Friday, January 29, 2010

It's Either This or Quit
Here I go again. Every now and then I feel this powerful urge to quit blogging.
Enough already. I am getting so little done around here as it is, and even what is accomplished is uniquely mediocre. I don't even know what it means to be "uniquely mediocre," but sometimes talking fancy satisfies an itch.

So here I am in the midst of an "I should quit" crisis. Then I thought that I could not possibly finish blogging when my last post was a romp across the fields of Narcissia. So, naturally I have been trying to think of brilliant and insightful, humorous, sentimental, intelligent, thought provoking, creative and artful stuff. Something really good to blog about. I got nothing.

Okay then. Nothing it is. Here goes.

Some of my children have been academically remiss lazy negligent challenged absent indifferent uninspired. It's an issue. I am not proud. I am confounded, and also embarrassed and disappointed. Honestly, for me, it is not about the grades, which is perhaps a source of the trouble. My foremost interest is in maintaining their interest in learning, but schools have expectations and make demands (that are not always aligned with my ideals,) and so deadlines, percentages and goals must be met.

Well, that was not so much "nothing." It was actually a whole lot of something. Something I am sure will make a couple of people around here uncomfortable, but life is uncomfortable sometimes, right?

Besides feeling the angst and late nights of navigating academic frontiers, I have my own shortcomings to contend with. I think my biggest personal challenge is making thirty six hours fit in to twenty four hours, and making at least twelve of those hours actually productive. In other words: I am behind. I am neglectful. I am looking for a time machine.

I would like to go back to about December tenth or eleventh.

Maybe that wouldn't make any difference, but I do need to find a way to make a difference. I cannot seem to get over myself and the feeling that I am effectively, systematically failing. I want to be settled in our home, in such a way that I am not starting from the beginning, learning where the cheese grater is and where we put the three ring hole punch. I want all boxes unpacked, pictures, hung, trees planted, garden beds made and ready for seeds... why? Why, because I have achieved those things before. I have unpacked and settled in and made planters and set up house, but all of it was torn down... many times it has been torn down, and I feel like if I cannot get to that place where we are within a space close to balanced or semi-normal, that I will never succeed. Just making lunches and keeping a good supply of clean socks manages to fill my days and the rest is left undone or done very mediocrely.

Wishful, silly me keeps thinking that if it were still December, if we hadn't got so darned sick, then I could send Christmas cards and hang those lights. I want that. That idealized picture of peace in home, and home all clean, children joyful and thank you cards sent. Then, then maybe colds and homework and getting to the post office would not be so daunting... if the foundation were there, dependable and trusted, then I could build up. At least that is what I imagine.

Move forward. I know. I have to just keep moving forward. I may be afraid. I think I am scared that any progress, any success in making things beautiful and moved-in will result in another tear down, start over move. I think I do not know or trust how to be at home. I am confused. Gee, it's hard enough without being scared.

Yesterday I planted four bare roots trees. And I may have done it wrong, or at least not as perfectly as in the garden book illustrations. Mediocre Me. Two more trees and a lot of grapes need to get planted, but I need more wire baskets and holes. I also need to volunteer in Maria's school, reconfigure the barn, pay the bills, organize my office, thank Jennifer for a dear gift, get the cats to the vet, clean the moving van a lot, and send Euro-Valken swag to Wisconsin.

And that is why I should quit blogging. Because obviously I have too much to do and blogging is one of those things that gets in the way of getting real stuff done. And that is why I will not quit blogging... because under duress, I cannot resist the compulsion to hang my dirty laundry high on the line, where I can gaze on it and reflect and try to make sense of it all.

Oh dear. Look at it all hanging there and flapping in the breeze.


Zan said...

Don't you dare stop blogging, I just found you! I look for a fresh post daily. Yes, I'm serious. There is a very small list of blogs I read daily, and yours is one of them. Don't leave me now! We, your devoted readers, think your writing style is awesome. (Oh, and I'm still waiting to hear how the bunny is doing in his new yard.)


Star said...

No, don't quit blogging. It is therapeutic and relaxing. It is escapism and sharing your problems. I think we all need that. You are so 'normal', it is refreshing. It is just the same for me, yes really. I have all the same feelings. I'm sorry you're feeling behind but the best advice I can give you is to dwell on the things you have done in a day, not on the things that you haven't done. Have a lovely weekend, relax and keep blogging...!
Blessings, Star

TCavanaugh said...

