Sunday, October 24, 2010

Not so zen life

There are so many chunks to my life.  It's almost as if I've gone out of my way to make things as complicated as possible, but really, that wasn't my goal.  It just happened.  I started teaching for one school...then added another...and another.  I was up to 4, but have scaled back to just 3.  Oh yes, and teaching my 2 co-op classes.  And 2 days a week in the classroom. 

One runs 8-week classes, one runs 9-week, and the other 15 weeks.  It keeps my brain active, trying to keep it all straight.  But sometimes, especially when I'm not in the mood for active brainwork, it just feels like chaos.  Like I can't just get ahead of the messy pile of "stuff" on my list.

Tonight, I have to submit final grades for one section...grade homework for another...30 essays for another...and update the gradebook in another.  When really, I just want to blog and eat more cookies from the oven.   

Even at its baseline, when there's no external drama, life is messy.  I suppose that's okay.  Clearly I don't mind mess too much, or my van wouldn't look the way it does.

But sometimes, I just want to have a To Do list with only 2 things on it.  Instead of pages and pages of different categories of things to do, people to call, errands to run, papers to grade...

And that's not even the other parts of life.  That's just teaching.  The boys have their co-ops.  Thirteen different courses (with different instructors), helping Jack track homework and make sure we have all his supplies.  Service coordinator for MOPS.  My work with the Lost Boys. 

Sometimes, like my emotionally charged last week, I have these visions of a calm, serene, zen life.  As zen as life can be with 3 youngish, active children.

But the thing is, I don't want to give away even ONE of those chunks.  I've looked over the list, many times.  And every single one of those chunks is this perfect accessory to what I need and want in my life.  All of them are part of my tapestry of a really full, nourishing, stimulating life.

So then what? 

Maybe I just need to embrace the tough weeks...where there are not nearly enough hours in the day...and just see them as part of how my life works best.  When I scale back and try to go back to zen, we just fill it back up again.  The quiet, rare days at home?  They don't feel that zen, since all of us are just itching to get out and explore.

*Sigh*

While writing this post, 10 more Essay #3 submissions just "dinged" into my email.  It's a bit like the laundry.  Even as I fold and put away all the clothes, little persons are running around dirtying more.  Life marches on.  The inbox fills up.  The To Do list is growing. 

But blogging served its purpose, as I'm ready to go back and put those papers to bed.  And then put myself to bed.  Early morning tomorrow.  Picking up the suit for Deng...OCC presentation at MOPS...Hunt Club field trip...soccer for Andrew...meeting with Gretchen for Jack. 

Oh my.  I need to get to bed.

Snapshots of parenthood

In the messy madness of the days, there are moments that just melt me.  They catch me off-guard and give me a moment of wonder about how really spectacularly beautiful it is to mother little persons. 

Like Andrew, falling in love with the song Mr. Tambourine Man. Whenever we get in the car, he asks me to play it.  And his teeny-tiny angel voice singing along ("...hey Mr. Tambourine man, play a song for me...") is one of the most adorable things I've ever heard.

And Jack, when he overheard me tell Steve that Simone hadn't seen Wizard of Oz, so she probably doesn't understand the "Dorothy" dress I bought on clearance last year. A few minutes later, we found him in the back bedroom. He'd found the DVD collection, picked out the movie, loaded it, and was eager to present it to Simone. I love how he takes care of his little siblings.


Or Simone, planning her Princess Birthday Party, despite being almost a full year away from another birthday.  She invites people all the time and tells everyone how she's going to wear a "princess suit." Not "princess dress."  Casey joked that it's because she's used to her big brothers wearing superhero suits.  We even bought some princess paper plates at the dollar store.  I think I might run with Casey's suggestion to just have a random princess party for all the little 2-year-old girls, because there's no way she can wait until she's 3.

I wonder now how I didn't mind if I didn't have a daughter, back before she was born.  If I'd had 3 boys, I would have been just as ecstatic.  But seeing this new chapter of parenthood...filled with sparkle shoes and dolls and tutus and Princess parties...is pretty fun to watch.

Then again, all of it is pretty fun to watch.