School started for my son on August 25th and for my daughter on September 2nd. It is has taken me a month to acclimate to all of it. It was a month of transition. My son is involved in a new sport. My daughter finished up the dinner theater run on September 13th. (I am not going to tell you how many miles I put on my car.) Her new school started in a staggered start, first with the cyber portion and then gradually with the performing arts sector. As of last week, the list of needed school supplies was still trickling in. I think we got it all covered from notebooks, to sketchbooks, to sports clothes, to dance tights and shoes.
It was a new experience for me to be my daughter's home facilitator. I am not homeschooling. She has teachers. But the first weeks of her school were spent learning the technology of such an educational environment. We had to learn to record her voice for her French class. She needed to take screen shots, scan drawings, and learn PowerPoint. She needed to figure out how to link up to attend scheduled chats and how to upload her picture so she could be represented visually by something other than a smiley face. Sending emails, IM's--all new to her. That was just her technical education. She (and I, too) are learning to use our time effectively. In a cyber school, she doesn't get a break to move around. She is sitting before a computer most of the day. That gets hard for a girl who has some attention issues. (Did I mention that she, at least in part, gets that from her mother?) Just this past week, she has begun to work more independently, freeing me up to get some of my work done. Still, I am looking over her shoulder, answering my facilitator mail, and fixing lunches and snacks.
I don't begrudge this work. She is getting a top notch arts education two days a week at the performing arts school. I know that she really must want this, because the nature of the cyber school is such that it takes the remaining five days for her to get it all done. No days off. Part of my personal code is to promote arts education and to encourage women and children to use art to express themselves in ways that empower them to live more fully. Even if I am not getting my own artwork done as much as I would like, I feel as though I am moving forward on my life's agenda.
I don't think I am a particularly selfless mother. In some ways I think I am downright unsuited for the task. I am undisciplined, unkempt, and unorganized. (Did I mention that during this month of adjustment I took my son to the wrong orthodontist office, my daughter to the wrong birthday party and managed to forget my purse when going school shopping?) I am also unwilling to give up my own agenda. (I do modify my course of action, but never surrender entirely.)
Still, I am learning to surrender to the way life is for me at this point in my journey. I won't always have the kids at home. My son had a birthday last week. In two years he will be driving. In the next presidential election, he will be voting. So, I am learning to let go of expectation. Perhaps I won't be able to take the art world and literary world by storm. (The fact that I am trying to tackle both at the same time should be grounds for a) divorce b) commitment into a mental facility or c) a sitcom starring Tina Fey. So, I am taking things slowly. Next week I will attempt to write, paint, and exercise. I don't remember the last time I have written, painted and exercised in the same week. I also am going to go to my son's sporting event, be my daughter's facilitator, take on the hosting responsibilities for a Lancaster Literary Guild event, teach a class, meet with my art coach, and help with classic film/dinner night at my daughter's school. And yet I feel calm and positive about the week ahead. In comparison to weeks past, I am optimistic that I will find some equilibrium.