~a little glimpse~

SONY DSC~we woke up to being in the clouds~
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This is not our new house. It’s my mom’s new space. This past week we were helping her and my brother work on finishing tasks as well as moving some of her big items, making the whole process much more real for all involved. It’s a gorgeous space, perfect for her!
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A big part of this task was also helping sort through her basement, with lots of our stuff down there. Here are some of the types of things I found: an entire bag full of little love notes from me to my mom, with early, invented spelling; art work from three years of art school; a Mon Chi Chi wearing a tiny little Brownie uniform; an original Cabbage Patch Kid (handmade, not plastic); a baby dress I once wore; lots of mouse poop and chewed up insulation; report cards; papers with comments and grades from teachers; letters from my Swedish penpal, Kristina; maps and guidebooks from my travel in early 20s; a postcard written in Russian, which I once knew how to read; postcards that used to be on my wall in middle school; real film photographs, with negatives; awards from camp; math word problems about Vikings from 4th grade…
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~one of my three technical drawings from Drawing II~

There was a metric BOATLOAD of paper associated with my growing up and teenage years. BOXES (really!) of notes written during class, surveys written for and answered by friends, a whole series of notes written during the Latin Certamen competition between six people, co-written stories set in various time periods that filled notebooks (notebooks!), letters between me and my bestie from high school (during the summers and after high school). There is no digital record of any of this. Hours and hours of longhand writing.

One of my favorite notebooks had this painful Latin translation which I am fairly certain could be retranslated quite easily because of how close it sounds to the original Latin:

Judging this location not at all suitable for disembarking, he waited while thither the remaining ships were being brought together for the hour at anchor. 

Meanwhile, the legions of military tribunes were called together and he had known both from which came Volusenus, both from which he was willing to make shown.

In addition to the Latin translation, dated 3/16 (year unspecified), there were some notes about Harry Truman and WWII, my geometry homework (unfinished), my bestie’s geometry homework (different assignment, also unfinished), a section of one of our co-written stories, and a note contributed by us both about our upcoming weekend plans. I kept flipping through,
imagining I would find some rhyme or reason, some organizational schema. Nope. Just random.

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~hello 4361: our new house!~

I got OK grades and was a pretty good student, excellent at playing the school game. But imagine if I had actually had school as my primary focus?! Staggering! A lot of it was painful to read, mostly because it was looking back at a time of insecurity and extreme awkwardness. Most of it got ditched into the recycling pile and a few select items were burned ceremonially. It made me think about my students. Newsflash: high school is not their (or any teenager’s) primary focus!

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~front door: you are standing in our kitchen looking into our mudroom~

I feel sad for these young whippersnappers that they do not have any sort of physical record they will ever sift through. They won’t encounter these painful, previous, unformed versions of themselves. Scrolling through texts from 25 years ago would be arduous to say the least, if the text platforms we are using today will even last into the future that far. Doubtful. So there they will be some day in the future, just the already-polished versions of their adult selves. Boooooooring.

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We got to meet our house yesterday. WE GOT TO MEET OUR HOUSE YESTERDAY!

I was trying to think of an analogy, suitable for the occasion. Kind of like seeing a first picture of your baby on an ultrasound maybe? But not quite because we were actually able to stand INSIDE of the parts of it! A visit with the dog you will adopt? I mean, we conceived of this house, thought so much about how we use our space, what we want from this house, the feeling we wanted to have inside of the house, we tried lots of things and came up with the design (Jake, mostly), and yesterday we visited the factory at Epoch Homes and got to meet #4361, its factory name.

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~looking into our “away” room, right off the kitchen/entry~

We toured the factory with Jordan, who was awesome. I spotted our house on the factory floor first! There were all of these stations and we could stand inside of our downstairs (in two parts) and feel the space for the first time. Amazing! And in a few short weeks, #4361 will be here in its new, forever home in Hope.

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~looking into the “away” room from the outside~

You may notice the trim has the same rounded corners as my mom’s new house. Kind of a family tradition. 🙂

Do you like Jonas’s look?

