We went to the Saratoga Automobile Museum today with 'A's preschool class. It was my first time there (but not the girls' - they went with my dad and Marilyn a few months ago). The gentleman who led the tour was very good with this age group - lots of interaction and activity, very little listening required.

This popcorn and peanuts car was my favorite! The woman who created it drove it until 9 years ago. Wow! The museum is pleased that they got to buy it instead of Jay Leno.

I watched the inauguration today with the girls on my lap. I knew it would be a big event - in fact, I consider it to be one of the biggest events in our nation's social and political history - but I am very surprised by how much it has affected me physically. I feel so relieved now, almost wiped out. It's like I'm starting to calm down after a long and stressful nightmare. I'm feeling a new sense of relaxation. I am able to breathe.

I have other good reasons for feeling happy and peaceful too. I've been letting Mother Nature do her thing and bring me back to my center, my place inside where I feel good and loving and whole. I've been on this journey for a few months now. My only goal at the beginning was to better connect with my children and Jeff. I understand that travel will be a part of Jeff's job and I accept that, but it doesn't change the fact that when he's gone for a week or longer at a time over and over again, and we barely talk on the phone during that time, our relationship, as good as it is, changes temporarily. And speaking of changes, my children are so young and ever-changing. To stay connected to them means actively tuning in and making them a priority in my daily life. I know that sounds obvious, but if you stop and take a look around, I bet you can find people you know who don't put their children first.

I've been doing a kind of active meditation when it comes to interacting with Jeff and the girls. I've been making a point to be present in the moment when we are together, to see the beautiful parts of them, to be patient and sympathetic with them. I've pretty much funnelled all of my energy into this healing process, evidenced by my lack of social life, creative hobbies and housekeeping. Along the way I've made time for my health too and I've been exercising regularly, which feels great.

Recently I have been overcome with wonderful feelings of peace and love. My relationship with Jeff is great and is only getting better. The girls are fabulous. I feel like I am able to communicate with them so much better than ever. We don't have that many struggles anymore or many whiny moments. I see them learning and growing right before my eyes. What got me was realizing that I spend pretty much all day every day guiding, loving, disciplining, teaching 'A' and 'H', and what I get in return is a healthy dose of unconditional love from them that fuels me and makes me whole in a way I never imagined I could be. They really are the source of my happiness, and I am starting to understand more fully what that phrase "a mother's love..." really means. When I'm plugged in with them, I don't need a break from them, I just need more of them. I don't get exasperated by them, I get more amused every day. Watching them experience the world for the first time is the most magical thing in the world. This is it. This is the meaning of life. And I'm living it right now.

All of this is not to say that life here is blissful and perfect, but it does feel like heaven to me. Just yesterday, actually, I made a bad parenting decision and I ended the day feeling like I let myself and 'A' down. It was the afternoon, during 'H's nap, and she and I sat down to work on a puzzle together. She is sick, so more than ever she was asking for my attention. The phone rang, and I answered it. Instead of getting down to business and hanging up, I talked. And it kept ringing, and I kept talking. She was at loose ends and was begging for me to be with her. That's a specific case where I knew exactly what I was doing. I have made it a point to not talk on the phone when I need to be with her, and I wasn't happy with myself yesterday.

On a different, but somewhat related note, I have been taking in a lot of information about different methods of educating children. It all started when I was wondering what the heck we were going to decide to do about preschool next year. And now I'm still gathering information because I'm finding that it's helping me to be a better communicator with them.

One of the things I am learning about is the Waldorf philosophy. Until a month ago I knew nothing about it, but you wouldn't believe how many current and former elementary school educators are singing it's praises. If someone finds out I'm not putting Abby in a preschool program next year, the topic of the Waldorf philosophy usually works it's way in. One of the approaches I've borrowed from it and applied to our daily life is the notion of paying attention to the rhythms that are found in every day life. Young children need to have a rhythmical flow to the day that will allow them to think creatively and also allow them time to be close to their caretaker - or mother, in our case. Sometimes they need time to be close and listen to a story or a song, other times they need time for free, unobstructed play, and then there are lots of activities in between. By tuning into the girls' rhythms and structuring a consistent day around what they need, I've found that our lines of communication have opened up quite a bit. It's easier for them when we do things according to when they are ready, not when me and the rest of the world are ready.

So today, I have a lot of things to be thankful for.


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About Me

My name is Jillian. I started this blog as a way to experiment with my camera and it's a become a nice little spot where I enjoy spending time. I'm a mother to 6 and 4 year old daughters, wife to a cool computer guy, and mama to a cuddly cat. We enjoy eating local, organic food; managing several food allergies; homeschooling with love; spending time in nature; and we love to take time each day to be creative. You can also find me over at From Scratch Club from time to time. Welcome!