and the beat goes on …

fall mantle

We are already three days into the Fall season, the daily beat of our lives rolls one day into the next. Leaves are beginning to turn and our annual Indian summer weather is at its peak.

Our girls have been back into their school routine for a month now.  It is hard to believe our summer break has already been over that long. Our oldest daughter is now a 4th grader and our youngest a 2nd grader.

There have been some fits and starts to this school year. Homework from the first day of school proved to create anger and frustration for our youngest.  The class was working on the story Chrysanthemum the young mouse learning about her name.  What could the anger be towards such a sweet story?  Well our youngest wasn’t sure she wanted to share her story about how she got her name.  You see her birth mom, my husband and I all worked together in naming her and she didn’t want to share her whole story.  We talked about what she was angry and frustrated about this homework assignment. She shared she didn’t want to tell her whole story she didn’t want everyone to know our family story.  We assured her that was ok.  We reminded her how we all came up with her name sharing the name definitions that helped us to choose the names she has. This seemed to make her brighten knowing the whole story but also there was a part she could share that was appropriate for her class mates.

As our younger daughter seemed to struggle with who and what to share about our family story this year, our older daughter was struggling with a bully in her classroom and for a second year being in a classroom without any of her friends.  The bullying began during summer on swim team and just our luck this girl was part of this years’ class.  As the school year started up, a new student at school started to harass our daughter and now she had to deal with two who were in her class day in and day out.  We tried to give her the tools to find her strength to walk away, say stop or whatever was needed as an incident occurred.  At the same time, I was in contact with the school principal and her teacher.  The principal didn’t seem to understand the enormity of this trifecta, being alone and isolated, and 2 bullies in her classroom.  Her teacher shared that she wouldn’t allow bullying but you know what? it isn’t always going to be in her classroom for her to stop.  What is the emotional toll day in and day out for my daughter to be in this class?  We are here to support our daughter, I am at the school helping in the classroom, and we have given her an emotional safe place to talk about what’s going on.  I see her sadness and it breaks my heart. I am still working on correcting this with the district and school principal.  I’ve been through this too and survived it alone and I can share this with her and hope together we can find her strength to make her way through.

I never knew the full extent of how our parenting would have an effect on our girls.  What I am sure about, is my being a stay-at-home mom is helping to know what’s going on at school for our girls and be aware of their daily lives.

With the start-up of school was the return of Fall soccer, Girl Scouts and our continued dance in ballet.  Our schedules after school are full and tight.  Friday is the only day without a practice or dance class.  We have managed to find our new balance for our activities so far but the tipping point could be the start-up of Sunday rehearsals for the Christmas ballet that both of our girls will be performing in this year.

While our girls have returned to school, I have signed on to work at our school as a substitute (as needed) lunch & yard duty person.  Right after I submitted my paperwork to the district our school needed me so M-F from 11:30-1:30 PM you will find me at school fulfilling my role.  My end date right now is in mid-October.  The extra bit of cash will be nice and I like that the job is not always 5 days every week.

Now the days are shorter with dark coming before 8 pm, our schedules are full with homework, soccer, dance, girl scouts and we are full swing into Fall.  It is at our nightly dinners we talk about our day.

How is your Fall starting?

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the day I totally lost my cool…more than usual

Maybe it’s because we are only in week 3 of school and we are not quite in the groove of our school morning routine, maybe it’s because I’m in the last days of this month’s pills, maybe just maybe I am still getting over the visit with my mother over a week ago.

In any case, I totally lost my cool with my girls during morning prep for school this past Monday. I lost myself so that I scared myself.  The anger that welled up in me took only seconds and just like that it passed.  After though was the guilt, lots of guilt.  Heart wrenching, migraine making, guilt.

My mother and I have a tumultuous relationship. One I am trying hard not to duplicate with my own girls.  I had a good childhood, but my teenage years and subsequent years into adulthood have not been easy with my mother.  It was there as we were together to celebrate her 75th birthday just over a week ago at my sisters home the fact that we cannot be alone in a room just the two of us.  My buttons are pushed and we argue at each other.

