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It has been 6 months since I have written anything here.  Partly because I have lost my definition of this space.  It started as a way to share the antics of my children with our family.  Facebook now fills that need.  Also my kids are older and have a desire for privacy.  I no longer write about many of their antics.  They seem to frown upon it.  So that just leaves me—and in all honesty I am not very comfortable writing much about me.  And I am not sure how much of me exists outside of our kids.

And yet… Here I am.  Tonight I had a desire to come here and just be in this space.  It reminds me of when my kids were little.  It reminds me of the time before Facebook.  It feels safe and warm and cozy.  I am not sure I can ever abandon it forever.

A lot has happened in the past 6 months.  The biggest of which is that we adopted again.  We now have a newborn and are soaking in every second with him.  This time around we registered with the National Down Syndrome Adoption Network.  Maybe I will say more about the journey later.  But for now I will just say that my heart is full.  I am completely in love, not just with this baby, but with my entire family.  I could never have imagined this amazing life.  When I find myself frozen in fear with the realization that I only get to do this life once I stop and look around.  While I doubt myself on an hourly basis, somehow I have no doubts when it comes to our family.  I am working on being present in order to soak in every moment of childhood with each of these amazing humans.

Perhaps I will come here more often as this journey continues.  Perhaps not, kids keep you busy.  Either way it helps me to know it is here.  It, too, has become a part of my time in this place.

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I hate making decisions.

We are nearing another pivotal point in both our lives and the lives of our children.  The school they currently attend ends at 6th grade.  8 years ago we visited several schools and after much worry and debate made the decision to send them to an independent private school.  Mostly because it was the most amazing place I’ve ever visited.  Seriously—this place is freaking magical. This decision meant a lot of things.  It meant I would have to work full time. It meant we would not be getting new cars unless ours were completely dead to the world.  It meant we would have to get creative if we were going to do any vacations.  It meant a LOT of time would be spent in the car.   I do not love these things.  I have tried to find the silver lining in most of them but honestly—life would be easier in a lot of ways if we had made a different decision.  

But I regret absolutely nothing.  Because it also meant our children would be completely in love with school.  It meant they would experience joyful learning from day one.  It meant they would learn to creatively solve problems and to do so with grit and teamwork.  It meant they would learn compassion.  They have discussed topics that adults struggle to discuss without it becoming a yelling match.  They have learned empathy.  And not just empathy for those who closely resemble themselves. They have learned to value ALL people.  They have learned to question the majority and to think for themselves. And they have done all of that in a safe supportive space.

So now what?  It is time to decide once again…  Do we move and send them to an amazing public school.  One with a billion class and activity options where they can meet so many new people.  The school is diverse, it performs well.  We walked the halls and the kids seemed like good kids.  They would have friends who lived in the same town and we would certainly have more money than we are used to.  We could take cool vacations.  We would not be spending an hour of each day in the car…  

But it is also HUGE.  What if they fall through the cracks?  Get lost in the bureaucratic shuffle?  I know we will be on top of it, but would the school back us up?

We also visited another private school.  Once again I saw students who were being pushed both cognitively and creatively.  Who were coming up with solutions to problems adults are struggling with.  Who are learning some serious ethics and what that means in all aspects of life.  Who were allowed to come up with their own projects and see them through with support.  It was amazing.  And by amazing I mean these kids are going to be world changers. 

But it comes at a cost.  An astronomical cost, in fact.  Which would mean all the sacrifices we are making already plus more.  I am not sure we have any more to sacrifice… 

So here we are.  One year and two months away from a life change.  And we are not sure what that change will look like yet.  I will be sitting in this discomfort that entire time.  But I will not forget how blessed we are to have this decision to make in the first place.

On parenting

Some days this whole parenting thing leaves me curled up on the floor of my bedroom gasping for breath as the tears fall uncontrollably.  I feel terrified I am making unfixable mistakes—or already have—or am going to tomorrow.  I do not know the right way to respond—or to answer—or to even approach.  I wonder why everyone else I know is so much better at this.  I feel confused—and lost—and like I have no idea what I am doing.  I feel isolated—that our challenges are somehow different than everyone else so I am therefore unable to talk about them—or ask for help—or even ask for someone to listen.  I am defeated.

And yet…

Some days are beautiful.  They are filled with laughter—and hand-holding—and quiet snuggling—and inside jokes—and non-stop play.  With moments where I stare at their beautiful faces and try as hard as I can to sear them into my memory—exactly as they are at this moment.  Moments where I am asked a thousand questions and I try my best to answer them all while filled with awe of this intense hunt for knowledge and understanding.  Moments where I observe kindness when they don’t even know I am watching.  Days where I go to bed with a heart that is so painfully full of love I am not sure I will be able to sleep.

