A supporter recently reached out to me, saying that whenever there was a long pause in blogging he wondered if we’d finally been sucked under. Nope, we’re still here treading water. The long pauses in blogging are mostly due to the pressures of being a first year teacher combined with the demands of being a single parent of tweens and teens living in a somewhat high maintenance living situation. I can’t blame it on lack of access now that we finally have internet at home. There just isn’t enough time. It takes time to be creative – when I was unemployed I had time to think and write, time to imagine and construct. Now I’m something of a manic juggler – trying to keep up while chasing the balls that have escaped my grasp and careened off out of control.
And frankly I feel that our story may have less appeal or interest now that we’re no longer living on the edge. There was a certain suspense to it, particularly in the early tent dwelling days, that is no longer there. We’ve clawed our way out of the abyss, or at least to higher ground and now our struggles and challenges are much the same as that faced daily by many American families – trying to get by on a limited budget, shepherd the children through the turbulence of adolescence and see them on to the next phase of life, deal with health issues and healthcare costs, and the ups and downs of the workplace.
Don’t get me wrong, I feel if I had enough time I could spin a story or two around the antics of the goats and chickens, the trials of country living, the poignancy of preparing for my oldest daughter’s move to college, and amusing anecdotes from the combat zone of middle school. Bits and pieces of these tales occur to me in the middle of a sleepless night or during my hour commute to or from school but they flit away and by the time I’m seated in front of the computer and have caught up on emails and Facebook, researched information for lesson plans, dealt with outstanding college and financial aid form needs, and paid bills, I lack the mental stamina to write thoughtful, coherent posts.
That being said, we would not have gotten free of the abyss without the support of all of you and I still strongly feel the connection forged over the past five years. So I want you to know that if I’m not blogging it’s due to time constraints more than anything. I’m hoping to survive this first year of teaching (it is unbelievably time consuming and pressure filled)and reach more of a balanced life that will allow me to get back to writing as that is one of the things I most enjoy.
And now for a brief update on life:
My blood pressure is controlled by new medications but despite numerous tests we have no clue why it got so high. There must be an underlying reason but it remains a mystery at this point. The day/night in the hospital and follow up tests have run into about $1600 dollars not covered by insurance so I’m not sure I can afford to find out! My heart seems to be in good health so for now I will just take the medication and continue to work on lifestyle changes – less salt, more exercise.
My oldest daughter is in her senior year and has been accepted two several colleges in Indiana (still waiting to hear on a few out of state schools). She has a scholarship that will pay tuition and fees for all four years as well as room and board for her freshman year at Indiana University in Bloomington so that’s her first choice at this point. The years have rushed by – it seems it was just yesterday that she was a tiny toddler practicing going up and down the stairs, over and over, clinging to my hand, and now she’s almost ready to stride out on her own! I regret that so many of the years of her life have been spent in poverty and uncertainty and hope that they’ve made her more resilient and not more vulnerable.
My middle daughter (14 and in 9th grade) continues to excel in school and progress in her singing. She’s smart and steady and keeps to the middle of the road – not a risk taker or attention seeker, nor a wallflower. She’s looking forward to getting a job this summer and still misses her friends in California.
My youngest two have birthdays coming up – both turning 12 in early February. For the first time in years my youngest daughter (6th grade) will have a ‘real’ birthday party with half a dozen friends at a skating rink. We are busy planning the party – invitations, cake, goodie bags, whether or not her brother can come… My son has an appointment scheduled for his biannual cardiology check up (only one year late) in April and I’m looking forward to finding out the status of the ‘wait and watch’ issue discovered at his last visit. He’s hoping to be cleared for sports participation for next year. In the meantime he’s looking forward to 4H where he plans on working on construction and small engine projects.
I’m mulling over getting out of the goat business. Since losing our buck to the Barberpole worm infestation we haven’t added to the herd. We either need to get a new buck or sell the does we have or we aren’t really running a business – we just have a herd of pet goats! Personally I like our goats but none of the kids are farm kids at heart and with my long hours away from home much of the daily goat care falls to the children. If we want to make a business of it we need a new buck and we need to fence in a larger area in goat fence (not just electric fence as the goats are masters at escaping). All of that takes money and time. I will make a decision this spring when folks are looking for new livestock.
Teaching, well that’s a blog post for another time!