I am incredibly grateful for the beautiful comments I've received on my last two posts (and received as emails and on facebook too). I have loved reading your personal stories. I've felt so connected, supported, heard. That means so much to me. I wish I could come to each of your houses and give you a huge hug.
You know what's been the coolest? That no-one travels the same path, and yet, we are having this conversation; you are telling me of your own choices and supporting mine. That's kind of a lot awesome, I think.
Life here has been so full.
I'm pleased to tell you our bodies have adjusted to our dairy-withdrawal. We are eating so well, making sure to have lots of healthy snacks to avoid the Insatiable Hungries. We are full of energy and feeling great. The food has been awesome!
Here's some of what's been going into our tummies so far:
Pear porridge made with organic oats and oat milk. Yum!
Pumpkin soup with gluten free garlic bread. Delish.
Pasta primavera with red lentils on gluten free pasta (stirred through with a dash of oil and teensy sprinkle of salt, where once I put in butter and parmesan). Oh, divine.
Pad Thai with home-laid eggs and fresh-squeezed lemon. Swoon!
Fresh gluten free bread with kidney-bean and vegie spread, topped with home-made guacamole. My favourite.
Rice cooked in vege stock with slices of tofu (GMO free). My daughter's favourite.
And Nachos, real nachos without cheese, just lots of bean mix, guacamole, and the chips all crunchy from the oven. Mmm, my son's favourite.
Sound good? It is good. It all feels good to eat. I'm feeling healthy and my hungry tummy is always satisfied. No more cheese cravings! Not a single one.
This food journey is getting betterer and betterer. I'm so glad we are on it.
Now for the down side
(which, thankfully, is now looking up. Such a blessing).
I hit an emotional wall last week.
Perhaps it was the physical challenge of the changes in our diet,
perhaps it was the emotional challenge of the sad/difficult learning I've been doing,
perhaps it was the time challenge of having so many things on our schedule (recently made fuller with Lego League),
but suddenly the Busy was too much.
It took me down.
It grabbed and pinned me. It left me unable to sleep, unable to get out of bed, weeping at the drop of a hat (and all other moments too). It left me standing in my kitchen on Wednesday—while the kids read upstairs—crying so hard I couldn't cook dinner. Instead I wept into the tea towels and thought, So this is it. I am so overwhelmed and anxious, I can't even cook a meal. Please someone come and take me somewhere quiet, with only walls or trees for company. Please make the Busy stop.
I thought of calling my husband home from work. I thought of calling a neighbour. I thought, But how do I explain this? This heaviness, this sorrow, this sudden, complete loss of hope? I can't even speak.
I stood with my phone in my hand. I wept until I didn't. And then, I picked up the kitchen knife and finished cutting the broccoli.
Over dinner, with my kids and I sitting there, I said to my children: We have to give something up. I'm not coping at all. And I began to cry again. Not a wild wailing, but that simple leaking you do when you're just too tired or laden to hold tears in.
My children stopped eating. My girl came and sat on my lap. My boy stood and patted my shoulder. He said, All right, Mum. We'll stop something.
I said, I think we have to stop Lego League.
Okay, said my son. We'll drop it.
(My girl had already dropped it last week, saying she just wanted space and quiet and time at home. She is so perceptive about her needs. Kind of inspiring).
Could it be that simple? That I could talk to my son and daughter and they'd take one arm each and ease me out of my Stuck and my Hopeless and my Lost?
Could it be so simple as them saying, "What will make you feel better, Mum?
And me saying, "Space, and bike riding."
And them saying, "That's what we'll do then."
For that to be
the beginning of better?
Yes, it could be.
I spoke to the Lego League coach and his wife (who have become such good friends), and they completely understood. His wife is a beautiful person; she listened to me as I talked and cried. She said supportive, understanding, endlessly kind things. (Thank you, so much, dear friend, for that and all your other kindnesses. I am so grateful).
I then wrote an email to my homeschool writers workshop group and said I'd be running it every second week, instead of every week. Because, I said simply, I need to be less busy.
And then I decided that some days we would always keep free. They would be precious at-home days. Not to touch. Just for us (and bike riding).
And I decided that, as much as possible, we wouldn't commit to doing anything before 12. So that every single morning could be spent at home.
Which sounds like a lot of Nos, doesn't it?
But this didn't feel No-like. It didn't feel negative. It felt lighter, better. Like a load lifting.
And then came a surprise Yes, inside all the Nos.
My son enjoyed Lego League and didn't want to drop it. But he has wanted to do Scouts now for almost a year. He couldn't because we were too busy. Turned out, the things he most loved about Lego League were the things the Scouts do (like physical challenges, adventures, doing something as a team, being part of something, and doing something independently from his (sometimes weepy) family).
So he joined Scouts last night.
Another thing on the schedule?! Yes, but here's the difference. It's something I don't need to carry.
My son wasn't overwhelmed by the busy—I was.
My husband can take him to his Scout meetings and pick him up. I don't need to be responsible or help the way I was with Lego League.
So I get space to breathe,
and a need and want is filled for my boy. This is (and will always be) known as a Win-Win, Smile-Smile! It's Happy squared.
Now imagine me looking around inside this new space, looking left, right and up, my neck craned.
"So…" imagine me saying. "No looks like this, huh?"
It looks kind of a lot like Yes.
Like the simple Yes of
that gave us time yesterday morning
to practice music, and for my girl and I to do fun maths on the computer, and for me to sit with my son as he completed a chapter in his maths book, and for my son to do some work on his Space Journal (which he has decided he wants to finish) and for my girl to write a story.
And time after lunch
to ride our bikes along the track by the beach, with homeschooling friends, to the park where homeschool group was meeting. It was so sunny and so fine, with the wind in our hair, the path whizzing underneath our wheels. (And have I ever mentioned that exercise, for me, stops depression in its tracks? It's better than any other treatment I've ever experienced. It's my life-line.)
And time for a popcorn top-up, to get a girl through piano lessons,
and to keep the kids going at art class. Where the kids created portraits out of different materials—foam, fabric and string. They learned about print-making, and in the coming weeks will use their portraits to make prints. Ah, they loved it.
And last night, as my boy began his Scouting adventure,
my girl and I sat at the dining table making clay animals.
We sat and made a dragon and a fox. It was so much fun. We talked; we laughed. We had peace and space and time—all the things we wanted.
My son came home from Scouts just full to the brim with happiness and contentment. They'd built scout chariots, and spent the night running around outside. He'd hung out with old friends and met new people too. He was so pleased, so excited about the coming term events (Camping! Something wild called a Wide Game! More knot tying! Swimming! Catamaran Night Sailing! Wow.)
And it all felt so good.
I felt hopeful.
And the good I'd been feeling on our new Vegan path
joined with the good of Claiming Space