Thursday, September 08, 2011

Adjustment Period

Today everyone is officially in school and we can begin feeling out what our routine is going to wind up looking like.  I am embracing this.  It's nerve-wracking and it's a big adjustment, but I'm embracing it.

The big life changes have caused Levi to test out the waters of potty-training regression.  This is a bad thing because they are supposed to be entirely independent and totally potty trained at his school.  I'm hoping that seeing the other kids go potty will encourage him to go back to progression rather than regressing further.  He actually peed on my husband last night.  They were playing/wrestling and his sweet little innocent voice piped up, "It's OK, Daddy. You like water on your back, right?"  My husband can really move fast with the right motivation.  It may make me a terrible wife to have done so, but I giggled.  I tried not to, but it was a pretty funny set up.  And after all, he still teases me about the time he picked up our overly-excited dog and she peed several feet into the air, the stream of excited-puppy-urine ending exactly at my head.  I think that turnabout is, after all, fair play.

Lexi's transition into the fall routine and back into our house (she spends the majority of the summer with her biological father) has been more extreme at times than it usually is, but the moments are far shorter lived than they have been in the past.  Over all, it's been a different transition than before- in a positive way.  She had trouble with bullies and mean girls last year at school and being in a totally new school environment this year is already doing good things for her.

Gloria is, I think, glad that summer is over and happy to be back in school.  She seemed to be growing bored and weary of the seemingly endless summer vacation.  I really did do as much as possible with them to keep them busy, but she's almost entirely impossible to keep busy.  Seriously.  We went to museums and playgrounds and the zoo and day camps and "Grammy Camp" and we painted, rode bikes, went for walks, swam, did crafts, and on and on and on.  The kid finds it physically impossible to just rest and hang out.  I tend to be a "go, go, go" kind of person too, but good grief.

As for me. . . this is all pretty weird.  I am not ashamed to say I suck at the stay-at-home-mom gig.  More power to all the moms who love being at home and homeschooling their kids and keeping neat, clean houses. I really give you props and think you're awesome.  I've also discovered that I suck at all that.  I wasn't a stay at home mom for long before I discovered it was not my bag.  God did not design me for that job.  To be a mom?  Absolutely.  To be a stay at home mom forever?  No way, Jose.  I love my kids and staying home when they were babies was totally the right thing to do and I am glad I did.  But I'm also glad that they are all potty trained (mostly) and in preschool and school.  They (and probably I) will wind up being much happier, healthier, better rounded people in the long run for not having to put up with me all day long.

My years as a SAHM proved good, overall.  They were hard.  Very, very hard.  Those years forced me to do much soul-searching and growing in my relationship with God.  It was the first period of my life where I actually took the time to do the whole, "Who am I?" exploration.  They were an important, introspective 5.5 years where I got to know myself well in my own head.

Now, here I am having to figure out how that translates to regular adult interaction and community.  All of the sudden, I'm not just hanging out with little kids and talking to other moms about bathroom habits and sleep patterns.  No offense, other moms, I still love you and will happily talk to you about those things, should the occasion arise.  All of the sudden, I have to figure out how I, as this new stronger person I've discovered I am, relate to the "real world" around me.  (I quote "real world," lest someone get offended and think I'm saying SAHM's aren't in the real world.  That's not what I'm saying.)  All of the sudden, I'm not just the "gopher" who gets what the people of the house need.  They can get their own snacks and toys and cat food. OK, I still have to feed the cats.  That would be a cool trick to teach them though, wouldn't it?  As of this week, I'm a respected adult who has important opinions and the ability to learn another language in 30 weeks.

It's all very disorienting.  It's not reading The Life of St. Antony that I find overwhelming right now.  (In fact, I read that for "fun" over the summer.)  It's not learning the Hebrew alphabet I find daunting. (Language #4?  Bring it.)  I'll figure out where the student lounges are and I'll learn the stacks of the library in no time.  What I'm finding difficult to adjust to is being an adult again in this new skin of mine that's developed over the past few years as I've been relatively hidden away from the world of grown-ups.

I'm also pretty self-conscious about this change.  I know there are people who find it appalling that my children are in public school.  There are people who think 3 year olds don't need pre-school and I should have put off my schooling until he was at least old enough for kindergarten.  There are plenty of people who think a woman going to seminary and becoming an ordained minister is just plain against the Bible.  There are those who think I'm too headstrong and should "submit" more to my husband.  I've been really worried for months about what all those people think about our choices.  I know that when it comes down to it, their opinion doesn't matter if I know I'm doing what God has said is right for me and is best for His Kingdom (which includes, for the record, each of my children and my husband).  God didn't call us all to live the exact same life.  It's been freeing in a weird "oh crap, where did the fence go?" way to find myself in a community where these choices we've felt God telling us to make as a family are not unusual.

I sort of wish this transition had come with training wheels, because I'm feeling sort of wobbly right now.  I'm not feeling shy or self-conscious, oddly enough.  You'd think that would be a big problem for me at a crucial page turning like this, but it hasn't been.  Everything feels too right to second guess it all.  It's all just a bit surreal, I suppose.

Speaking of my fourth language "bringing it," I have to go write the Hebrew alphabet about 439 more times and recite it at least as many.   Then I have about 53 books to read.  Some are even required readings.

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