For the past four years, being a parent and foster parent has been all-consuming, leaving no room for dreaming, planning, doing anything else. Now that kids are settled in school all day, post-foster-placement behaviors have diminished quite considerably, a routine is somewhat set for our visits with Midge, and the adoption of E. and A. is coming upon us rapidly, I am looking ahead with this strange sensation of possibility and freedom.
I’ve just walked into a buffet and I don’t know which way to look first. It’s overwhelming, wonderful, exhilarating, scary, and exciting all at once. All of the following thoughts swirl through my mind, each one as insane as the last. They are all daunting and improbable, yet step-by-step possible if I put my mind and energy towards them. I have no idea where to place my efforts, so I flit from one to another depending on the hour and the day. And then I feel guilty because shouldn’t I be picking one thing and putting all of my time and energy into it until it gets done, rather than an hour here and an hour there until my progress is almost unnoticeable? I don’t know what to do, but I’m excited about doing it!
- I’m going to take up backpacking, something which I have never desired to do until this summer, when I decided that Tyler and I should backpack camp in the Channel Islands (Tyler being the hardiest camping partner of my crew.) Then I watched Mile/Mile and a Half, and realized that backpacking the John Muir Trail, a 211 mile trek through the Yosemite/King’s Canyon area is something that I MUST do. Now I’m finding myself reading trail memoirs, researching backpacking methods and learning about things I never thought I’d want to know.
- Along the lines of “something I never wanted to do before but now find it essential”, I finished my first sprint triathlon 2 weeks ago. I’m not sure what came over me, but last December I realized that I needed to do it, despite my former almost sedentary lifestyle. I did it slowly, but I finished, and it was such an emotional and spiritual experience for me. Now I’m thinking that triathlon training should continue because it will help me get in shape for backpacking as well, and I’m thinking of dragging a few friends along with me for next year’s triathlon.
- I’m going to reorganize my entire house, purging every single room, closet, and item until we have just the bare essentials to survive and thrive here, while still being able to keep up with the cleaning.
- I’m working on getting my Single-subject Mathematics teaching credential. I’ve never wanted to teach Jr. High or High School before, and suddenly it’s my goal. Are you detecting a pattern? I was an elementary school teacher and loved it, but knew that teaching elementary with young kids at home wasn’t a good lifestyle combination for me. But teaching one subject (and it’s one of my favorites and was my specialty when I was teaching before) sounds doable, even appealing. I realized that I don’t want to get used to having all my daytime school hours filled with me-me-me or with volunteering for the PTA. I’m going to give this a shot and hope to study and take my Math credential tests this fall. Something about trying to reach kids and make a difference in that awkward stage of life is compelling to me.
- I’m ready to reconnect with my husband. I don’t feel like we’ve been disconnected for the past few years, rather, we’ve been busy keeping this ship afloat so long that I think we haven’t stopped to notice how great our spouse is to just BE with. Mine is so great, in fact, that he is actually showing interest in the crazy backpacking idea. And if you know him and his desire for comfort, you know that is a big deal…him wanting to do it just because he knows I want to. It brings me to tears just thinking about that. He’s a great guy. I’d like to hang out with him sometime.
- I’m working towards healthier cooking and eating for me and my family again. It’s a lot of work to research, pursue, and cook the most healthful foods for this crew of six or seven. I have to be prepared! I need a new freezer for our grass-fed, humanely slaughtered meats, since our last one stopped working this spring. I need to get back into planning our meals out each week and using recipes again! I need to figure out how to let the kids get involved, especially E. who is constantly asking to help. I need to figure out what foods can help with the digestive and energy problems I’ve had for the past few years. I need to get going on this!
- I’m pumped up about studying the bible. I’m teaching at our women’s bible study again this fall and enjoy digging into the real study time required for that. I bought a study about the life of David that I wanted to do this summer, but couldn’t quite find the time for. I need a routine for this! I want to be found “in Christ” and “abide in Him” and see the fruit that results in my life.
I turned 38 on Sunday. Do you think I’m having a mid-life crisis? Is this why so many things that were formerly so detestable to me are suddenly appealing, to the point where I’m almost magnetically drawn to them? There’s something about finally having the breathing room to look to the future after four years of barely staying above water. It reminds me that I want to be taking steps in the direction of God’s plan for my life, and I want to be healthy enough to experience the joys of following that path when the joy comes. There’s nothing so wrong with that, right?