Thursday, April 19, 2012

What Now?

Does anyone else have a tendency to fill all available time?  The moment Wendy was old enough to be a little independent and I felt like I had some breathing room, I decided it was time for me to hit the books again.  So, I enrolled as a college student, taking one class each semester.  The first year, it went fine.  The semester when I was in school and the kids were on summer break, I just took an online class.  That way, I could work on my class wherever I happened to be: at the park, at swimming lessons, camping for the weekend, and any moment that everyone else was playing outside (and I wasn't working in the garden).  Even if I didn't have Internet access I could be working on assignments or reading textbooks. 

The second year, Wendy started Kindergarten.  Even better, I would have some time alone every day to focus on my classes.  However, I was also PTO President, a youth leader at church (which requires some Sunday lesson preparation as well as midweek meetings), and we gained two members of our family by taking an exchange student from Germany and one from Spain.  All of this in addition to the requirements of a mother and wife who now had to cook and clean for a family of eight.  Everything seemed to be going OK.  There were things I had to give up, like leisure reading, extended baths, this blog, and a regimented house cleaning routine, but I was keeping on top of things for the most part.  So last semester I decided to take on a more hefty class.  Just let me mention that one area I am particularly (possibly clinically) anal in is my grades.  I do what it takes to get an A (An A- is not good enough.  That would just mean I didn't put in enough time).  What was I thinking?  I have always been a simple person, able to say "no" to requests if they disturbed my peace.  But now I had to say "no" to everything that didn't involve my family, my church calling, or my class and PTO requirements.  I mean, come on, I still had to work out every day, shuttle six kids to practices, lessons, rehearsals, and social events, as well as provide a delicious, healthy, well-balanced, sit-down dinner together as a family every night...  How far I had come!  What happened to my peace?

It started wearing on me about the middle of the semester, when I had mid-term tests, a big project and a time consuming fund-raiser at the school all going on at the same time.  I would sit down to do some computer work and find myself unable to figure out what to do first, as they were all urgent.  I would be working on my project then realize that there were things I really need to review for my test, then the principal at the school would call requesting information about the fund-raiser, which I still had phone calls to make before I could answer his questions.  While making phone calls and sending emails about the fund-raiser, I would realize that I never finished that section of my project, which I needed to review the information for the test before I could finish it...You get the point.  It was like, If You Give a Pig a Pancake.  That was my life for a while.  I realize some people thrive on that type of life, but NOT me.  I need time to stretch out and do nothing, time to find a spot on the carpet where the sun is shining in the window and just lie there and soak in the life-giving rays while listening to yoga music.

So, after getting my A, and the highest grade in the class on the final project (I think I have a serious problem!), I decided to take a semester off.  Here is my reading list:
  • The Other Wes Moore
  • Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
  • The Promise
  • The Storyteller's Daughter
  • Davita's Harp