. You don't hang "my children fight less than expected" on a wall. The grandparents are less than enthusiastic about my efforts. I thought what they thoguht would not matter to me, but it does.

And then there were those two babies. That means that the past four years have been consumed by nursing and naps and whining and meeting the needs of small people. My personal dreams became the size of pinpricks, and once they were so small, it was easy to lose them altogether. Not only my dreams were gone, but so were the dreams of my older kids. There is nobody to take them to a movie, a baseball game, an outdoor rope course except for the parents. But the parents are juggling small people and jobs and naps and height restrictions and financial costs of so many mouths to feed.

There is shabbos, relentlessly coming every week and every week I need to come up with a plan to make it. There is yom tov and dread that it brings: I never measure up to some standard of happiness and contentment that is blaring from all the lovely children's books. "Levivot kol ima tachin" Every mother makes latkes. That line from a Chanukah song used to bring tears to my eyes, as I resolved to make latkes, knowing that it is undertaking too much, and then I would be stressed and baby would be underfoot and dirty food processor would be in the sink as I would be yelling like crazy for kids to stay away from the hot oil...

There is my husband's call schedule. There are those phone calls that require him to drop everything and go save a life.

I tried. I tried doing it all: be a good mother, be involved, be a homemaker, be a teacher, eat healthy, provide learning opportunities, respect children's needs, be nice to grandparents. I tried nursing. I tried making my own baby food. I tried baking bread. I tried online course in graphics for my mental stimulation. I tried online school for 12 yo so he has peers and a rebbe. I tried engaging him in chumash. I tried buying lots of seforim and art supplies and strewing them around. I tried seeking out classes for kids: at the library, the zoo, through homeschool networks, through word of mouth.

I tried a lot.

I tried suppressing my introvert tendencies and staying calm amidst a very loud and hectic household. I tried being present for all of my kids, finding a way to connect with each one when I much rather go and seek quiet.

Somewhere along this path, my whole essence was broken. This is not the first time that it happened. The first time was when I was being treated for Hep C and the medications changed not only my personality and brain, but my whole approach to life. But that was external, and it was a matter of survival, and there were no other options. This time, I did not have to take the hard path. This time, it was not a matter of life and death. I chose to do things the hard way. I chose to educate the children at home.

All that I know is that I am very tired.

Monday, November 28, 2016

We moved

I am alive.

We are alive.

We have moved two weeks ago. It's a much larger house. For the first time, the master bathroom has a bathtub. I have two ovens and two sinks in the kitchen. Our dining room table became eat-in kitchen table, so we can all fit. The living room couches are arriving tomorrow. "I can't wait to assemble a couch!" pipes up 10 yo after spending the past two weeks assembling IKEA furniture. I had to disappoint him by informing him that the couches are from a real store and do not require assembly. (They were a floor sample, at a steep "As Is" discount, bought during black Friday weekend, but that is irrelevant to a child eager to click his tools.)

I made Thanksgiving. :Last time I made it was five years ago. We had a turkey and all the fixings. 12 yo made a Knex turkey to grace our table. He also made gratitude cards, at my request. The boys enjoyed furiously filling theirs out. 12 yo was grateful for diapers, of all things: it's not easy being in a house with a child who won't potty train. Overall, I loved hearing how each child independently appreciated other members of the family. To finish the meal off, we all posed my new dinosaur salt and pepper shakers. Just in case you think it was all lovely, 3 yo decided to have a nuclear meltdown over not liking any food. Eventually, we tucked him in, and all was quiet. Oh, and I almost forgot to make dessert...

The neighborhood is nice. The driveway has a flat area at the top and the street is quiet, surrounded by cul-de-sacs. 6 yo learned how to ride her two-wheeler. 3 yo learned how to pedal. There is a hidden shortcut through a dam across the lake that we can see from the living room. A great blue heron has been spotted, alongside with ducks, geese and other birds. This morning, a hawk visited a tree on our lawn. The neighbors say hello and brought us welcome gifts. The street is lined with colonials. Suburbia.