Nachamu, Nachamu – Comfort

KIMG0964***I’m a week late in posting this – it was ready before Tisha B’Av, but I was having computer issues with inserting the pictures and then I was about to upload the pictures and come to find out it erased most of my blog. Guess it was not meant to be. Here is try 2!***

Time flies when your having fun, or just too busy to sit down and write. 😉 Between the 100 degree heat, adventures in Big Bend National Park, cooling down at the Macdonald Observatory to view the Moon, Saturn, as well as Jupiter and Venus, back to the 100 degree heat, staying cool inside, doing some cleaning and (finally) some organizing, and finding nice places to go walking in nature, I have felt constantly busy.

It has been a long time since we started our adventure to our new place with moving four times in about 4 months, unpacking an entire house in the few weeks before Pesach,KIMG0893 trying to finish up schooling, or what was called schooling for this year, and trying to figure out why things are just not settling down. It’s been about 3 months since Pesach finished, I thought we would be more than settled into a routine and start to feel “at home.” After all, when there are no boxes left in the house, it starts to “look” like it might be home, even if it does not feel like home. There really is nothing from stopping us from at least acting like we are at home. What we think should happen is often times different that what really happens. Reality was that I felt I have been treading water for the last 10 months, starting from the few weeks before we moved. I have been forgetting about appointments the last month, among other things, and we really have not been doing much schooling, so what has been going on?

No schedule. Oh, we have tried various schedules at different times over the months, and we can seem to stick with it for the most part, until the next change in our live (ie KIMG0813move) and then we go through a phase of what feels like chaos for we are not really doing school but we are busy doing needed things. Every month or two that is what has happened. After Pesach, when we finally were able to breath for a few minutes and realize that “this is it,” I tried to do schooling for a month or so to finish up the year, but I never could really get into a routine and always felt I was just treading water, never going anywhere. Yes, the boys went camping one week with Grandpa, we all went with Grandpa a few weeks later and last week I had one with the yearly-taking-of one-boy-out-with-Grandpa now. (Yes, I think Grandpa is happy we moved down here!) But still, I should be able to keep a schedule!

Then it dawned on me. What I am feeling is the lack of grounding. We are in a new place with new friends and Daddy has a new job with new hours, and there is nothing that is familiar for us (me) to hang on to when things change. Before, when our schedule would change, Daddy’s hours were fairly constant, and if his hours were crazy for a while, we had our daily school routine that was constant. There was always something to fall back on. Here, it’s been almost 10 months of all newness. However, over the last couple of weeks I think I finally figured it out.

It is summer and we can do our summer schedule, and really should do our summer schedule. Which is…basically nothing. We daven, do our chitas and are supposed to do our mishnayos and that is about it. It may not seem like a schedule, but we schedule in all2015-06-29_17-47-18 the nothingness, which when you schedule it in, it really is a schedule. It is something that we know, something that we do every summer, it is our grounding. We might be in a new city, a new house, have new friends and need to figure out Daddy’s new work schedule, but we have our familiar summer schedule. It has been such a relief and has felt like a huge load has been taken off my shoulders. I have been able to do some organizing and even gotten most of the way to organizing our new year. We have our new homeschool cabinet – the wet bar area that has been refitted with a bookcase (should not be surprising. 😉  ) I have decided on what books we will be reading this year and have purchased most of them. I have completed a first draft of the secular learning schedule (I do not feel quite comfortable with it but it is a really good start and I’ll mull it over for a few days.) I am starting to feel like I am standing on my feet on solid ground again.

Mr. Little has turned 6 and has lost his first tooth! He is so big that he planned for himself a birthday party and invited all his friends over. The only issue is that he did this all by himself without my knowledge! Baruch Hashem he did let me know on his plans the day before his birthday and so when I got phone calls from the children themselves asking if they were invited over for his birthday party, I was mentally prepared and told them that we were just having cake and they were welcome to join us in half an hour. 🙂

We just came from a very low time in the Jewish year, Tisha B’Av, the time when we 2015-06-29_17-46-47mourn our loss, not only of the Bais Hamikdash, but of the loss of our closeness to our Creator, our King, our Father. The good part is that once we are low, the only way to go is up. After all our moves and all the changes and challenges, I am finally feeling that our home is on the up as well. We have hit bottom. The elevator only goes up from here.

We just had Shabbos Nachamu, which is a special Shabbos for us personally, not just the comforting Shabbos after Tisha B’Av. (Okay, okay, DH and I got married Erev Shabbos Nachamu. 🙂  ) This year we also had dear friends surprise us and came over to spend it with us. It was so nice to visit with familiar faces. A beautiful family with a girl, and boys who were aged in between all our boys. It was a blast and also a comfort. How befitting. Nothing is coincidence. 😀 I feel refreshed and excited about our new year. I feel there are a lot of wonderful things in store for us this year. Wishing “y’all” all the best in your preparations for the coming school year!

