Friday, October 28, 2011

Mission Simplify. Or: I'm getting really crabby about driving so much.

I had a dream the other night that I needed to get the kids somewhere, and had planned to ride my bike. I came out to find the chain had fallen off, and I was frustrated I was going to have to walk the kids 20 miles to their activity.  I was packing my bag for our 20-mile walk, and then a neighbor said: "Why don't you just drive them in the car?"  I looked over and saw there was a car sitting right there, and I hadn't even noticed.

Much better to drive 20 miles with 3 kids than to walk it.

I woke up from the dream, and decided almost immediately that my sub-conscious was telling me we've been making things too complicated, more work than they need to be.

Whether that's the dream's point or not, I ran with it.  Agreed with my sub-conscious, and re-doubled my efforts on Mission Simplify.  

We're moving to Richmond in mid-December.  This is a completely blank slate for us.  A chance to create our logistics from the ground-up.  There are no co-op friendships to revolve around, we can live anywhere in the city, etc etc. 

For the last semester, I have been driving 100 miles round-trip to get to our "old" schooling co-ops.  As in, the ones that made sense to attend back when we lived on the southside of Hampton Roads.  We've worked hard to maintain our friendships from Virginia Beach, which sometimes meant Herculean efforts.  

My last Saturday: Driving 50 miles to pick up Samuel, Andrew's best friend, bringing those two and Simone to Young Chef Academy, then driving another 25 miles (each way) to bring Jack to his Russian teacher of 3 years, then back to pick up the kiddos...and then drive 50 miles home.

This is the problem with living in Nomad Purgatory.  We haven't wanted to create a whole new life in Williamsburg, because we're leaving it in 6 weeks.  But trying to drag our Virginia Beach life behind's a bit like walking 20 miles when you should have just driven it.

As I told Ashley last week: "There's a lot to be said for living life in the present."

Do I regret our decision to take heroic measures to maintain our Virginia Beach network?  Not in the least.  Samuel, Andrew, and Simone had an incredible time at Young Chef Academy - and I'm even planning another field trip to do that same drive again soon.  I can't believe how much they are learning at the co-ops, especially Jack in the older-kid classes, taking science and languages that I can't teach him. 

And losing Natalia, Jack's Russian teacher, and her daughter M after our move? We will shed some tears over that loss.  Right now, the hour drive to her is achievable, so we've made it happen.  2 hours, we'll have to cut that cord. I really believe her loving, kind, intelligent friendship and Russian lessons with him have re-shaped the entire rest of his life.  We will never forget her. 

We've already chosen our new co-op in Richmond, The Athenian Academy, so I took a page from Andrea's life-manual and rented a home within 10 minutes of it.  Gah, I am so excited about this!!!  We've never had that experience in Hampton Roads; we were driving 30-45 minutes even from Virginia Beach.  

Simone is now enrolled in preschool (another post to come on that one) starting next semester.  5 minutes from our house.  

And when we find a new Russian teacher for Jack?  Well, hopefully there will be a native Russian speaker within 10 minutes of our house.

Because their good natures aside...I think my kids will appreciate a life that seems to actually be planned around us and our needs...and not driving all over the kingdom to make it a perfect fit for us. 

In the meantime, though, these kids have memorized every song on my iTunes shuffle...and lordy, it's adorable to hear them belting out the words from the backseat.  Andrew can sing a mean Lady Gaga's "Born This Way."  I might actually miss that part.