OMG what is that? My baby has been napping for the past hour and the older kids were entertaining themselves (except for one tushie that needed to be wiped). I was not rushing to do chumash with 12 year old, I was not hustling anyone to do schoolwork or finish something or other that is hard to do with an active toddler. (The chicken in Moana is clearly modelled after a toddler: same freak outs, same ridiculous repetitive behaviors.) And all of sudden I find myself finally calling a handyman to install the blinds before too many neighbors diplomatically suggest that we do it for our own good. And I'm making lasagna noodle roll-ups with tuna and spinach, using up leftovers. And I'm getting on IKEA home planner to figure out how to fit in a few more kitchen cabinets while thinking that maybe I should look into design or architecture classes. Is there a market for 40-year-old architects? And I finally threaded the washed 3 year old's car seat after a too-close encounter with raspberry jelly. The wipes did not cut it, so it had to be washed. Pesach came early, and I did it. And I'm thinking what else can I do with the kids around their 3 pm dentist appointment: drop off DVDs at the library because there is a branch not far from the office, stop by Aldi, run to IKEA to replace a vital screw that $%#$& movers did not put into the bunk bed? I did not realize that 10 yo telling me about his fear of the whole thing crashing down was not based on overreaction, but on solid engineering reality that a certain amount of supports is needed for the top bunk.
And I finished two books this past week: "Hillbilly Elegy" and "Run" by Ann Patchett. I cannot recall what was the last impactful book that I read before these two.
My time is slowly coming back to me. My time can also be snatched at any minute by a baby awakening from her nap, spilling pasta all over the floor, dumping cups of water, just screaming to be held. My time is also carved from the hours previously spent homeschooling. There is a misconception that unschooling means not doing anything with the kids, so why are the moms complaining that they are so busy? However, when you unschool, you are still in the picture, still available to answer questions, help with projects, do research, drop everything to read, etc. I am not currently unschooling. I am letting the older kids marinate in their own juices while I go and do my own thing. It is not clear-cut, as 10 yo, after this morning marinade, came to inform me that he and his two older siblings are about to produce Illiad , but a Wild West version. Ok, kids, I can write this down as an educational activity. I can boast about it: hey, my kids know enough about both to synthesize their own mashup. But I cannot call it unschooling, as I am refusing to participate more than a spectator.
Am I too high-strung to even unschool? Am I too controlling? Too worried about the outcome? Do I have too few resources, too few other adults who can spell me for a bit as the adult on duty? I don't know if I failed my kids by sending them to school, failed the ideals of homeschooling, failed myself. I do know that we, as a family, are ready for a new chapter. 12 yo is starting in a week and he is eager to have friends, hang out with friends, do things with friends, be in a class with friends. 10 yo came to terms with his new school reality. 6 yo is happy to have her girls back. And I am grateful for renewed energy and renewed ability to dream. I do wish so badly that my dreams involved homeschooling, spend long intense periods of time with the people that I birthed, educating them, learning alongside them. Right now, that is my fantasy. Right now, I need my space. I wish I did not have to carve time out for myself. I wish there would not be implied violence to time, but a peaceful flow.