When we went out on March Break in 2020 I didn't know that soon the world would shift. I didn't know that what was a 2 week break would last more than 2.5 years. I didn't know that just as I was raising my sleepy, postpartum head, projecting excitedly onto what I believed would be the most engaged and productive time, that I'd soon feel overwhelmed with three children at home, my work indefinitely on hold. There was so much exasperation, bewilderment and confusion for me at that time but there was also so much purpose.
Looking back we can always see the 'rightness' of the moment, but when we're in it it's hard to interpret the challenge as anything but disruptive. The incongruity of the world at large left me reeling for months and yet now I see how it shaped me into the person I am today. I learned so much valuable information about myself, like a crash course that I wasn't anticipating having. In hindsight we often can see the value, the purpose, the why of it all. That doesn't mean it's easy.
We thought summer may just last us forever when we decided to make the move south. We've been living a sunshiney summer life for nearly 18 months. An early spring in 2021 followed by a warm fall that bridged the gap until we landed our feet on the sandy beaches of Costa Rica, ushered us right back to spring in Canada when we returned. September has felt like a definite line being drawn, marking a before and an after. Not just the return to cooler weather but also the return to school.
Our eternal March Break has finally ended. We've had mini endings over the last 2+ years -- we tried a forest school the summer after we left our Waldorf school but found it didn't actually fit in the way we hoped. We found an awesome school for the girls in Costa Rica but left only a few short weeks into it as we decided to return home. We had an incredible nanny who led a fun and flexible curriculum for her time with us at our limestone house in the country. We thought for a time that we may not ever return to the traditional school model.
As all things generally do, our ideas around that shifted. Between the girls wanting more social time and more structure, us appreciating the need for external authority figures and a lack of alternative schooling (we've still got ideas about creating this...one day), it just felt right to seek a school.
And, frankly, I need a break.
Something around hitting the decade mark of parenting found me at my absolute limit with being an all day, all night mom. I've never shied away from being honest about my motherhood journey and though I build my life around being present and accessible to my kids, I've never found it an easy road. I'm excited to embark on this next decade with a new knowing of myself, creating a firmer boundary is part of that.
We toured a few schools and checked out several options but ultimately decided to go with path of least effort -- what's closest that fits our values. The beginning was tumultuous, full of big emotions and anxieties. But we're a week and a bit in and feeling (mostly) in a groove with it. I have a detached view of school as it is, I'm not concerned about my daughters grades, if they're 'performing' at the 'right level'. I'm hopeful they find friendship and fun, that they find some edges to themselves worth exploring, that they continue to navigate a world that operates generally out of sync with our family values but is still a wonderful place to be.
In the village, I wait for the bus with Edie, we've enjoyed a long days together. We've walked, we've talked to neighbours, we've eaten snacks in the empty lot that used to be the neighbourhood school. I've daydreamed while watching Edie dance her heart out, imagined that all this green space is mine, considered where I'd put my house, my gardens, my barn, my pool. And then as the bus turns onto the street I look up at the street signs, Drummond and Wellington, the exact corner where we bought a house not that long ago.
How can I deny rightness in my life when my path led me to the exact same place I stood years before and imagined a day here in the village? I worried a lot in those years, when we were buying that property and then inevitably selling it. I felt defeated, knowing I truly wanted to be living here yet couldn't see my way of doing it. All of that time worrying and, all the same, I'm right here.
We hear the words "what's meant for you can't pass you by" and often think it's trite, a nice sentiment perhaps. I have wholeheartedly believed it though, lived my life in accordance. Found myself mired in doubt, angst, frustration and then given myself a gentle slap -- TRUST. It's coming together in ways I can't yet know. Definitely not as quickly as I had hoped but in perfect timing as it was.
It's just life, it's not always easy or kind, it's definitely not straightforward, but it's always working out for us. It's an experiment, we can't actually fail at it.
Life in the village is as I once hoped it would be. Our neighbours are kind and generous. We sit on our front porch watching the girls play on them makeshift rope swing, chat with new friends walking by, pet their dogs. We grab last minute herbs from our next door neighbours' garden to flavour our meals. We share our rhubarb and tomatoes and then someone reciprocates and bakes us muffins. Another gives us cucumbers and zucchini and we reciprocate with baked goods.
I sit now finishing this blog at a rooftop cafe and think about when the last time I had solo time was. It's odd, compared to the beginning of 2020 I have no immediate plans, no clarity on what my work should be, no new way of creating income. But I feel the most content I have in years. I feel peaceful in our situation, even though we don't have it all figured out (not by a long shot). The triumph of these weird few years has been the realignment to my own values and the ability to stop myself in place, appreciate what is here, what is NOW. The lesson has been to fully soak up the moment, to drill down until l find the beauty, the peace and the rightness in it (it is always there, I promise) and to not wish it were anything else. What a gift!
Did I say this already? I feel like a gear coming to a halt. I've been long trudging forward, the next goal, the new business, the next plan, the next adventure. 2022 was an immediate invitation to just stop, recognizing that what once fulfilled me had run its course. It's been several months of winding down, of slowing the gear perpetually turning. I feel as though I'm operating in a new way, my revolutions will soon turn in contrast to how I always have. I haven't begun my new pace, my new speed, for now I'm enjoying the standstill. I'm holding fast and waiting, listening as the cogs click into place and then become quiet. Not with anticipation. I have no ambition at the moment, I am happily just here. I am open to what will come in, I'm curious and excited to see what the next chapter in my life book will be. I love working and have no direction or focus for it, I wonder what I will next do. A season is ending and I'm not sad one bit.
Sunshine beaming on my shoulders, a breeze from the lake just out in the distance washing across my face. A cookie the size of my head and a creamy coffee in hand. Watching the people in this town as they go from place to place. I've never been anywhere better than I am, in this holy and sacred moment, in the nowness of my life. It's a decision we get to make, a choice we reach for, and I'm holding it joyfully. I hope you feel that too.