Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Authentic Transition ... in all honesty

I haven't poured our experiences and my thoughts into this space for a while now.  I miss that, but distracted, I have struggled to find the frame of mind, instead preferring to loquaciously thrash out my various internal dilemmas in multiple journals and notebooks that are now strewn carelessly around the house.  Over the last five years I have come to expect Autumn to be a journey of reflection - looking inward, evaluating the year that has been, exorcising demons & conceiving new seedling ideas for that which lies ahead.  But this year it is a veritable maelstrom.

In March when I cut my dreadlocks of twelve years off a friend said I'd probably find this was a funny old year and she was right.  I knew I had set something in motion and in the months that followed I generated for myself more grounding and connection than I ever have except during both my pregnancies.  Silly me, I naively thought the year would continue with Zen like equanimity but a lot has been in flux recently and it feels like a massive test.  Job opportunities have been and gone bringing with them highs of hope and lows of frustration.  Gaia has started school and with that I have felt the need to dwell in non-time, to just sit as my world changes around me, listening to the waves of change crash and recede from my shore.  I assumed it would be spacious and deeply nourishing and wrote luxurious lists of things I would like to do, need to do, should do - yoga and running, crafting, writing, housework and preparing hot dinners ready for after school but in reality I am feeling like I have barely had time to breathe and half term now loiters only a few days away.  As if the universe is watching all of this, (which of course it is!) now that there is non-time to dwell in, it has abruptly forced deep soul searching upon me; longings and truths that all need exploring, acknowledging and honouring at long last.  The potential these considerations have to shake our lives up has had me running for the shelter of denial for so many years, facing them hurts, it is raw and real and quite frankly I feel more like cowardly lion than warrior woman.

The reassuring thing is I am preemptively curious as to how I am going to deal with each new challenge, I ask 'what am I going to learn from that or from this person' and for the first time in my life I am utterly conscious and surrendered to the fact that I am the only one who can make my decisions for me.  It doesn't matter how many friends I speak to or what advice I seek it is still me who makes the call and it's on my head if it all turns to shit.  'The answers are within ... I promise you' - words from another wise friend.

Now I would just like the cerebral space to simply lavish both children (and myself from time to time) with my undivided attention.

Gaia is desperately tired from her first half term at school which manifests in a massive attitude and lots of inexplicable tears.  But simultaneously she is thriving with the stimulation that school brings.  Reading and writing interest her where Zander still isn't all that bothered.  She brings home 3 or 4 books a day to read and it is quite astonishing to find myself sitting next to my youngest listening to her bring words to life off the page.  She takes so much pride in reaching the milestones she watched her brother reach before her.  Harvest assembly was adorable and the lunch with parents a key part of her initiation.  Each day she tells me how she saw Zander in the playground and gave him a big cuddle and a kiss and this just makes my heart soar.  I'm finding joy in simple things like the packed lunches I make for them, making simple evening meals so that we three can all snuggle up on the sofa, watch a movie together and reconnect.  

My new battle with Zander, and the school, is homework.  Honestly he has zero interest in it what so ever, he is too busy a bee.  The playroom turns into a battle ground if I try and insist he does it.  I am prepared to come under the scrutiny of school if necessary but I have decided he is too young for enforced homework and that if he doesn't want to do it I will not insist on it.  I have encouraged him to take an interest but beyond that I am not willing to bring in another source of stress for us all.  He has started to become interested in History after learning about the Crimean War and Florence Nightingale and was bitterly disappointed to realise that the weekend at home with us meant no lunch-times with class mates in which to re-enact scenes from said war.  His art at home has been all muskets and soldiers and he wrote me a gorgeous fact sheet on Florence Nightingale off his own back.
He is finally branching out & making new friends at school.  I am relieved as he has only really had one main friend the last two years and no desire to change that set up.  I think he has been socially shy and lacked confidence in himself.  I have spoken with him about how it would be to play with others, mix it up some - we all as mama's want our kids to find it easy to make friends, to have confidence in new groups of people and not to become too attached to any one in particular so he and I are both relishing his new found confidence.

 And so the wheel turns.  The winds change.  As does the season.  As do We.  Regardless of the challenges, life is rich and roots that can anchor me run deep.

always with love X


  1. Beautifully written post. You have put into words what so many of us feel. I have had school aged kids for thirteen years now and still struggle with the challenges it brings! When my youngest (now 8) started school I also had a list of things to do (yoga, writing, baking, sewing etc) but none of it happens all that often! I seem to be forever in a state of 'waiting for things to settle' before being knocked out of kilter by a school holiday again before I've had a chance to adjust to them being back after the last one.

    On the subject of homework. I have had many battles with teachers on this over the years. I do not believe that homework is necessary or even helpful in primary school. Perhaps a little bit later on in key stage two in preparation for secondary school is helpful in teaching them to manage their own study time etc, but on the whole homework for little ones is just plain unfair. There are enough influences in this fast moving world forcing kids to grow up too quickly without robbing them of their play years with after school work. My approach to homework for Rose (other 3 are in secondary now) is that if she doesn't want to do it I don't force her. She has recently moved schools and I don't know if it's the change or simply a natural progression but she has started to do her homework unprompted and with quite a bit of enthusiasm. She works much better when not forced or pressured to do so and I generally found this with the others too.

    Natalie x

    1. thank you for your homework stance Natalie, I think in the last year of primary it is a good preparation but I have fought my last battle over it this week for sure. It was an art piece he had to do (and the kids are both fond of art and craft) and he didn't even want to do that because there were other things he was trying to real-ise in his downtime at home. They spend so much time in school I'm not going to let it spoil the time we have at home. The day he turns round and asks to do it or shows and interest is the day I will embrace it. Each child is so very different so I realise things maybe different for Gaia when she gets to year 2 .... of course I shall honour her interests too ;)
      Much love X