I'm just thankful that my older 4 can work independently . . . and that they are. I'm thankful that my little ones can crawl into my lap for some love whenever they need it. I'm thankful that A6 is reading and reading and reading, so that my inattention to her little school lessons has less impact than it might otherwise.
But I still feel so guilty for my inability to provide rich, stimulating, family-love-increasing school hours for my children.
I'm not ill.
Our house has been on the market for almost 6 months. It took 5 months to even get it ready to list, so that's nearly a year of being unsettled and living in between. We've been searching for our dream home/dream land for even longer than that. Painting, cleaning, redecorating, cleaning, mending, cleaning, showings, cleaning, and so forth and so on have left us with few if any hours for really great school.
Add in the away-from-home activities I'm allowing the kids at the moment, the responsibilities that fall on me as a participating parent, and the driving to and from, and we've got a monster on our hands . . .
And 2 pregnancies and 2 miscarriages this summer haven't exactly stabilized the force of my nature, either.
Something has to give.
The something is my dream land . . . my dream future . . . my idyllic home in the country where we learn to expand our current gardening skills, care for animals, and perhaps open a stand at a local farmer's market or two.
It's a terribly long and complicated story that boils down to this: Heavenly Father does want us to move (that answer came as clearly as a phone call one early morning), but in our moving I have to make a choice--the farm or my family (that prompting left me shaking and weeping late one night).
Ummmm . . .
I choose my family.
Many women do both successfully--raise families and farm. They're part of what inspired me in the first place. But Heavenly Father has called me to motherhood and not to farming. For whatever reason, I am not the multi-tasker-seize-the-day-juggle-the-schedule-with-aplomb-and-a-smile mother I would like to be; instead I am a homebody-focus-on-the-small-precious-moments-provide-lots-of-routines-and-stability mother. My calling is large, and I am small, so I guess I have to accept my limitations and try to shine within them.
This is not what I intended to write when I sat down. These fears and frustrations are obviously controlling my every action right now.
I thought I was at my wit's end 5 months ago, but Heavenly Father let me struggle on.
I thought I was at my wit's end 3 months ago, but Heavenly Father let me struggle on.
I thought I was at my wit's end 1 month ago, and Heavenly Father gave me a spiritual hug and let me struggle on.
I'm pretty sure I'm past my wit's end and am living on borrowed energy and intelligence, but I think Heavenly Father has shown me the end of this round of struggling.
I think we've found our house. It has 7 bedrooms without being an oversized monstrosity. It has room to cook, room to eat as a family, room to gather for family time. It is on a quiet street, and is near a large city park loaded with hiking trails. We cannot garden in its current state, but it comes with nearly an acre of yard that includes woods and a small stream. My husband is not sure . . . he's struggling to feel good about making a commitment to a home and land that are so obviously unsuited to obeying the command to raise a garden and feed ourselves as much as possible.
I was also desperately unsure until 5:22 am yesterday morning--I was actually hyper and frantic with confused thoughts for hours the day and evening before. I prayed and prayed. I planned to fast and to ask my family to fast together this Sunday. Then I woke for no reason other than the peaceful feeling that this house is a good home for us and Heavenly Father will bless us with what we need in it. I told my husband about what happened to me, and he listened respectfully, but he has not received his own witness.
My prayers are currently filled with pleading for Heavenly Father to speak to him as He has to me, and for me to be humble enough to accept what might come if my husband does not receive that witness. I trust him. He's a good man who loves God, loves me, and desires for our family to be happy. If he thinks we need to keep searching, I will keep searching.
(But I will probably cry before I put my shoulder back to the wheel.)
Even if this house is to be ours, there are hurdles to get over. But as long as I've heard Him correctly,. Heavenly Father will help us find the way.
Moving to a new house is not exactly the recipe for great homeschool hours. But I feel hopeful anyway. I miss "doing school" with the kids. I'm learning that it is really important to limit outside activities--no matter how the kids beg or how good the activities seem. I'm learning that home matters. I'm learning that I can live longer in limbo than I ever thought I could. I'm learning to look for the good in every state of being . . .
though truly, some states are more satisfying than others.