Adjustment

This may sound crazy, but I am trying to clean the house less. It still isn’t as organized as it should be. I still suck at organization. But I have been cleaning nonstop. On Angelica’s 1st day of school I cleaned for 6 straight hours. Nothing was particularly unruly in the house. I just cleaned. I’ve been doing that ever since.

I should be using this time to really delve into my writing and to focus on learning a new language and things like that. I have the free time to do those things. I should be studying scripture. Instead I am disinfecting the disinfectant.

I think it is just hard to get used to Angelica being gone. I have been interrupted in everything from writing a poem to going to the bathroom for five years. Now I know if I sit down to do something I will be alone, with time to focus. This seems to scare me.

A small taste of empty nest syndrome. I just miss my daughter, and the harder I work the quicker I can bring her home. It makes the time fly to clean all day.

Maybe I am nervous too because since we aren’t homeschooling at this point, a chapter of my life has begun in which I should be very productive and accomplish a lot. I haven’t been under that type of pressure since college.

T minus 30 minutes til I pick Angelica up from school!

A Taste of the Empty Nest

I HAVE EMPTY NEST SYNDROME! Okay, it is less severe than what those in later life experience when there’s no one to even come home from school – but I’ve got it bad. When I go to the bathroom there’s no one opening the door to chat with me. When I read a book there is no one to interrupt me. I could literally read a book in one sitting now. I haven’t done that since Angelica was born. I’d rather be interrupted.

It has been hard to read or write at all still. I get home from dropping her off and I just clean and clean and clean.

Allowance, Friends, Her Future

Angelica has been doing work to earn an allowance lately. Fundamentally she has to have a perfectly clean room at the end of the night. If she does, she earns a quarter. This morning she is earning an extra quarter by bringing a load of her father’s clean clothes upstairs. Naturally she has to take more than one trip. I appreciate it because getting up and down the stairs is a lot and the fewer times I do it a day the better. She is really enjoying earning money for different things.

Neighborhood kids have been coming over to play constantly. It gives me joy to see her play with other kids and have so much to look forward to! Lately our home has been fun central with kids circulating through. Sometimes one of the girls is here for hours. Angelica is so happy!

Academically Angelica has really been blossoming. Her love for science bodes well for her academic future. She wants to go through the books we have. She also loves to watch video clips about a variety of subjects. YouTube kids is a great way for her to learn and see different things. I really like that app. It’s great for parents because you can add what channels you allow your child to watch.

I really wonder what Angelica will be someday. Will she be a scientist? Storm chaser? Video producer? There are so many things that she could be. It’s fascinating to watch her bloom. That’s the thing with kids. If you plant a rose bush you know you’re going to get roses. When you make a baby you have no idea what you’re getting. What is my daughter becoming? Whatever it is I can’t wait to see. She might be a hairdresser or an artist or own a grocery store. She can do anything. It’s all dependent on her aptitude, interest, and work ethic. This is one of the joys of being a mother. Giving your child the resources and then allowing them to become what they are meant to be.

Lovely Day

Angelica and I had a great morning. I got some housework done while she played. Then we went on a playdate with some friends to Chik fil A.

Right now she is watching Minions. Soon, we’ll go grocery shopping.

I want to do whatever I can to make the most of the rest of June and then July. She will be starting school before I know it. I can hardly fathom just how much I will miss her. It wells up in my mind sometimes and I have to think of something else or I will cry. These years before a child is school age are absolutely precious.

We were planning to homeschool, as I have written before. But for now we have decided to send her to school. She will love it. I will cry. But I am happy for her. I want her to make friends and build good memories.

