Saturday, October 24, 2015

Me & My Boy

I'm still here. Busy. Mildly overwhelmed. Ready for a few precious hours to myself, but I'm here.

Faire ended last weekend. This week has been filled with illness, recovery, a parent-teacher conference, kids off of school, a book club meeting turned playdate, taking care of friends, and just generally trying to keep us all afloat.

But that is the story of stress. And while stress has comprised the majority of my week, that's not what I want to focus on tonight. Tonight, I want to remember a few shining hours of perfection.

Thursday, Miles was out of school for parent-teacher conferences, but Sam still had Parent's Day Out. We took Sam to 'school', went to Miles' conference (he's doing great!), and then, Miles and I had four hours of time alone together.

Not long ago, this was our normal. He was my constant companion, in everything I did. But since Sam was born, it's rare for us to get more than an hour alone together. And I realized Thursday how much I miss that time alone with him.

Because of the crazy of the week, I hadn't had time to go out to Festival site and clean out my shop, so we started with that. I was worried that the task would cut into our time together, but I had forgotten that really, the Festival is our place - Miles' and mine. He has grown up there, and he knows the site as well as any veteran performer.  And why wouldn't he? It's been home to him since before he was born. I walked those lanes only days before his birth, and carried him out there before he was a month old.  It is the place where he is comfortable, and confident. The place where he is most fully the little boy I've always known.

When we arrived that morning, I expected him to run off to play in the areas around the shop, taking full advantage of his freedom to roam unencumbered by patrons and responsibilities. Instead, he asked, "Can I help? What can I do?"

So, I set him to work putting things into boxes. I climbed the stepladder to get things down, and he put it carefully away. When everything was stored, he helped carry it all to the car, and he helped do the final sweep of the area, his eyes noting details I might have missed.  When we were certain the shop was fully ready for the off-season, he asked, "What next?" Ready for his next task, though I had none to give. I looked at the clock. I had expected the clean up to take an hour or two.  With his help, it had taken only twenty minutes.

I hugged him, and thanked him for helping me get done so quickly, and I asked him if there was anything he wanted to do before we left. Grinning from ear to ear, he responded exactly as I expected, "Can we go to the Children's Realm?"

It was an easy request to fulfill, and so we slowly made our way that direction. As we started up the hill, I was surprised again when his little hand (though not so little as it once was) slid into mine and held on the entire way.

It was a glimpse back in time, watching him scale the pirate ship, and run the familiar paths.  It was so familiar, in fact, that the changes were all the more glaringly obvious.

Where once his head barely peeked over a structure, he now stood head-and-shoulders above it.

Where once he had taken a dozen steps up a ramp, he now took three long strides.

Where once his legs had been short, but fast, they were now long, and gangly, and even faster.

All too soon, the moment was over, and it was time to head for lunch. I let him choose, and over a chicken sandwich (me) and a hamburger (him), we had a conversation that I longed for so much in those former days. We talked of our favorite things, and of school, and Festival, and friends, and family. His speech was clear, and he was able to carry a flowing conversation in a way I hadn't realized he could.  We talked for so long, both of us unwilling to break the moment. And when we finally had to go, we continued to chat the entire ride home.

Along the way, we learned things about each other. I learned that his favorite superhero is now the Green Lantern - an opinion I never would have guessed.  And he learned that my favorite game was called Clue, and that we actually had the game at home.

Obviously, we played it when we got here.

Eventually, it was time to pick up Sam, and while we were both a little sad that our day was over, we were both happy for what we had. And we were both thrilled to hug Samantha as she came running to see us.

October 21, 2012 - Age 3
Photo Credit: Juliann Courtney Photography

October 22, 2015 - Age 6
Photo Credit: Me with a phone :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

To do...

I have come to the conclusion that I have too many "projects".

My current list of projects includes:

  • Figuring out cold-weather gear for the last weekend of the Festival
  • Making Jasper a few more dog ropes.
  • Re-opening my Etsy shop, with a variety of different things I've made.
  • Purging kids' clothes and toys that are no longer needed.
  • Organizing the massive amounts of crap in my house (especially the paperwork!).
  • Writing a story that's been bouncing around in my head for ages.
  • Continuing my "Tell Me Your Story" project that I started last year.
  • Planning things for next year's Festival (yes, I've already started...)
And that's not an exhaustive list, by any means.

And because there are so many, many projects to work on, whenever I have a spare moment, I sit down to decide what to do...and get crippled by indecision.

And so, I do nothing productive at all, and my list continues to grow.

To be fair to myself, I have made progress on all of those things in the past few weeks, but I really need to learn to focus on one thing, finish it, and then move on to the next.  Unfortunately, that is a skill that continues to evade me...


Monday, October 5, 2015


I'm feeling contemplative of late.

Perhaps it's the fall weather, encouraging introspection and turning in as the year winds its way down.  From here, it's the whirlwind slide through the holidays into winter and the new year. The days are growing shorter, and I am soaking in the sun's warmth before it disappears for the few months that somehow last longer than the rest of the year combined. Already, I spend my days in long sleeves and cardigans, and my nights snuggled under a pile of blankets.

Though this mood cannot entirely be explained away by the weather.

Perhaps it's me coming to grips with having a 6-year-old, a little boy, now, in elementary school. The thought struck me today that his next birthday is 7. The year I was 7 was a major turning point in my life, and many of the events that happened that year shaped the fears and anxieties that I still fight.  The idea that Miles is approaching that age gives me pause.

But that's just another piece of the puzzle.

Perhaps, it's the health scare my newborn niece had this past weekend. It is not my place to share her story publicly, but for a couple of days there, all of us were worried about what her future might hold. In the past day and a half, there have been some answers, and she has made some wonderful progress. In time, she will probably be entirely fine. But the raw fear that struck my heart on Friday is not something that will soon be forgotten. I came home from visiting her last night, seeing that she was indeed feeling better, and snuggled Sam until long after I should have left her to fall asleep.

And that was a major factor, but it's not everything.

More than anything, I think I'm realizing that once more, I am in a transitional phase of my life.  The baby years are over in this house. My anxiety is finally (more or less) under control.  My evening plans are dictated by bedtimes, and my alarm clock by the school drop-off line.  I have more freedom than I once did, as a mother, now that Sam is in Kids' Day Out twice a week. And really, even when she's home, she is often content to play alone.  My time is not my own, and yet, I seem to have a lot of it to fill some days.

A part of me yearns for the day that I can go back to work, doing something outside the house that is both fulfilling and helps pay the bills. The other part of me is clinging to what I have, with both children is such fun stages of their lives. I love volunteering with Miles' school, but I worry about overextending myself, and letting people down. I have hobbies I want to pursue, but there are so many of them that I get frozen in indecision and play games on my phone instead.

I am realizing that the process of finding oneself is never over. It is a continuous journey that will probably end only when I am done changing. And if I've learned anything in this life, it is that I am ever-changing.

And that requires contemplation from time to time.