Wow! You can actually plant this time of year...hmmm, I knew I lived in the wrong part of the country. Please don't quit blogging (sorry if that seems selfish), I truly enjoy your posts. Things will get done in time (as they always do). I enjoy airing my dirty laundry as well. :)

Jennifer said...

Hey -- check me off your list -- all done! I'm glad the little crazy envelope made it's way to you.


It's just a funk.

My lofty goal this year is to figure out how not to live in the kind of relative pig sty that results from living in a house for 20 years and never, really, ah, redecorating. Or figuring out what to do with the overflow. Feeling shameful that I keep thinking that the fix is "a bigger house," instead of just tackling the mess and making it all manageable again. Somehow. So maybe this is the other side of your same coin? Maybe we both need to just pick small, achievable jobs, and DO them. Peck away, as it were, rather than worry (and give up) because the big picture is too overwhelming.

And hey -- your children are brilliant. If they are sometimes unmotivated to do the work school wants them to do, maybe it's because the work is uninteresting? I know part of life (if I'm even warm on this one -- am I off-base?) is dealing with doing what you don't want to do, but do rest assured in the utter brilliance of your children. Is there a vision about the future that would help motivate a person to do what he's not enjoying, but still doing it best he can, so that he reaches that more important personal goal down the road?

Love you.

Andylynne said...

Well Natalie,
I do so identify with you. And I don't have children to nurture and ferry about. Just myanimals to the vet and clean up after. The house and every thing that goes with todays lives that are some how so busy .
Your talented bright, your kids& husband love you. Your an amazing woman, and an amazing blogger to boot. If you choose to stop, I for one would miss you lots. But you don't sound to far gone. At least not anymore than the oodles and oodles of others in this crazy world we have inhereted. I for one think your pretty amazing. And I even liked the hat and coat in the last post. Your you and an original work of the good Lord above. Maybe the rest of the world should just look on in Awe :)

judy in ky said...

Oh No!! Don't even think about quitting blogging. I live for your blog. And you don't have to be brilliant. Actually, you ARE brilliant, you just don't know it.

You are so hard on yourself. Not one of us gets everything done. We all go to bed at night thinking of all the things we have failed to accomplish.

You don't have to make all of your posts take a lot of time... just a few words from you are very welcome to us out here.

If it will make you feel better, I will take pictures of all the places in my house that need to be cleaned and organized... it's really scary!

tara said...

I sure hope you decide not to quit. I enjoy your blog very much. Ummm do you take bribes?

Mama Spark said...

Ok, first of all take a breath. Everyone that has kids has been where you are, in the midst of LIFE! It is difficult, scary, exciting, mundane and when you get out of the storm you will miss it. I had 2 that went through the same kinds of things you are experiencing academically. One made it to the other side and one is still struggling. He will get there eventually. You let them take some control and they also earn the consequences. He is taking a LONG time to get that but it is finally beginning to sink in.

Next, quilt blogging? If nothing else it is a great way to organize your thoughts, bounce ideas off others and get some much needed support at the same time. Or just to vent which is also necessary too.

Keep your chin up and move on to the next day, it will get better!

warren said...

Gosh, you know, I am absolutely going back and forth like this. I love to blog, but I feel some strange compulsion to make it interesting or funny or whatever...and that takes time. I love it and I hate it...and for now, I am continuing. It's weird must have similar feelings. Anyhow, I enjoy reading your postings even if I have been remiss in keeping up to date with any blogs I read. Maybe we need to form a support group!

~KQ~ said...

Please, give yourself a break! It does no one any good for you to beat yourself up (if you are, in fact doing that...) This is a difficult, stressful time in your life, (moving is one of those top-5 stressors) and it is normal to feel this way!
The thought that ran through my head, reading this, was: I bet her family would be happy to give "Mom" a week off, so "Natalie" could make the house into the home that she misses. If you had a week (planning on seven whole days,) I bet you would feel wonderful about what you could accomplish! Of course, this would require your family to do all of the necessary things that you take on every day... hubby would need to be a single parent for a week, kids pitch in, etc. But it's *only* a week, and there's that old saying, "if Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy". It just might be worth it to all of you to give it a try!
Some sister-friends and I adopted a saying many years ago and made it our lifeline, and I'll share it with you: "Do what you can. Don't do what you can't. And don't resent it." We learned that taking just one sentence to heart doesn't work - all three work together, and they can be a real sanity-saver.
I love your blog. I hope you don't quit. But if you take a sabbatical, we'd all understand. Do what is best for YOU!