The times, the stages

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My Tessa’s portrait. I struggled pretty hard for this one. There just came a point that I said, “It will get finished”. I have moved on, but not very far. I guess that’s ok, because I am not in a stage where I am making a lot of art. It will come when I’m ready. I feel it will burst open like a dam, a strong steady stream of energy and creativity all together. I look forward to it. Until then, I sit in a dormant state, wondering what it is that keeps me from enjoying the completion of this piece. Maybe because I haven’t reached the next stage. Like the seasons, when winter drags on too long, or summer won’t give way to fall, I wait for that true bit of evidence. I know it’s coming, and that will have to be ok.

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Fierce little blondie bird. She is definitely unique. The baby who cries out her drama because she might get more pity. The sneaky sneak who eats the hidden chocolate, draws on the wall, watches TV on the found iphone without anyone knowing. Rascal. The batting of eyelashes, the curling up in bed with us, the backwards shirts and shoes. I try to enjoy this last bit of small child essence in my home. She will be a grade schooler in the fall, and I will have a third child to truly homeschool. The battle of young parenthood is waning, the season is passing. New challenges lay ahead.

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I captured this. My daughter in the climax of her childhood. To be nine. She’s so smart, so thoughtful, so fun-loving. It’s the saturated beauty of nine. Shortly after this picture was taken we cut her hair off. She was bubbling and proud of her shoulder length bob. She is my friend and partner in our exploration of ideas. I know she will argue with me, but I hope she never hides herself from me. She is a seed that is sprouting, and I want to hold it in my hands and enjoy each millimeter that it grows.

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Homeschooling. I have had a love hate relationship with it this year. I have felt the sting of isolation and I have questioned all of my choices. I have cursed my faults, and my children’s flaws. Then, there is a day when you get everyone to agree to do something together. Reading outside, for example, is one of the most rewarding things for me as a homeschooling mama. It is so simple, but to get everyone to agree to it sometimes takes every ounce of my fortitude. Then they read, and whatever it is, their voice reading the words is like the music I hummed to myself when I stroked my pregnant belly. It’s a bit hypnotic, I wish I could bottle it and pop it open after I’ve had to scold someone, or listen to the din of their goofy banter a little too long. It is a gift. I am thankful for my children’s ability to read and their voices. Then, there is a day when I am doing laps around my house, for seemingly unimportant reasons, to serve each one of there cries for assistance. I want the silence then. If we can go back, to the day we read about beetles and butterflies in the warmth of the new spring days, I will feel the reward and take up that load again for another school year.

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I thought that the 100% pure energy, babbling and loud boy would never ease up and become something more mellow. How many times Joel and I had to play “ninja” when we were so exhausted. Today I have a boy who is almost my height. I do not need to bend over to hug him, and ever so often I have this 5 ft tall child sobbing in my chest. He feels so deeply. He knows his short comings. He feels his sin. He is a first child, but he blows so many holes in that theory. He struggles to learn sometimes. He does not have a work horse mentality. But when it comes to people he can go all night. I am praying for that outlet to show up that uses so many of his gifts, until then, he will love on every small child, old man, teenager, babysitter, teacher, secretary, cashier, and friend of mine who crosses his path. I try to stop myself and not bully him out of the conversation, after all, he is as tall as we are! There is no looking over him, no tugging on apron strings!  He has charming, funny things to say. He will always keep me on my toes

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And what a stage of growth we are all in. I watch my boy become closer to being a teenager and I get concerned. I see girls his age becoming curvier and I tell myself,”they are all still children, give them attention and make them feel important” The stage I am in is one similar to the path my children are growing. They teach me things about myself. I have always believed that children develop at the pace you are ready to see them change. It doesn’t mean it’s always easy, but as I walk through the zoo or down sidewalks of the busy downtown areas with my crew, I know the freedom of their freedom. No strollers, carriers, or highchairs, we are 5 fully functional people. Well most of the time. Tess still needs a boost to the sink. It makes me breathe a sigh of relief, and it makes me sad. No more simple troubles, things now get trickier. I try to not take pride in that struggle. One day, nah, everyday, we are all in the same boat.

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A mysteriously beautiful, elaborate boat that has ample room for pleasure and pain. Hop on and enjoy the times.

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