Living from Regrets

Ever since the kids began to be involved with other groups of youth for activities, it has been easier to align our calendar with the public school calendar. Sometimes it is fun to be on vacation when public school is in session, but it usually still means that we are trucking the kids around, so it is a ‘sort of break’ at best. So for the most part, we just shut down when public schools shut down.

Two weeks ago, it was Greenville County Schools spring vacation. It was also ours. The boys went on a massive road trip. The girls unplugged and and played and rested. When it was time for that week to come to a close we decided that the one week hadn’t been enough. So we opted, as a family, to take a second week of vacation.

The girls and I had taken a lunch date many weeks before and brainstormed all that we hoped to do during our vacation. We didn’t complete nearly all that we had put on our list. It’s amazing how optimistic list-making can feel. So as we headed into our second week, I encouraged the girls and myself to revisit the list. “Let’s look at what we regret, and make choices for this next week based on that.”

Individually, we did that. We carried our regrets, and decided which would be compass points for our ‘bonus’ week. For me, that included some much needed desk time, some reading time, some internal evaluation and planning. For the girls it was some studying, some playing, some kitchen projects.

I am really growing to a place where I appreciate the feedback that disappointments and regrets can give. The message we often hear is to live looking forward, and to not allow the negative feelings to come along of the ride. But just because they aren’t happy feelings doesn’t mean they are negative. Some of the things on our lists were silly, frivolous, unnecessary. Some of our things were important, and we were going to be in a better place to do them because of the rest we had experienced in week one. Because we took the time to revisit each thing, we could make that value decision.

Previously, I would have just had a dull awareness that I hadn’t completed the list. It would have been a regret filled with dread, and the self-message ‘you stink at follow-through’. But we took ownership of the dread and met it with Grace. We were in charge of the list.

We hear about goal-setting and knowing that planes have to make a million mid-course corrections as they speed to their next port. But I think I’m living more of a row-boat paced life these days… pulling the oars, looking at where I have been, and looking over my shoulder every once in awhile to set my sights on where I am headed. I might not be getting to my next port as quickly as a plane (and my hands might really hurt from the blisters some days), but I think I might be onto something sacred as I honor the behind as I make my forward movement.

Sofie turning 7 and sewing

Sofia will be turning 11 soon. This written but unpublished post from about four years ago still holds quite a bit of truth. Sofia has learned a lot about planning ahead (too much?) and is a list maker, especially at bed-time. But she is still bold in trying new things – starting a recipe with step one without reading all the way through. She does check to make sure we have all the ingredients. I am also more comfortable – well, down-right proud of –  her ability to jump in. I think she has learned some from me, and I know I have learned a LOT from her.

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from 2012

My baby turned 7 last week. I am now one of those parents whose children can dress themselves, buckle themselves into the car, read to themselves. While our children have always had their own personality, they are all at the age where they can express them in so many ways – in their own ways.

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Turning 7

 

I’m sure I loved having babies. My first two pregnancies I loved being pregnant. But I LOVE having older children. I love their independence and their coming to own their place in the world.

Sofia is our child that is most like Marc. She MIGHT even exceed him in his extroverted approach to life. She is the child that is MOST unlike me. Right now this creates a natural conflict, because she really isn’t certain that I know what I am doing in my role as mother – and that I have some control in her life. Her name means wisdom, and I have been known to ask her at what point she will acquire some – her impulsiveness looking like irresponsibility to me (and my responsibility looking like over-cautiousness to her).

I don’t get not knowing the outcome before I start. When I have situations that I need to be involved in not knowing the outcome, this is high stress for me. Over-planning stresses Sofia out.

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SewSofieSew

Sofia got a sewing machine for her birthday. In a moment of wisdom (mine) I realized I didn’t need to give her too much information. When Anna got her sewing machine a couple years ago, they were accompanied with several how to sew books. With Sofia, it was a enough to show her how to get the machine threaded and plugged in and to keep her fingers out of the way.

And she was off. Trying different stitches. Turning corners. Rounding edges. Making little bags with handles.

