Or even, like, once.
You see, it kills me to say No to almost anything. If I do, then I totally agonise. I dwell. I pine. And then I often change my mind. Go running after whoever I said No to and say, Wait! Wait! Nix that No! I'm in!
Because I generally see Nos as doors slamming on Possibly The Most, Awesome, Adventures Ever.
I see potential adventures everywhere. They're hiding in every corner, you know. Just like ninja bunnies, waiting to jump out at you yelling, "Surprise! Here's the Most Awesomest Fantastic-est Adventure Ever! Bet you're glad you didn't stay home ironing your socks!"
The only real Nos I've said are the ones where Yes has been out of my control. I remember every one, and they still have the ability to make me sad.
But what with feeling so overwhelmed recently, so over-commited, I thought
perhaps I should say No to even one thing.
We should drop something, I thought. Anything. Just to lighten the load. Others do it—dear friends know how to say No. How hard can it be?
So, I said to my boy. "Howabout we drop some music? Just one class. Howabout Wind Ensemble?"
"Oh, no!" he said, "I get to learn all the percussion instruments then!" (And 'Oh, that would be a shame,' said my husband, 'That's a great class for him.')
Jazz Band? "No! That's the only place I play piano." (Ditto, said my husband)
Concert Band? "Please No!" (aka: That's crazy talk, Mum!)
Jazz Combo? "Double, triple No! That's my all-time favourite."
('Yeah, dude. What he said,' said my husband.)
(To be honest, my husband didn't quite say all that! :) He thinks my son's music schedule is okay, but he listened to how I'd been feeling and said, 'He'll be fine if he drops a class. Whatever you think is best.' He's lovely that way.)
Anyway, we decided for now that all music classes are safe.
That's cool, I thought; I can drop something else.
What about art?
My mind instantly said, No! Way! I love our art classes. I love the kids' teacher. We've been going for five years now and going there feels like Home. And after years spending a quiet hour and a half reading my book, I can now choose to join in, any time I ask. This is commonly known as a Win Win. Or, Joy Joy, in my case.
What about our two homeschool groups?
Oh, but there we see our friends. There I have a chance to catch up with other mums who make me laugh. There we sit in contented togetherness as the kids dash about like fireflies.
What about music lessons?
Well, that wouldn't make any sense. The kids love them. My son even said the other day about one of his teachers, "He doesn't even feel like my teacher, Mum. He feels like my friend."
All right then. Howabout sewing lessons with our neighbour and friend, with her son who is one of the kids' best friends?
Well, that doesn't even feel like a lesson; it feels like we're playing. On Friday after the kids finished sewing their first! ever! shirts! we took a break to all draw each other without looking down at the paper. We were doubled over laughing. How do you say No to that?
Writers Workshop, then; the one I've been running for nearly two years?
But the kids are on the edge of something wonderful—we're about to work on longer projects. They want to write books, these kids. They want to meet every week. They come in and words pour out. They inspire me. Every single time we meet up, I feel bigger, brighter, lighter afterwards.
So where does that leave us? Lego League.
Where every time we go the kids have a blast. Learn so much. Be independent. Invent, explore, brainstorm and play with their friends. Where the leaps in learning are huge, where they get to achieve something kind of beautiful together. Where the tournament day, the one they spend two months preparing for, is unbelievably cool.
You see how hard it is?
The hardest part, well…
it's actually the best part. It is the sweet silver lining.
I see how much joy Yes brings.
Almost every Yes brings us
It brings us concerts, and art, and workshops, and impromptu hikes. It brings us visits with friends, hours at the library, going to plays, doing Something Completely New almost every week.
It takes us on camping trips and to meet new people. It lets us try new things on for size to see how they fit.
It brings us life learning.
And it gives us unexpected moments of total bliss. Like our sewing lesson on Friday. I almost cancelled that; I almost said, We don't have time. I almost missed being doubled over laughing at approximately 11am with dear friends.
But while seeing just how beautiful Yes is, for us,
this week I realised
there is room for No.
No doesn't have to break my heart. Little Nos can happen, and joy can still come.
We can say no, once in a while, to homeschool group. Stay at home or go to the library instead.
We can say to an invitation, "Not today; howabout next week?" when we've got a delicious project on the boil.
My son can miss a music class now and then, or we can do some rearranging so that one particular day isn't filled with 2 and 1/2 hours of lessons and rehearsal.
I can say, See You Later, to my computer, when my girl comes up to me and says, "Can we do something right now? Together?"
I can let things go, in small day-to-day ways,
to fit in the Yeses that mean the most.
So that when my girl asks, "Can we make a cat suit? Can we write together? Can we build a house for my toys out of real wood?" I can say,
So in celebration of the joy No
here is a taste of what both
brought us this week:
art by a boy and by me
(and by a girl, but she said, Don't put it on your blog, Mum!)
|me drawing him|
|him drawing me|
swinging at Lego League
planning with the team at Lego League
presenting a speech at Lego League
a writers workshop party
watching a play (created entirely by kids)
a game of Creationary
and running around at Relay for Life
while a dad played with the band.
I mean, yes!