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~not doing everything~

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It’s true we are doing a lot right now (BUILDING A HOUSE). It’s true that I sometimes freak out and am overwhelmed easily. I don’t feel like we are chronically over scheduled like some families, but there are four people here with interests and needs to be honored and pursued.

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SONY DSC~yes, media consumption happens more now~

I keep trying to do the math, like figure out the big equation with all of the variables to see what could be subtracted:

  • One husband, works full-time, managing tons of house-related details as GC for the site work phase. Takes one class (algebra II) one evening per week. Likes to take bike rides when he can and do martial arts (once per week). Deals with the garbage/dump and bills. Shares cooking, shopping, etc. Likes being social.
  • One wife, works full-time, easily overwhelmed. Takes either a yoga class or an exercise class per week. Gets up at 5:10 to do pilates exercises at home. Family scheduler, manager of home details. Shares meal planning, preparation. Throws away tired out bouquets. Makes lunches. Good thing her friends understand that she is no good on Friday nights and don’t take it personally that she has little time for socializing in person.
  • One older son, blessedly self-motivated in school, likes to play video games in his spare time, socializes with friends, sometimes contradances under duress. Likes to discuss big ideas of history and government, ethics, ideas for papers, brainstorming search terms. Sometimes paints with watercolors in his spare time.
  • One younger son, sporty and active and in need of daily exercise. Plays one sport per season (baseball now). Needs help and support with homework nightly. Is an excellent writer and speller. Would prefer to have constant attention from father and would probably really have been happy to live in a neighborhood of playmates. Practices violin under duress.

But there really isn’t a lot to be shaved out of this equation when I consider the variables.

Most weeks I barely make it through Friday by holding on with my fingernails to my little scrap of sanity.

SONY DSCI have a lot of stress related to leaving the house in the mornings, particularly when we have to bring Sylvan to the sweet people who bring him to school 3 days a week, since we have to be at school and our day starts before you can even drop a child off at Sylvan’s school. Some days we leave the house before Sylvan when he gets a ride from a passing carpool.
SONY DSCAnd I actually got a little angry this week at Sylvan’s school. Like, is Waldorf education actually meant for two parents who work full-time jobs and have no nanny or grandparent or doula to help with the other necessary details of life? (And my god, we are two teachers—on a similar daily schedule with Sylvan, it’s not like we work until 5 or 6!) I have a lot of guilt for not being able to be a participant in the life of the school like I used to.

And so, racing home one afternoon, I needed to pick up white eggs for a Pysanky egg-dyeing field trip, and Sylvan was getting over a cold, and I took a stupid chance that Rite Aid would have white eggs (you know, Easter, seasonal eggs???), and then there were no white eggs at Rite Aid. And no way was I returning to the madness of the grocery store at peak shopping hours (THE ONLY CHANCE I EVER GET TO SHOP NOW THAT I WORK FULL TIME), between 3-6. So I bought a crappy candy bar and ate it, didn’t even really enjoy it, just ate it out of stress and pure frustration. 
SONY DSCAnd there was also a parent meeting for Sylvan’s class that night. (Also, did I have to blow out the eggs, once procured?) And make dinner? And be nice to my family, maybe even fun?! Isn’t it enough that we make healthy family meals during which we converse about interesting topics? And that one parent is there to oversee S. doing homework every night? Harangue said child to practice his instrument with some regularity? And even sometimes get to read together and cuddle and joke? Jake literally got home from banging the 300 iron spikes off of our foundation with Jonas, had a brief dinner and turned around to get the white eggs and make an appearance at the meeting. He has such a greater sense of the possible than I do.

Is this our life now? Feeling guilty and bad about what I can’t give to our kids? I want to remember that I only have a few more years with them and get myself back into perspective. But I think it comes down to this: I will always choose family time over a meeting, having a relaxed meal together rather than a hurried one, to choose to do less so I can be with these sweet people more. Particularly now that I work outside the home.