Table Time

For lack of a better term, borrowing from what friends call theirs, we have started having a bit of time at the table together every day. I want to keep it up because so far, it’s actually a positive change for us. My boys have been just a little bit more interested in learning lately and I’m trying to run with that while giving Jenny time to do a few more things that might be requested by her teacher. Yesterday everyone did their own thing – Jenny working on various things, Ben reading a book (the only book he says he can read), Erik and Elias working on printing, Sam tracing in an Usborne wipe-clean book and Oliver moving back and forth from one activity to the next. Today we did an animal facts game. I read the facts on half a card and the kids had to guess which animal it was. Ben got five right and each of the three oldest got ten. It was fun and low stress and didn’t feel overly structured.

The fact is, we have structure but very little of it has been devoted to learning. Kids get up, have breakfast, the kid of the day has their two hour computer turn and usually a few others watch or help them. After that, they clean up the designated room in the basement, have lunch and start their one and a half hour turns on the tablets and/or Xbox. This means most days, they only have an hour and a half of personal screen time and some days they have two hours more. A movie is watched occasionally by one or all but generally they spend any other free time they have making up games, playing cards, Lego and every so often reading. With the recent push to get Erik and Ben reading and the start of my Usborne selling (and therefore buying), there has been an increased interest in books. But really, by the end of every day, I found myself wondering if they really would catch up. Or even start pursuing learning more as they got older. Or would it be like this every day? So two nights ago I had a sudden inspiration to ask them what they thought of a daily time at the table doing “schooly” things. It was a mixed response but we tried it out anyway. I have no desire to start traditionally homeschooling but I have toyed with the idea of enrolling Sam next year which would mean reporting to a teacher (and increased funding for him). A little bit of routine in this area would make it a lot easier to do that without stress.

Sometimes change is necessary and good. Sometimes it’s also hard. This change is likely going to be harder for me than my kids, though.

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Inspiration

All the meals

Babies,

Car rides,

Diapers.

Everything busy,

For so many years.

Going here and there,

Helping little people learn and be.

I am more than this

Just a mother, but

Kids are ever present

Love flowing from me, to them, from them, to me.

Mama.

 

Body

I have only one.

It’s all I’ll ever have.

Hard truth as it ages,

Changes,

Sometimes in ways I don’t care for.

 

It’s a mobile home, not me, but the vessel carrying who I am.

It both matters so much and matters so little what I do with it.

 

“Verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity.”

 

Truth. To abuse it does no good.

Wears on my mind,

Slows me down.

And so I will sweep up.

Wash the walls, take out the trash.

Put in a new light fixture or two.

And take better care of my mobile home,

As it’s the only one I’ll ever have.

 

 

 

On leaving the house..

Am I considered to be a hermit just because I don’t like going out with seven children in tow?

Or because I love my home and enjoy being here?

I also love people and welcome visitors so maybe that answers my question.

I’m not a hermit. I’m a wimp.

Anyway, homebody is a much kinder title.

Beginning

My seventh child

My sixth son

Smiles back at me from a few feet away

Not knowing who he is or who I am

Just smiling at a smiling face

Content in this moment because his belly is full

And he has had a good sleep

And someone is smiling at him.

He is young enough that soon his belly will need filling

And his eyes will droop again

And he will drift off for another nap.

But for now he is cheerful and friendly.

I have always wondered what babies think.

Before recognition and vocabulary.

Before understanding dawns and they are more than just babies.

What is it worth?

Somehow in the last few years, I’ve come to think of blogging and writing as things that are only worth something if they bring in money. I wrote for many many years without ever thinking this way but professional bloggers have influenced my thinking, mostly subconscious though it may be.

I recently started selling Usbourne books. I tell people left and right that it’s not about the money, that you won’t make a lot of money unless you build your network. That I am doing it to support my sister-in-law who is my sponsor, that I am doing it for discounted books. It’s not about the money, gosh darn it.

So if it’s not about the money and I don’t need the money, than what do I care about writing for money? Shouldn’t I just do it because it’s what I do?

This was seriously like an epiphany. OH! I can write just because. I can write without an audience and without anyone caring and without an income. I can write a book if I feel like it and who cares if it never gets published?

It’s worth my time and effort not because it pays me but because I need it. Because it is part of who I was created to be. I believe that. And if something I write blesses someone or provokes thought or, my personal favourite, makes someone laugh, all the better!

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish sometimes for my writing to somehow provide for us. It would be amazing if Mike could do something different or work less or just be home. But in the very likely event that it never pays a dime, I need to go on writing just because.

Blocked

Blinking little line:

Reminding me of what I was and have been

And what does not come as easily now.

Thoughts tumbling in silence

Forgotten when the blinking line sits before me.

Poetry and prose and whole stories

Lost.

Songs written and dreams discovered

Leave empty space behind and empty space is all I see now.

Lost.

Identity wrapped in small people and daily necessities

Gifts forgotten; unused.

Gathering dust in places I can’t even see.

Brief memories of desire

To create

To be

Something other than wrapped up in motherhood.

Motherhood is beautiful.

Messy,

Exhausting.

But not my identity.

Or is it now, because days and nights are filled with it?

The creation and care of these small people demands my attention.

But what will I be when they are no longer small?

Will I still have value?

Maybe that is the hardest part:

The knowledge that someday I will just be me again.

Undone and drained after years of what I wanted most:

To be a mother.

To be a wife.

To be wrapped up in it.

I wear it like a cloak

But those things I had before

Are still there

Somewhere.

Layers of myself

Beneath the mothering.

Writer, singer, creator.

Are still there, waiting to be uncovered.

That blinking line threatens me.

Says that when it is all uncovered again,

It will be a shadow of what it once was.

That I have buried my gifts in the ground

In hopes of keeping them safe

But have lost everything instead.