Growing Pains

I will start off by asking for people to daven for Reuven Dovid ben Miriam. (***updated name***)  He got hit in the throat with a baseball and had to undergo surgery.  Baruch Hashem he is alive but will have a stint in his throat for 6-8 weeks, not being able to talk. He will have a tracheotomy tube to breathe through until stint is removed. Afterwards, they will attempt to do reconstruction surgery and hopefully will be able to talk again.

It was a busy day today.  Much has happened, and not with my children, but as I walked back into the house this evening, with my mind all full of different thoughts from the day, I took just a second to let what I saw and felt sink in.  The 2 year old was standing at the kitchen counter on one of our folding chairs, singing and bouncing, just asking for the chair to collapse.  It was nothing unusual, he loves to do that, however tonight it struck me different than usual, not sure why.  Perhaps it was a combination of the day – making a shiva call, going hiking with the family, finding out my friend’s husband got severely hurt in a very unusual accident, to other things – some planned, some unplanned, but it seems that on these days the little things get looked at differently.

I was thinking how amazingly different each of our boys are.  One boy tells me to watch out for it is going to be crazy in the house when they are all teenagers and a short while later comes over and “catches” me and tells me he caught me and that he is suspicious I am a double agent for the wrong country.  Another thinks he is as big as his older brothers and of course everything is “ME DO IT!” while at the same time needing to know exactly what ingredients are in his pineapple pieces or his zucchini bread.  We have one whose creative juices are constantly running away with him and he can create everything out of nothing but once he is finished, all those tiny pieces of paper and such just can’t seem to get picked up, no matter how hard he tries.  To another whose computer knowledge has actually surpassed his father’s in some areas and everything that comes out of his mouth starts with “Ubuntu.”

These boys all have the same mother and the same father, but yet, each is vastly different from each other.  Raising even one child is not easy, as any parent will tell you, however, there is something kind of refreshing to working with each of the children.  It takes a lot of work and effort on the part of the parent to not just “raise” a child, but to raise each child in the way that is best for them so that they will grow to their unique potential.  Up until this week I would arrange the order of the lessons to what suited me, and for the most part it seemed to work out well.  It was not until this week that I realized that it is not always the best for everyone.  I found out that in math, one child is better off doing it at the end of the day, the very last thing that I do for then I can sit down beside him for the 15 minutes he needs to finish his work while all the other siblings are out of the room.  This child needs me to give him my 100% undivided attention while he works on his problems.  Not that I do any of the problems for him, but I am there to help keep him on track.  He needs me to ask him what the next question is, he needs me to ask him what he needs to do first, etc.  With my attention and the lack of distractions from others, he all of a sudden can finish in a reasonable amount of time!

Perhaps it is the joy a parent gets from watching their children grow, but perhaps it is also the feeling that I too have grown.  Raising children is not just about the children.  Raising children is also about us, the parents.  It is easy to go through the moments where the child is listening and doing what they are supposed to do.  The challenge is when it is not so easy.  What happens when you all have a wonderful day and it seems ruined by the fact that at 10pm the children are still not in bed for they are just too wild and wired from the excitement and exhaustion?  What happens when a child throws a huge tantrum every time they think life is so unfair?  What happens if there are other bad middos such as lying or hurting taking place?

All these challenges push us, the parents, to the limits.  Often times we might be up at night thinking, other times during the day.  There are times where we can find the answer quickly, and sometimes the answer seems to elude us for eons.  But we keep on trying.  Then, one day we look back and all of a sudden we notice how they have changed.  The child who used to touch the wet paint of others’ pictures and not sit still, now is maturing and sits with the adults and participates in conversations (until you have to shoo him away! 🙂  )  The one who threw such wonderful tantrums and got offended so easily, well, all of a sudden I realize that the tantrums have almost disappeared.  Children all go through different stages in life.  With our help, they usually outgrow their “growing pains.”

But if we would look back at ourselves, we would see that we too have grown.  At first, we never imagined that we could cope with certain situations, and now, those situations are a piece of cake!  And not only that, we find that while we are dealing with new challenges, we also add more things to our resume that we might never have dreamed of.

So, as I am thinking about how wonderful it is to be a part of our children’s life and to see them grow and mature, I hope this feeling will be able to carry me on to the next challenge, whatever that may be.  Hopefully I will remember that with my constant love and devotion that this too will pass and be outgrown and the gorgeous, amazing, unique flower that is emerging will continue to unfold.