Friday, April 8, 2016

White space

So much is happening, sometimes it feels like too much to process. It's Friday, and I am so glad. Even though weekends are crazy, and even though JT was supposed to get the weekends off this month and now he doesn't.
There are less pickups and drop offs and errands on the weekend. There is no homework drama, and less social issues.
We'll have a tball game.

We'll go to the beach.

We'll spend a lot of time at home playing Legos, I'm sure.
The past couple of weeks have been crazy, Spring always seems to be.
We have stayed mostly healthy which has been nice, it's been a healthier year other than Greystoke's ears, which have now cleared up at last, and he is sleeping much better. I am actually getting enough rest to wake up earlier on my days off.
But there are field trips and endless forms to fill out and the summer to plan.
I was so excited about Aquaman's field trip to the zoo last week but it did not go well.

He has been having a lot of trouble again, and that is exhausting. He is emotional about everything. Everything is too much. There are conflicts in the cafeteria. He feels bullied by normal little boy behavior. Anger is his first response to everything. The nightmares are back. The lying in bed imagining faces staring at him.

He sees the speck in the eyes of everyone around him, and while sometimes it feels like he is oblivious to the log in his own, I think it is actually just that it cripples him too much to look at it. He feels helpless against it. He feels helpless in general I think.

There were fights at the zoo. Aggressive behavior that he has never resorted to until this year.

I caught him in a wild flurry earlier this week and hugged him and told him that I knew this isn't who he is, he just feels hurt and scared, and when I said that the dam broke, and he cried for a long time.

He reminds me of a wild animal that has been backed into a corner. Too scared to do anything but attack.

After the field trip when I talked to him about it he said "that's because all I really want to do is run away with my hands over my ears and close my eyes, but they follow me then, and they laugh at me.

He is going back next week to talk to Mr. N, his counselor, about all of this, because I know he needs tools to help him cope, and I don't know what they are.

I am worried about school, and we are going on a tour of a Montessori charter school next week, and I really think Montessori would be a great fit for him, but it's too far away. And it's still a public school. And sometimes it just seems like he's too square and all these holes are too round, and part of him is going to get chopped off, and some people might be ok with that, but I don't know if I can be. I like who he is. He needs refining, to be sure, the corners need some softening, but to have his whole shape changed? I don't want that to happen.
I love our little school. We went to kindergarten orientation this morning, and I was reminded of that. His first two years went so well.
I love that 90% of the people who go to it live within walking distance. I love that it feels like a family. I love Aquaman's Tk1 teacher, who always stops to hug him and call him brilliant, and spoke of his quirks with a respectful smile.
I am not against public school. But Aquaman has special needs without a label, and that makes public education hard. Some kids always bob to the top. Some kids just seem to know what to do. But some kids need extra gentle guidance, and this year he hasn't gotten it. And while I know he will learn from it, I wonder sometimes WHAT he will learn from it. This year he has learned intolerance from an intolerant teacher. He learned violence from aggressive schoolmates.
I would like to think he has also learned some resiliance, but he seems instead to have become more sensitive and not less. I know that God can and will turn all things into good, but I also know it is a parent's job to protect and provide for their children. Not the government's.

So, for now, I pretty much have no idea what to do except to keep going. To keep hugging him and accepting him and guiding him and teaching him and trying to help him feel safe. I know that worry accomplishes nothing, so I push forward with optimism, because one year won't define him, and maybe next year will be better.

So much is happening and changing. Greystoke will be 2 in just a few short weeks. We'll be night weaning then, which brings up the old new dilemma of family planning.

I'm ready to close the babyhood chapter.

I realized it when one of my friends told me she was pregnant again. I felt so happy for her and just a little bit sad for me because I know we can't handle any more. I wish I could have more and more little people to call my own, but I am so so thankful for our three wonderful boys, and I want to give them what they need, and I don't feel like we could with one more.

I felt sad for about a day, and then a couple days later I took Greystoke and The Dude to the zoo and I saw all the moms there with their babies in front packs and their toddlers, and their endless conversations about sleep schedules, and I realized that those days are over for me. Even if we had another one, those days are over because my other kids are bigger and by now our schedules revolve around school and homework and activities and errands and babies and toddlers are just along for the ride. There aren't the same amount of endless hours for hanging out at the zoo talking about sleep schedules.

And while I enjoyed those days while I was in them, they were hard days too. Uncertain and self-conscious. And even though I am certainly uncertain and self-conscious now about my big boy and his big emotions, it's a different kind of uncertain.
So, though a part of me wants more and more babies, it's the same part of me that wants to home school, and be a stay at home mother. It's the idealist side of me that wants what I perceive to be the perfect setup, and that doesn't exist in this world. In this world, things are messy, and we have to say no to some things in order to benefit other things. And while love sometimes wants more and more and better and better, love has to draw a line somewhere, and we seem to have reached it.

I've been thinking about working more.

And 3 years ago that totally freaked me out, but now I feel ok about it.
We need JT to be home more. The boys need their dad.
So basically how I have left it is, if the perfect thing opens up, only during school hours, that can be started in the fall, then I will enroll Greystoke in preschool this year. He still feel a little young to me, but I love FBI's preschool people so much that I know he would be fine. But I am letting God put it right in my lap, and I am not going to stress about it. If I get another year mostly at home with my little one then that will be just fine with me.

So that's where I am today.

With weaning and saying goodbye and school questions and parenting uncertainty and identity crises.

But I'm doing fine, because I read about something in a Lysa Terkeurst book the other day, something called white space.

It's something I already knew about, because I'm an artist inside, really, even though I can't make a craft or paint a picture to save my life.

When a piece of art is judged as truly being art, the critics look for something called white space, which is just what it sounds like. Blank spaces, white still left on the canvas. Room.

Lack of white space is a sign of commercialism, a sign of advertisements. The busyness of it steals something from a piece and cheapens it.

White space is feeling the breeze off the canal while your two littlest boys put their toes in the water. It's standing still to watch the fish jump. It's a gift to myself, and it's a gift I have chosen and will continue to choose for my children.

We can't be beautiful if we don't stop to see the beauty. If we're just running around from one destination to the next with our to do lists, then the ways of this world win.

God has made me in such a way that I can't let that happen without getting pretty depressed. I am willing to bet we were all made that way.

So as hard as I am seeking after following God in the choices I make, in the work that I do, and in the way that I love my children and my husband, I am keeping white space close to my heart.

We are God's masterpieces, God's amazing works of art.

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