Embracing the Change

The past few months have brought a lot of changes to our home. Some has resulted in relief, some in absolute chaos, and one in sad acceptance of how tenuous our grasp on life can be.

At the top of our stress list for the past fourteen months was having the paternal figure living with us. Assume that there is one person in the world whom you recall having seen a few times per year (and also assume that you and this person are polar opposites) and that person falls upon hard times and you are their only salvation. Not only does that person move in, but then blatantly disrespects the rules of the house and the lessons you are trying to instill in your kids. Yeah, it was that awesome.
The good news is, he’s gotten his own apartment now and our peaceful semi-peaceful mojo has filled the house again.

In August I was faced with the traumatic reality that my forty-*****th (number redacted to protect the vanity of the blogger) birthday was approaching. Each day seemed to bring another gray hair, another wrinkle and some other mortifying symptom of aging. On August 15, as I was wallowing in my own self-absorbed personal aging crisis, my grandmother passed away. I not only had my ass slammed to the proverbial mat, but I had to get back up, get in the car with my husband and drive to the mountains to find the parental units, my brother and my kids who were camping and couldn’t be reached by phone. Few things suck as bad as having to tell your mother that her mom has passed away and having to deliver your kids through their first experience with death.
The most recent change has brought another stressful situation to an end. Three years ago we enrolled our kids in a local charter school. We’d heard great things about it: kids learning Spanish & Latin in the third grade, playing in band in the fifth grade, reading classic literature and a focus on education. There were some draw-backs (shorter summers, school uniforms, etc) but the benefits of a classic education model seemed to outweigh them all. And so, we enrolled them. Right away our kids hated it. There was no support for kids coming in from schools with lower (née regular) expectations and our kids were missing some basic knowledge that their classmates possessed. They fell behind in a few subjects and struggled. It became apparent that nobody was interested in helping kids learn, they were expected to sink or swim, and our kids were sinking. Not only was the school failing them academically, there was no personal support, no interaction between teachers and students that would foster a pride in the school. Everyone, including parents, were expected to tow the line and never question the process. Yet we did. We questioned. And we finally found the answer at other schools. Our kids are now back in the public school system. In the first six school days, my middle schooler has gotten after-school help in math and band on four different days. My youngest is reading far better and all of them come home happy and do their homework without trouble. The stress level in our house has plummeted and we are finally optimistic about school.
All of the changes, the good and the bad, have forced us to evolve as a family and our evolution has been a joy.

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