"Mommy, there are white flowers starting to bloom outside your bedroom window!" younger son said to me, Sunday, with a meaningful look on his face.
We've always started our spring break from the formal part of our homeschooling when the dogwoods start blooming. It's the most beautiful time of year in central NC, and I'm usually really excited. We finish the break when the temperature starts hitting the 90's regularly. I noticed on Friday that the dogwood buds were starting to open, and I knew we'd be breaking soon.
It always feels strange to call it a "break," though. We're only breaking from the formal part of our homeschooling (grammar, and math). Younger son will still be doing plenty of reading, we'll be hiking, he's working on circuits in Minecraft (a game which has gobbled up the brains of three members of my family now), we'll be going to museums, etc. What it really means is more spontaneous time.
Usually, I look forward to spring break, gardening, and being outside more. I've found that I'm not this year, for the first time ever. I realized that, partly, it's because of how life has changed in the last two years. Last year was the first year that I was only homeschooling one child, but we still had plenty of things we wanted to do during break. This year, younger son is 13, or, as I put it, the hibernate-in-your-room age. I actually sometimes get more time to myself than I need now. Thinking about starting break this week felt like a huge void ahead, and that's not normal for me.
Sure, I have a list of house projects that I want to tackle, and I'm going to get started on those today,* but that kind of stuff doesn't excite me. Housework is what I do in the time squeezed around the interesting stuff. I'm also not as in touch with the outside as I usually am, probably because of having to focus so much on my body with the blood pressure stuff, so I'm surprisingly unexcited about the spring.
I went to Zumba this morning and came back to a quiet house. Younger son is up in his room doing Minecraft on the netbook. He says it's nice and cozy. Some evenings, the guys are all upstairs on computers, and I'm downstairs with two affection-deprived cats. They get really pushy. Lina is now sleeping next to me on the floor after I took her off of the keyboard a few times.
After years of homeschooling three kids - with someone always having something they wanted to do that involved me, either driving or doing things together, this feels like a vacuum.
I don't like it.
Dear husband and I talked about this on our walk yesterday afternoon. Younger son will still get plenty of time to himself, but I'm going to bring up things to do also. Yesterday, while older son and I were at church, dear husband and younger son went canoeing. Younger son had a wonderful time, particularly when he was challenging himself physically. This afternoon, we're going hiking nearby. We've been wanting to get back to the NC history exhibit at the museum in Raleigh. We're going to go to the zoo for the first time in years.
I'm going to stop at the garden center tomorrow to start some projects that will inspire me. I've been really missing learning choreography at dance classes so I'm going to learn the choreography in this video to Back It Up:
We'll try kayaking again!
[That part was written on Monday. The rest I finished up Wednesday.]
It supposedly takes about three weeks to make a habit.
I was on the recent blood pressure medicine for almost two weeks, and, adding the week that I had side effects from it a few weeks prior, I've been dealing with the side effects for three weeks.
In those three weeks, I got very used to two things. First, pushing myself when I was exhausted, since I was exhausted all the time, and, second, just sitting and playing computer games when I wasn't pushing because I didn't care about reading, blogging, or, really, anything.
I've made both of those into habits.** I can't even tell normal tired anymore. When I was on the full dose of the med, I felt as exhausted as if I had the flu. When I was on a lighter dose, I felt like the day after the flu. But I didn't have the flu so I kept going and trying to do as much as I could make myself.
So the thought of taking a break? relaxing? - is very strange. Last night, I was exhausted at 11 pm. I did the dishes and the laundry and woke myself up enough that I couldn't fall asleep until 2:30 am.
There are times in your life when you have to push yourself, particularly when kids are little. Now isn't one of those times for me.
However, not pushing myself feels lazy. On the other hand, I think I might need to relearn how to relax, in some way that doesn't involve computer games, in order to try to get my blood pressure down.
So, it also doesn't feel like a "break" because I've gotten into the habit of just grimly forcing myself through the day.
* Anyone want a child-sized sleeping bag? Younger son grew out of it a few years ago.
** The other habit I got into was just sitting and staring at the table during meals while listening to everybody else talk. Even though the drug is long gone from my system, it's still difficult for me to get back into having conversations.