I am thankful that my beautiful days outnumber my broken ones.  While I am not perfect I think it is important that I am able to recognize that and allow it to drive me towards being better.  I am working SO hard at this and will not be stopping.  I am a mom.  A mom!!!  To this day, almost 11 years after the birth of our daughter, that still amazes me!!!  I am so in love with these kids—if I allow myself a moment to stop and just think about it for a minute I quickly become overwhelmed.

Today was a good day.

SUMMER!!!!!

Finally!!!  I will never be able to fully express how much I love summer break.  It is the highest form of self-care.  

That being said I also have a son who thrives on structure and routine.  So it’s not just lay around all day in the sun around here (as much as I would love to).  Once again we have created our ‘summer schedule.’  Although it is a bit simpler this year.  Our daily schedule basically looks like this:

9:00—Exercise (in some way shape or form)

10:00—Bridge books (my daughter hates these but does them—my son desperately needs to feel some semblance of his school routine so this helps)

11:00-Clean (I have a daily job—this week we have been cleaning out the project room in order to convert it to a dance/jiu Jitsu room)

12:00-lunch and then downtime (reading)

1-4ish-the day’s ‘activity’

5ish to bedtime-dinner and whatever

The morning activities are interchangeable—although Boomer really likes to follow the time.

The afternoon activity can be something that just comes up or something from our handy poster.

  
We tried drawing out of a jar one summer—this summer we are picking off the chart.  Today they chose painting rocks—they were both excited about it and both loved it.  We had plenty of time to spare so we also made rice krispies treats and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.  Yesterday was swimming.  Who knows what tomorrow will bring…

Bring it, summer!!!!

Good Intentions

This morning I was determined to start eating healthy.  

But then I listened to venting, heard heartbreak, witnessed meltdowns, sat with the sleeping, made plans for next year, cried as I read my daughters poem, worried about the years progress, and watched my son disappear behind a parked car as he was chased by a dog his size with my heart leaving my body.  He emerged upset but only scraped up from falling, no bites.

So I ate a fish dinner with fries from Long John Silvers.

Hi.

My name is Sarah.  And I am a dance mom.

Funny thing is I never really wanted to be a dance mom.  I’ve seen like 1/2 an episode of the infamous show before and it literally made me nauseous…  Definitely not a world I wanted to be a part of.  And yet…  I have this little girl who started taking dance right before she turned 3.  This little girl who marched out onto the stage at her first recital like a rockstar.  She smiled and danced and smiled and danced some more and loved every minute of it.  And here we are 7 years later and nothing has changed.

Turns out being a dance mom is nothing like the TV show.   There is hair to french twist, costumes to sequin, and eyelashes to glue.  But those things are not what any of it is about.  Being a dance mom is actually kind of amazing.

You get to watch friendships grow, girls who support each other through thick and thin.  Who are not tearing each other down to bring themselves up.  In fact I have repeatedly watched as they build each other up when one is feeling low.  You get to see them cheer each other on even when they are competing in the same category.  You get to see tears from your 7-year-old after leaving the stage at her first competition not because she was upset but because “I’m just so happy!!!”  You get to see not just yours but ALL the girls work their butts off week after week to perfect the little things.  You get to see the performances that show just how far all that work has taken them.  You get to watch your daughter finally nail her triple she’s been working so hard on front and center in competition.  Then watch as she nearly explodes from excitement as she walks off stage.  You get to see your little girl become stronger, more athletic, more graceful and most of all-more confident.  

So yes.  I am a dance mom.  And it’s kind of freaking awesome.

To my awesome dancer—I am SO proud of you and every last one of your teammates…





DISCOURAGED

  • Because I can’t fix everything
  • Because our school climate (my work climate) has become negative
  • Because the teachers are tired and frustrated
  • Because the system is broken
  • Because what about the artists—and inventors—and builders
  • Because I am tired of hearing that it’s because we’re not hard enough on them
  • Because some kids don’t eat, don’t sleep, don’t see mom, see mom get hit, or get hit themselves and then come to school and get in trouble for not doing their homework
  • Because they don’t tell you what happened because they are not supposed to
  • Because kids who don’t experience trauma at home do experience it at school when the traumatized ones lose control 
  • Because not everyone cares
  • Because legislators who don’t know a DAMN thing about our school decide the solution is to increase the amount, value and difficulty of standardized tests; while decreasing the amount, value and input of teachers
  • Because the brightest part of my day is feeding breakfast to the student who walked in 15 minutes late and braiding her hair so she can start the day feeling put together
  • Because we ALL want to start the day feeling put together
  • Because that is the only part of my day I feel I am accomplishing something
  • Because I don’t tell you everything they tell me—it’s called confidentiality
  • Because punishing them more doesn’t work
  • Because I don’t know what does

I can’t fix everything.


Some days I can’t fix anything.


But I can do this:

  • I can keep showing up
  • I can love every. single. one.
  • I can look them in the eye when they talk to me
  • I can feed them breakfast
  • And I can braid their hair

It’s not enough…  

but at least it’s something

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