Today I was told that there is actually an amusement park around here. There’s one near Colorado Springs that’s a winter-themed one, and then there’s one up in Denver that’s kind of like a Six Flags. If Craig has a weekend day that he wants to take to do that it would probably be a lot of fun for Angelica. I’ve become a boring old lady. A lot of rides make me really sick or give me headaches. Because of that, I don’t really want to take her by myself because at her age there’s probably a lot of rides that she’ll need me for and I’m not much use. When my husband and I were dating he wanted to ride the same rollercoaster repeatedly. There was no line, somehow, so we got to go on Apollo’s Chariot a bunch of times. And then… I threw up all over him. We got off the ride and were walking around the park and I felt queasy. And then I just threw up everywhere. I threw up on him. I threw up on myself and the ground and the restroom building. Everything. I swear that if it was in a 10 Mi radius I threw up on it.

I want to make sure she gets swimming lessons this summer too. I haven’t wanted her to take lessons in the winter because it does get rather cold here and I remember what it’s like to come out of the pool and put your clothes on and go out into the cold air. Maybe I’m sissy but that wasn’t fun to me and I don’t see the necessity of her doing it. We don’t live by the ocean anymore so learning to swim is not as urgent. However, it is still important and I think once she gets past fear so really enjoy it. In future summers I would love to just be able to take her to the pool in the afternoon and let her play. There are lessons on base but from what everyone says, and from what our experience was this past spring, the classes fill up within an hour or two of opening. It’s hard to catch that. There’s another swimming place around here for kids that I’m going to look into. I’m also going to look into private instruction. She really does need to learn and I hope I can get that done in July.

Private School

At Craig’s suggestion, we started to consider giving private school a try. I was on the fence. I love homeschooling. Of course, I followed Craig’s lead and began to call different schools.

When I told Angelica we were going to look at some schools, she started crying. “What about homeschool?” I told her we were just looking at schools to see what there was and that she might like school. She pointed to her collection of science books we do together. I promised we could do her homeschool books together when she got home from school, that we could always learn together.

WE FELL IN LOVE WITH A SCHOOL! It is absolutely wonderful. I took Angelica with me on the tour, and she was beaming as we walked around the school. When we got out to the car she immediately told me she wanted to go to school, and asked if I could please tell Daddy that it was a good school and I liked it I did, Craig took another tour with me, and that was that. We were both sold. We applied. She got in. It is settled. Angelica is going to school this Autumn.

Lovely Day, Free Night

Today has really been a beautiful Friday. Unfortunately Craig has to work a 12-hour day, so I saw him off by 10 in the morning and he won’t be home until it least 10 this evening. I feel bad for him having to work so many hours. But soon after he left Angelica and I went to Target and she got to pick out some new clothes. We grabbed some household items while we were there too.

After that we went to Red Lobster for a mommy daughter date. We talked about all sorts of things, but especially monsters and unicorns. Angelica really educated me. There are monsters that are microscopic, and there’s a unicorn on Pikes Peak.

When we were finished eating we went home and it was time to do some serious housework. Angelica decided to be a buddy helper the whole time. She helped me scoop lavender into a new container to make the kitchen smell nice. She helped put away the towels that I folded. She put the detergent in the laundry machine. She put her clothes away in her drawers. She picked stuff up. Angelica was a busy little bee. Angelica wiped down counters with Lysol wipes as well. She helped me take out the trash and the recycling. And this is just a partial list. My buddy helper has been a very good helper today.

We worked on two collages together. I bought a bunch of white poster board awhile back, and gradually I’ve been putting together a collage. Every day or two I add a couple of more materials, whether it is a sticker or a piece of cloth or something. I even have some curling ribbon on there. She helped to add to that one, and then I started a new one that’s going to be just stickers of different kinds. She gave me a hand adding the stickers where they were supposed to go. It was nice to have my little artist-in-residence help me with my projects. One day she won’t be in residence, and I will really miss her.

Part of the afternoon was spent hanging out on the porch swing in the backyard. Now we are unwinding some more and in a little while the babysitter will be here. My Friday night is free and I get to decide what to do with it.

Artistic Identity

No matter how busy motherhood gets, I can’t imagine giving up my creative activities. I just read an article by a woman who did exactly that. She was a blogger and photographer, and she did no work for two years while she took care of her children. She said that she needed to be more present with them. She’s not the only one I have heard of who has done that. I have friends who have done that as well.