I have attended mindful parenting classes to give me the tools so that anger is not my first reaction.  I realize I am not alone, especially after attending these classes.  There was a room full of women with similar backgrounds trying to change the history so as not to repeat their relationships with their mothers with the children they are raising.

Both my husband and I are strong personalities (mine maybe even the most strong-willed) and our girls are strong-willed as well so there are bound to be bumps in the road.  Differences of opinion, differences of how we should do things, differences as they show their independence. That is all expected.

Let’s face it I’m 50 going to be 51 this year, my hormones are changing and some days I feel fine and others not quite myself, can I blame it all on hormones? no, but they do add to it.  I have taken steps to try to alleviate the peri-menopausal symptoms with drugs and herbs.   But there are still days…

There are just some days that my anger is quick and mighty and I cannot get a hold of it.  I am thankful that it is not often not at the level it was Monday morning.

and so the school year begins …

and so the school year begins here is an email sent to my younger daughter’s first grade teacher today.
 
 
Hello Ms. N,
 
J is currently working on her homework, all about me and it prompted me to write.  
 
I wanted to let you know in advance so you may have an understanding of what she is sharing. Our family was built through adoption.  Both of our girls were entrusted to us at birth and we have continued family relationships with their birth families including and not limited to their birth mothers, birth fathers, aunts, uncles, grandparents and siblings.  
 
So on her page she has listed she has 2 brothers and 1 sister.  This is true and how she knows her family (her sister has 3 other sisters).  They each live with her birth family, one with her birth mother and the other with her birth father. We see them, have pictures of them, etc.
 
Our family has blended beautifully and J is choosing to share this.  She is at an age now when she can decide who she shares with.  If you think at any time I need to come to class and help explain how our family was built for the other students to understand, please let me know I’d be happy to read a book and talk about it with them.
 
Please let me know if you have any questions.
 
Thanks,
 

Am I ready for back to school?

2014 back to school

It’s hard to believe as I sit here alone in my house that it is day TWO of the school year for both of my girls!  I am still wrapping my head around the fact that my little is in first grade and attends school for the whole day with pick up at the same time as her sister, 2:20 PM.

The new school year brings all kind of excitement and at the same time for me some sadness.  Yes the summer break is over.  The summer where we weaved in and out of any kind of routine from family vacation to summer camps to just hanging around or heading to the pool. Now my days are mine, and that brings some sadness.  We had a great summer together and also I will miss the 1/2 days I’ve had in past school years to spend with our youngest. The time that was just the two of us before picking up big sister later in the day at school.  It’s hard to have no one home with me, can you believe I just said that out loud? It’s been 8 years that I’ve had one or both girls with me all or most of the time.

I also wonder what school projects will be headed our way for both girls. Will there be any that will have us talk about how our family was built through open adoption?  How will we handle these projects?  Our girls are old enough now for they themselves to share and to whom they choose how our family was built.  Last year in second grade we had an ancestry project and we included birth family, will there be another project that we can do this as well for both of our girls?

This is now the time I need to reevaluate and think what am I going to do 5 days a week while both girls are in school.  My ideal would be to find a part-time job with hours from 9-1:00 PM three days a week.  That is what I hope to do, have some adult time earn some money and be there for both of our girls for drop off and pick up.  As we just started the school year, I have not yet given this much thought but will be looking into what opportunities I may find to fill my days and still allow me time for volunteering at school.  What do I want to be when I grow up?

The school year returns routine to our home and family.  Back to set bedtime and the morning wake up routine.  It also means the start-up of sports, both girls play recreational soccer, the continuation of their ballet classes and Girl Scouts restarts with the school year.

We are back to walking to school in the morning.  Something we have done in the past living only a 1/2 mile from school, but something that stopped the last year for the ending 4 months of school after my fall and tearing ligaments in my foot.

So now I am excited for our girls and what new learning opportunities there are before them in the 3rd grade and 1st grade.

After their first day filled with excitement I know they are ready to be back in school.  I still wonder though am I ready for back to school?