It is now our third week into school and fall activities. It's even officially fall! The leaves are changing color, and the weather is cooler, reminding me that shortly my time to get out the door will double, even triple, as we scramble to grab boots and winter outdoor clothes. Oh the joys of Canadian living. There are lots of perks, but the weather isn't necessarily one of them.
I have been reminded, this month, of why I so much love living in a large city. I am very very much NOT a country girl. The sounds of traffic from the not-so-distant expressway are the white noise I need to sleep. The nosy next door neighbours are a great source of entertainment, and a recent discussion with one showed me how thankful I am to have someone to help in case of a last minute appointment, opportunity or emergency.
My exhusband and I have seemed to come to a detente of sorts. We've even been able to collaborate on events for the kids, and he was respectful and polite. I have no desire to explore a .. more intimate relationship with him, but I'm thankful that our divorce seems to have made him change some attitudes and behaviours. Of course, I'm not foolish. This could always be a short term change, in some greater game he's playing. It's only been 6 months or so. I will be watching, but if this is for real.. maybe we can someday be actual friends and coparents.
This year I am educating all five of my children. My 11 year old (almost 12!!) is in 7th grade, my 7 year old is in a modified early elementary program, my 5 year old is 1st grade, my 4 year old is doing kindergarten, and my 2.5 yr old is beginning preschool. I am, as always, amazed and incredibly proud of how well my girls do, and sometimes I even keep it all straight!
Our days and weeks are falling into a rhythm. I love this part. When we're out of crisis mode, when we have survived a transition, when we are settled and at peace, we naturally fall into a rhythm, a routine. I am even waking before the kids now! (To anyone who knows me, this is a sort of miracle, lol!) We wake, we have breakfast and cuddles and get dressed, not in any particular order. Then we clean up and do chores - even the preschooler. I have a card system that is working beautifully to coordinate everyone and make the chores simple and fun. After we're done cleaning up, we start school. I try to make it so that only one child needs my attention at a time, but sometimes someone ends up waiti
ng. It's good character training time.
For my little ones, school is only until noon. After lunch, my littles will often nap, and the ones that aren't will be downstairs in their playroom, so that I can work, or work with my older daughter. Or sometimes, maybe even nap myself.
On Mondays, we are a bit different. My littles don't do as many chores, but instead work on their language arts and math early. At noon, we head out the door to my oldest's horseback riding lesson. I was so excited to be able to find.. and afford.. a short 1 hour weekly lesson for her. She's thrilled. In the evening, my 3 middle girls have beginning judo at our local community centre. Then we rush off across the city so my special needs girl can have a class just for her, to help her work on her social skills and her gross motor skills.
Wednesdays is our busiest day. Currently my littles and I do a playgroup in the morning, giving my oldest some much needed time and space to work on projects at home. Then we come home for a quick lunch and we're off again, this time to a class on butterflies for my 4 and 5 yr old, while my 7 yr old and I hang out, and my 2 yr old is at home napping, with my oldest supervising. We're home and we finish up any school stuff or chores before supper. When this class on butterflies ends in 3 weeks, we'll be starting swimming lessons at pretty much the same time, for everyone.
We've also managed to find a church, one that I think will become our church home. Not only has everyone been extremely accepting of us as a family, despite the stigma of single parenthood, divorce and family violence, but there are other homeschoolers as well! The teaching is not just the feel-good-look-good kind, but the kind that makes you want to go home and learn more for yourself. And the music is a great mix of old and new, tho slightly too loud for my special needs kid.. Oh well, headphones work!
As busy as we are as a family, there's also a sense of calmness, of security around it all. The rhythms we're developing, the routines that are falling into place, the very busy-ness of it all is the business of a happy, healthy, active family, that is connecting and growing and thriving. I'm very pleased and grateful at the peace of it all. My children are happy. I'm happier than I have been in years. It's awesome.