I admire the self-sacrifice and self-control, but I can’t really imagine doing that myself. Maybe it’s good that I have to stop at one child, as much as I wanted to have more. But if I had 10 kids I have a feeling I would still be squeezing in time to write poems or to paint. That maybe I would be in a situation at that point where I shouldn’t be doing those things, but I would do them anyway.

Poetry is such a part of me that I can’t imagine giving it up. I go through spells where I primarily read poetry rather than write it. When I do that I am often soaking up inspiration and gearing up for a period of intense writing. But to simply not have poetry in my life? I can’t even imagine.

Painting and photography have become primal urges for me. I can’t imagine putting my camera down as some of the mother photographers do. I might sometimes get lazy or too busy to take out my expensive camera, but I’ll at the very least be taking photos on my phone.

Perhaps all of this is selfish or self-absorbed, but I’m not so sure about that. Everyone needs their own identity. Everyone needs something that they love to do and an opportunity to do it. Naturally your husband and children have to take priority, but you can’t draw from an empty well. If you want to give them more, then you have to give yourself something. So many women say they’ve lost their identity in motherhood, and I just can’t relate. When I had my daughter I became even more myself. I still had all the artistic aspects of myself, all the general personality traits like introversion, I still liked the same foods and movies, only I was finally fully tapped into my maternal potential. Having a child didn’t sap my sense of identity. It completed it.

Not that I think I am really at risk of this, but I pray that I never put down the pen or the camera or the brush. These things are apart of me. Without them I think I would fall to pieces.

Pure Tiredness

I read Angelica an adorable story called, “Love Monster.” I saw it from across the aisle at Target and knew immediately that we had to have it. We sort of have a monster theme in our family, and this just looks like the cutest book.

Now I am so tired. The pain killer for my jaw is making me tired, and worst of all I am almost out of it. I am still laying that side of my face on a heating pad a lot to dull the pain.

Yesterday, though I was in pain and undoubtedly way too whiny about it, I got to hang out with my friend M and our kids got to play together. It was lovely.

More later. Half asleel.

Poetics and Motherhood

For me, being a mother makes me a better poet – and being a poet makes me a better mother. I am fortunate to be writing with the support of my husband, but were I to be a single mother I think the effect would be the same. Motherhood greatly enriches my life and adds depth to it. Anytime you’re deep in your soul it will show up in your writing.

Writing fashions me into a better mother because I notice things. I stay in touch with the shifting loveliness of the world, and try to keep my daughter attuned to it also.

The creative outlet I get through writing poetry keeps me focused on Angelica when I am with her. I am refreshed from my time creating, and when Angelica and I play or do lessons I can really throw myself into it. I am not drawing from a dry well.

Life Giving Home

This inspiring book by Sally Clarkson renewed the vigor with which I manage my home. I will never be a fantastic housekeeper, but I will try.

Growing up I read that the mother is the thermostat of the home. Her mood and attitude sets the tone for the rest of the household. This book more or less drives that point home. The best thing I can do as a homemaker is be gentle with the people in my home, and try to be cheery. Good homemaking is not just about having floors that are clean enough to eat off (although that’s a good thing to have), but rather it is about creating an environment that people want to dwell in.

This book also gave me a few random ideas for creating a unique, memorable environment for my family. Play music throughout the day. I asked Craig to buy me a speaker for downstairs. He got me a cool little one that changes colors. He also got me an mp3 player and sd card to go with the speaker so I could connect music.

I tried to choose a soundtrack that I thought was interesting and set a tone. I have Gregorian chants, nun choirs, and other Christian music. I also have some favorite instrumental film scores, including some dark ones. I want a house of thinking. of memory, of the surreal. I have a little Evanescence and some Apocalyptica. They make orchestral versions of rock songs.  I have some of the Lord of the Rings soundtrack on there, some a capella, and Adrian von Ziegler.

Maybe that is a little odd, but I think it sets a memorable tone for the house.