No, it won’t go into an Etsy shop right away. But that’s not the point. The point is that she did it, AND I let her.

About Izzie

written in the Fall of 2012 – found in Evernote

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Not a plantain, but often called a weed. 🙂

My friend Izzie – there are so many cool things about her. Our youngest girls are best friends – they probably don’t remember a time when the other wasn’t there. We eat, talk, pray, play guitar and sing together. Izzie and I will sit around a talk about nothing and then she will ask ‘how is it with your soul?’ And it’s okay. (It wouldn’t be okay coming from a lot of people.)

But the thing that I think is most cool about Izzie today happened today. Anna got stung. Her first sting. And it hurt. I ran to get some salve for her and Izzie ran to the front yard saying something under her breath as she went. She came back in with a leaf and asked for a mortar and pestle. I don’t happen to have one hanging around my house so Izzie asked if I minded her saliva mixed with this plant that it became apparent was going to be put on the sting site.

Izzie chewed. Izzie applied. We held the chewed plantain onto the sting site with band aid. Ice applied to held numb the site as the plantain drew the poison from the stinger out. Anna felt better. So did I.

Everyone should have a friend who will chew on yard weeds to comfort your child.

Girls Camp – ‘just’ a Name

If we happen to be friends on FB or Instagram, you saw that most of my posts were somehow about ‘Girls Camp’. Caleb has been at music camp since last Saturday, and Marc had a trip in the middle of the week. When the girls and I talked about our days without the boys and what our options were, their choice was to ‘just stay home and chill; and maybe sleep on the pullout couch’.

I was relieved that they didn’t take me up on any of the driving or overnight adventures that we discussed (as much as I don’t like our current mattress, there is still no bed like home; and I’d really like to use summer gas money for things our whole family will do together). I was thrilled that they find our home time just as special as some of the other adventures that were offered to them – that says a lot, right. And I wasn’t really sure how it was all going to play out.

So, I created Girls Camp. And here is a secret about Girls Camp. They have no idea they were at it. It’s okay if you tell them or ask them about it. They know I took pictures and posted them. They know that we girls hung out quietly and together at home. They did get to sleep on the couch (I will NEVER understand that appeal). We watched movies, played games, and swam. We all had rhythms of getting work and play done. From the outside, I don’t know if you would have noticed that anything out of the ordinary was happening in our lives.

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I created Girls Camp for myself. It became a constant reminder to slow down and to say yes. It Named our cloistered together time and made it sacred in my mind and heart and approach. It set apart the very ordinary into a very sacred time.  The girls may or may not have any idea that I created a Name for our days. But you don’t have to know the name to know that you are walking in a special place. And I am beyond a doubt certain that the past few days will rank pretty high as we recall the special days of Summer 2014.

 

Two Views

We’ve been having some weather this winter. Like almost the rest of the country. Being Mainers we keep telling ourselves ‘we’ve got this’, but truthfully, this winter is one that I can see us remembering as the Winter of 13 or 14 (who decides that stuff?).

Because we both homeschool and use some of the programs available at our local public school, we put a fair number of miles on the cars transporting our kids to this class or that and home again.

Marc and I were comparing notes on our approach to a particular hill that we traverse on our trip to the high school.

During a snow storm before Christmas, I took an alternate route with a dramatically decreased incline AND that didn’t end in a stream. I pointed out to Caleb (who WILL be driving in a short time) my strategy for creating a safe route.

Marc took Caleb to jazz band this morning (6:45 rehearsals… how awesome is our director to be available to lead this group at that hour!) and mentioned that he took the hill straight on (yes we have inches of ice built upon our roads all over town) and HE took the opportunity to explain to Caleb the strategies of safe braking when faced with a hill like that.

I love that illustration of how we parent. We approached a similar trial in a different way – neither right nor wrong. I love that God puts parents together so that kids (hopefully you didn’t marry a clone) get multiple approaches to life. I love that even though we taught a different approach, we both took the opportunity to teach.

I am determined to get more pictures of us together this year! January 1, 2014.

I am determined to get more pictures of us together this year! January 1, 2014.