So, here we are. 2011. Whole new year stretching out ahead of us like a big blank stretchy thing.
Although for some of us the canvas isn’t quite so blank as it might be. I already know some of what’s coming: mainly change. A lot of it.
Orlaith starts school, Tuesday week. Esme starts pre-school the following day, 3 mornings a week. I am frankly terrified about Orlaith starting school. School was not an easy place for me, socially and that has really affected me in the way I’ve lived my adult life so far. I had hoped I might be able to explore home schooling but with the other changes taking place in our lives at the moment it just didn’t feel like a realistic option. It’s not one I’ve closed off totally. If school doesn’t work out for Orlaith, then that is a bridge I am still prepared to cross.
Esme starting preschool will be a bit of a relief, in some ways. I think it will be good for her. I think some of her more challenging behaviour is to do with being a little bored. She, like Orlaith, is incredibly sociable (God knows where they get it from, I’d happily go and live in a cave and Jake’s not exactly Mr Extrovert either) and I think having the chance to interact with other kids and having other adults reinforce good behaviour expectations will really help her. It’s still a big change but one I feel less daunted about.
And then in around 12 weeks – which will no doubt feel like years while at the same time flashing past far too quickly- there’s going to be this whole new person in our lives.
I have no idea what to expect. Orlaith was such a placid baby right from the start. Esme was a startling contrast and, if I’m honest, a bit of a shock to the system. She is really full on and has been since the day she was born. If I’ve learned anything from having the two of them, it’s that I won’t know what’s coming until it’s here. And whoever arrives, they will come with their own personality and their own set of needs which will be totally different from either of the other two.
Then there’s all the business stuff to think about as well.
With Alex and Scott heading home, I am excited and daunted about the challenges of running my own business while juggling a family of 3 children and the house and … I am determined, at the moment, that I will make it work somehow. I know I am going to have to dig deep and go back to a bit more of my old, teacher self if I’m going to make it work. I’m going to have to streamline things, make decisions about what is realistic and what is just pie in the sky, wishful thinking.
It’s been interesting having a few days off over Christmas and New Year’s. I’ve barely touched my machine and whenever I have, Orlaith has told me in no uncertain terms how much she hates it. There is such guilt from being told by your four year old that she doesn’t like it when you sew because she feels lonely and sad. Ouch.
It makes me sad too, thinking how much of the last 18 months has been spent with me telling them I’ll just finish this and then we can… Or saying I can’t play right now, or I can’t read a story right now because I’m working, because I have to get this done, because I’m doing something Important and I really just need to finish it. I worry that I’ve wasted some of the precious time I’ve got with them, pushing them away a little, not savouring those moments quite as much, partly because of artificial time constraints that I’ve allowed myself to construct. If I’m honest with myself, I am a workaholic. I was the same when I was teaching and it’s somewhat ridiculous the extent to which I have been pushing myself over the last little while, particularly whilst pregnant.
At the same time, I know that I’ve done my best to balance time spent with them, with time spent working. Moving my machine into the loungeroom has helped. Sharing leftover scraps of fabric for them to make pictures with, setting up a kid friendly craft area at the end of the table so they can show me what they’re doing while I am working. Trying to make them feel included in what I’m doing, asking their opinions of fabrics, shapes and textures. I like to think that being surrounded by colour, pattern, shapes and textures has helped them develop in other ways. They love to see what I am working on and tell me if they think it’s good enough, although Orlaith in particular takes great delight in teasing me and telling me things are really ugly!
I think though, that with the two of them heading off into situations where I will have less time with them, I need to start to look at how we’ve been doing things and make some changes, because me spending all my time with my head stuffed in the fabric stash or bent over the computer is just not going to work out. I need to plan my time better and I also need to learn when to say no to people, how to set better boundaries and also that it’s okay for me to take my time on things.
I don’t need to answer every email or twitter conversation Right Now.
I don’t have to cut out, iron and sew up the custom order on the day that the fabric arrives.
If we don’t have 50 of every single item made up for the Big Show that’s coming up, or I don’t finish everything in my work basket, it’ll be okay. We’ll still have enough to go around.
I don’t have to try and be everything to every one and make everything Perfect. People will take me as they find me and understand that I am doing my best.
I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions. They always seem to me to be ridiculous things, they get broken or forgotten very quickly and we fall back into our old patterns and carry on again, shifting things as they come up, but otherwise just ticking on with the business of our lives.
But this time of year does have me thinking about change and the decisions and challenges I have ahead of me in the coming months. Change can be a good thing and I think this year, I am going to embrace it, whether I want to or not!
I hope all of you have had a lovely holiday season and that your own reflections at this time of change will bring you good things in the year to come.
Happy New Year, all!