Dear Young Mother,
Rejoice in your labor
As my busy gardening & preservation season winds down, I’m hurriedly composting plants, storing away trellises and row cover, hoeing the earth that inched down into the paths back up onto the rows, testing soil, planting garlic, sowing cover crops, and covering some of the beds with a thick cozy blanket of mulch. All important and preparatory work for an easier spring sowing season next year.
It’s been a splendid, brilliantly colored autumn, with warm days that have chased away the dread I normally feel in October when anticipating a long, dreary, dark winter cooped up indoors. The song of summer crickets is blending with the notes of the White-Throated Sparrows who returned this week bringing their reminder that winter will soon be here with each note of “Old Sam Peabody, Peabody, Peabody” sounding as though they’re recovering from laryngitis and not quite whistling with all the fullness of their snowy-colored throats.
In the spring, while each day had its own heavy load of work in the garden, and knowing that if I did it well there would be a steamy and equally busy harvest season, it was hard to imagine the autumn workload could even compare with what needed to be done now if I was to have a fruitful year. But here we are and the only thing keeping me from being overwhelmed by this workload is the sun shuttering out the light needed to see by and enabling an early retirement for the night.
While my body is still outdoors each day, my mind is beginning to shift gears and looking forward, contemplating my goals for the six children I am still educating at home. We keep what I affectionately refer to as an Agrarian School Year, built around the changing season’s demands on our time. I rejoice in the freedom not to have to teach my children on another’s timetable.
I’ve been officially homeschooling my children for 20 years now. (Unofficially, 24 years, since these little people come from the womb with a whole lot they need to know before a formal education commences.) So you can imagine my frustration yesterday when I found myself crumpled over, blubbering in tears while trying to piece together some sort of a schedule to help me achieve those aforementioned goals.
Shouldn’t this be getting easier?
I’m no longer a young mother. What they say is true, our minds really do freeze in time and when our eyes begin to catch glimpses of ourselves it comes with a small jolt of surprise at the reflection. I don’t have to work around naps or feeding schedules anymore. I’m no longer weary from the first trimester turning my blood into sludge or wondering how I’ll ever find time to finish lessons around the demands of a newborn. My “baby” is nearly nine.
Shouldn’t I be out of The Trenches™ by now?