I did not choose a word in 2018. I also didn’t post a thing here, although I occasionally thought about it. But this word I sketched above is a continuation of the last third of 2018. I spend a huge amount of my time facilitating the goals of the four people I live with. This is part of parenting, yes, but things are out of balance here. Some of that I can’t do anything about. We have some added challenges in my family that aren’t mine to discuss publicly, although they do affect me, my energy, my time, and my ability to plan anything, because things can get unpredictable. That’s on top of the regular duties, which are also kind of excessive. The second half of last school year, for example, I was routinely spending four hours a day in the car because none of the kids had transportation from our neighborhood. This school year, my middle schooler entered our local high school, which comes with a local bus stop, and a wee bit of time opened up in the morning and afternoon, and I claimed it.
I began volunteering at a local environmental education center, using one of my college degrees, plus long-ago experience and general passion. It’s a generous volunteer program, in that volunteers get to actually do skilled work. We also get excellent training opportunities, and, for me, that all-important sense of connection to a place. I also began offering an after-school art class at my daughter’s school. Neither of these things were possible when I was driving my son to and from middle school, and both are, in the scheme of things, small small steps. I did think, long ago, that by the time my kids were this old, I’d have more room to stretch myself. I thought going back to work would be possible. Heck, I figured family travel would be logistically possible. We’re not there yet. I have to move mountains just to go teach kids about the Chesapeake Bay for five hours one day a week, but I claim that as necessary. I decided CLAIM was the word for this year because I need to keep doing it, or else I will just fold in upon myself like a collapsed star.
I may even start writing here regularly again.