Revelations Through Conversation

I talked to a dear friend today on the phone, and most of y'all know that I *hate* talking on the phone. But this friend is in the middle of a move with 3 kids and doesn't have internet set up, yet, (my personal idea of hell!) so I sat outside in my driveway after teaching dance & caught up with her, (b/c our house is a black hole of reception.) It was so refreshing! She is one of those friends who ALWAYS leads me to little revelations about myself through conversation. She is a master of drawing the "why do I feel this way" out of my heart and into my active consciousness. I love the way she gets me to articulate my ideas and motives.

In catching up, I realized that my kids' ages have everything to do with this new level of prioritizing myself that I've finally come to. After 5 years in the haze of being only "mommy" 24/7, my kids are old enough that I don't have to have a hand on them at all times, and that's huge. I can finally take back some of my focus & attention and put it back on myself. My friend & I each have two children the same ages, but she also had her 3rd this March, and that baby has pressed the "reset" button on her countdown clock to reaching the point where I am. The baby is an angel - so easy & happy - but it's just the fact that she won't be able to sit in one room & scrapbook while all of her kids play together in another room alone for a while, yet. I think the fact that my kids are there now is a big reason why I'm not as resentful or freaked out by JB being gone so much anymore.

For almost 5 years, I was on guard 24/7 as virtually the sole teacher, disciplinarian, chef, security guard, & nurse. (I'm not putting maid on that list. Cleaning never makes my priority list, & I'm not apologizing for it. ;-)) I was flat burnt out. (Not to mention depressed & crazy homesick, but those were my issues for God to work with me on.) I was *desperate* for JB to help take the load off - to just be present, even if I was still doing most of it, to be my failsafe, my security blanket, to feel like I had some backup, to nurture *me* while I nurtured them - but he was working from 6 AM to midnight, and obviously he wanted to sleep in his time off. It truly was just an awful situation for our family. I thought it was this move that had made things so much better - a fresh start with relatively better hours (usually 8:30-10) in a fun place with so much more going on... But I see now that's only a part of it. Now that my kids are a little older, I can breathe easier. Going up & down the stairs isn't a potential life-and-death situation. They actually fall asleep & eat on their own. I don't have to worry about them choking on a toy in the playroom without me in there. I'm not their sole educator, anymore, with the blessing of Montessori preschool. In many ways, some of the pressure has lifted. And not that there aren't always new, different parenting concerns, but there's new breathing room for me.

Not to minimize how positive this move (we came here in January) has been: JB's commute is 15 minutes instead of up to an hour and a half each way; he's usually here to eat breakfast with the kids, so even though he doesn't often make bedtime, they still get time with him. The biggest plus: he can actually get home - when he's not out-of-town - so I can go to meetings & rehearsals, the other major factor in finally giving me the opportunity to have "my own life" again.

My friend also asked me how I like being back teaching dance. I love being back in a studio & getting to use my tap shoes, but it's not quite as fulfilling as The Studio in Georgia. Why? I realize now it's purely b/c of my availability. I can only teach in the mornings while my kids are at school, b/c they're still too young not to run amok if they would have to wait in the hall while I taught, and there's not a nice family waiting area in this studio. The dance rooms are in a busy community building. So I can only teach little ones who aren't in school at all, which means no recital classes. Teaching steps that build into a recital dance is a passion of mine; I love choreography! But the ages I am available to teach right now aren't at that point, and the non-recital classes are scheduled in 6-week sessions - I don't have the same girls from September-May, so there's much less bonding and no step-building. Every class is pretty much the same with a new crew every 6 weeks. It still feels wonderful to teach, and I am SO happy to be able to do it...but I do wish I had a chance to work with the same students all year towards a recital. Down the road, again...

Another personal reveal-through-conversation re: yesterday's family bday party - it's not so much huge family gatherings I long for, as much as huge "feels like family" friend gatherings. I feel like I already have that with my two BFFs from growing up when we all gather our clans, but they are 12 hours away. Maybe I'm just too Ya-Ya dreamy...