Saying “no” is not easy. We grow so accustomed to our lives that it feels like there are things we just can not live without, or rather things that would not function if we were not involved. We can not imagine not doing XYZ, because we have always done it. Saying “no” means stepping back and taking an honest look at life, yourself and the assumptions you have made.
Things are better now than they were this past Fall/Winter, but they are still tough. I can feel the stress start to creep in, the feeling of things being on the verge of crumbling in one big mess. I take a deep breath and remember to just do the next thing, not to try to fix or do everything right now.
I told my MOPS group that I could not volunteer again for the upcoming year. I loved helping in this group, but knew that my home, my kids, and my true calling came first. Also, I was much better at getting to know new moms one-on-one, rather than as a leader. I volunteered on the Steering Committee because I knew that I could do the job, not because it was really where I shine. It was time for someone else to have the opportunity to step up.
I had to tell Olaf’s parents that I could not continue to watch him over the summer. This was a bit easier, as they had more options with school being out to find other arrangements. He still comes over some, but not several times a week. We’ll see what the new school year brings, but I think I am going to have to continue to say “no” to this one. With Jack being home school and beginning 1st grade, I am looking to set more of a routine than I did last semester. Watching another kid for several morning a week really sort of limits what we can do. This was one “no” that made me really sad, as I was doing it because I knew it was helping out a friend, not because of the money. Jack and Olaf also get along really well and I know they miss seeing each other.
Unlike the past 8 years, I started no garden plants at home. Zilch. I was trying to keep the house above freezing. Getting the basement picked up enough to start plants was not exactly high on the list. I gave myself grace to buy plants this year. You know what? I still somehow ended up with:
- over 10 tomato plants
- 26 pepper plants
- 80 onion sets
- tons of radishes
- 3 cabbage plants (though I don’t think they will do anything)
- Zinnias and marigolds
- several handfuls of green bean plants
- a zucchini plant
- 3 unknown vine-ing plants
- 4 or 5 cucumbers
- and berry bushes/plants of various varieties.
I will say that I think it worked out okay this year.
Fast forward 3 months and I am in a slightly better place. There are still a lot of things I have stopped doing, for now, but have picked back up a few. I am also weighing whether I want to begin doing some things again in a few months when life calms down even more, hopefully.
As it turns out, Olaf does come two half days a week. He goes to preschool in the mornings, so Jack and I are able to get his school work done before Olaf comes. Usually. Sometimes we are finishing as they are walking in the door.
The house remodel/work is nearing completion. Not fully there, but oh so close. My husband is finally able to see what I saw in my mind when we started this adventure. The finishing touches on the drywall should be completed next week. Then painting, finishing electrical work and install light fixtures, install a small HVAC system for the new room, flooring, and finally trim and doors. Yes, I know it is still not an extremely short list, but it is all quick stuff and some can be done simultaneously.
I have continued to say “no” to the produce stand. A few people have asked me if I was planning to do it, to which I reply, “I have thought it was time to begin it several times lately, but was reminded that it was not time just yet.” I was doing yard work outside today when someone stopped by looking for a particular item. I did not have what she was looking for but told her I would see if I could find someone who did. Seems roma tomatoes were not very popular to plant with gardeners in our are this year. In talking with her, though, I mentioned I had hot peppers (that were planted to have something in that spot besides weeds) if she wanted them. I would give them to her just so they could be used and not wasted. And that, Dear Readers, is the extent of me ‘selling’ produce.
I also have not canned up any items. There have been several bags of tomato soup added to the freezer, but nothing canned. Thanks to previous years’ efforts I am still well stocked on most items and should be able to make it through to the next canning year. I did relent and purchase commercially made spaghetti sauce. I think pizza sauce will be the next thing I run out of and have to go buy.
There are more areas in life which have been affected by this attitude, the feeling that I have more say in my life. It is a nice feeling to have when the expectations of others begin to feel more important than what you know is best for your family. It is a nice feeling to have, to be able to clear things off your plate so you have room to enjoy the what is left.
When my blog took an unexpected vacation, thanks to an error in a line of code, I was left examining the roll blogging plays in my life. I felt a loss of the memories I have shared on here these past few years, ones that I have not journaled about. This blog was begun at a point when taking time to hand write daily events seemed too overwhelming. It also provided a mental break for me, challenging me to keep growing while also being able to share a love of mine. Was I ready to give it up at the drop of a hat? Should I give it up? Why not? What if I did? What creative outlet could I use instead, which would be realistic at this time?
These are questions I ask myself from time to time, but never faced with such a high likelihood of it actually happening. This time, the questions felt very real, not just something out of the air to think through and debate. I would rather have been thinking through which library books to get for Jack, new methods to help George get the next math step, or any other of the many decisions I could have been doing at that point. These questions, however uncomfortable I felt thinking through them, had to be examined. I was not willing to just keep going because that is what I have been doing for the past few years.
The thankfulness and relief I felt when the customer service representative told me the code had been fixed and that all should be back to the way it was, answered for me all the questions I had been asking myself. It was a much different feeling from the relief I felt when I realized I would not have to be staying up for a few hours several evenings one week canning spaghetti sauce.
As I continue through the next few months, finishing up the work on the house, settling in to a home school routine, and going through daily life I am going to continue evaluating things as they come up. It is so easy to let little things get added to your plate. Before you know it, you have no room for the things you really want.