Where have I been?
I feel like crying.
I am so overwhelmed... by life... by challenges... by gratefulness... by worry and angst.
I can't decide how to catch up here. Do you want the details or the nitty-gritty? I also want to share my new method for making beans. Maybe I'll share that in a different post.
The need to cry?
Today E finished her first year of preschool. There was an awesome moment when the older "graduating" Sunflowers gave the younger Rosebuds (E's group) real sunflowers, signifying their transition into the next Sunflower class.
This transition has been very meaningful for E. Here are just a few of the things she said to me today: "I'm going to make poops in the morning when I'm a Sunflower... Mamma, my arms are longer now that I'm a Sunflower!... My voice is deeper now, isn't it?... Can I walk outside for awhile in my old Rosebud shoes, just to remember?"
I love that her teacher and classmates created enough kid-centered ritual for today so that she could feel the transition. That's so powerful, and it's something I hope we can build upon as she grows. I didn't have that recognition of transitions when I was growing up because events and growth weren't celebrated like that in my family. This is why I studied ritual and meaning in college. I craved it.
I'm proud of E, of course, but there's been a confluence of end-of-school year challenges for both of us so the need to cry is more about me, I think. For instance...
Is this stupid? I didn't know how much *energy* end-of-school events and responsibilities require of a parent. Granted, it's a cooperative school, but this is preschool for goshsakes! Was I doing something wrong? Every day for the last month has felt huge, overwhelming, loaded, political, spiritually-challenging, and just plain busy because of school stuff. Why? Am I weird? Did I take on too much? Does it get easier when the kid gets older and goes to public school?
One of my parent jobs for the year was to create a DVD of the schoolyear. This was challening for me because I had to learn new software and publish something in a different medium. I put so much energy into this project (see above), and I was crushed when the teacher turned the DVD off half-way through the show so that she could move onto other things. I felt so embarrassed, as if I had failed. I tried so hard and wish it would have captivated the kids' interest even though they were crazy-full of energy. Unrealistic, yes, and "adult Cathy" understands the teacher's decision completely, but I had hoped to succeed, and I feel I didn't.
However, the school year is really over now, and that damn DVD project is over, too, and I feel ugly-weird-huge-naked RELIEF! Like, okay... I got a C-, but at least I get to graduate or something. Shit howdy! I'm free!
D and I have been working like crazy so that we can host an end-of-the-year gathering for some families at our house on Saturday. This is what I mean about a confluence of events and energy happening... the gathering is so that I can teach a few mothers how to make jam, and it's part of a whole year of food preservation coaching I offered to the school for its fund-raising auction. I didn't have anything "real" to donate and searched my life for something to offer up and realized I could teach people how to make jam and pickles. So I've spent the last two months figuring out how to make this work, and now three other mothers are coming over on Saturday with their six kids (and one husband to help D watch them all) for jam-making. I'm pretty scared, and we've been working so hard to kid-proof our yard and house so that seven kids can run around and celebrate the beginning of summer vacation while I try to share what I know. (My mother-in-law has been coming over to weed and "clean up" our yard because she's embarrassed at how bad our yard is... it's that sort of thing going on over here...)
And my dad is dead, you know? I've been thinking about that a lot lately. I don't know what I feel about it all. I'm still glad for him to be released from his pain. My mother is not well now, and she's being stubborn, and a new level of worry for her is sinking through my psyche despite the chaos here.
Enough, I think. Time for summer. Time for swimming and gardening and letting go of some responsibilities. Time for new things to bloom.