Sometimes, you just have to let it all go.
The year we moved into this house dh had a bad health crisis and auto accident on December 19th. The brand new neighbor, who I had just invited for coffee and cake that very evening stayed with my girls till 3:00am while I took my son with me to the ER to be with dh. Her generosity extended and she shared their Christmas Eve tradition with us, that year and every year since. We gather together for Chinese take-out. The first year this sounded incredulous, but I wasn't really in a position to be picky. I was overwhelmingly grateful to have such a great friend and neighbor. Now, several years and Christmas Eve's later, it is something we treasure. Thoughts of a fancy, Christmas Eve buffet that takes days to prepare? I've let it go.
This year, for the first time in my life, I did not prepare every element of our Thanksgiving meal fro scratch. I added fresh veggies and homemade stock to a bag of Arnold's stuffing. Turns out, my kids can't tell the difference between my cranberry mold and a can of Ocean Spray. And my oldest likes the ridges the can makes. The potatoes and gravy were all from scratch, but everything else started out partially prepared. It was a lovely, relaxed meal. Thinking I have to prepare every element of every meal from scratch? I've let it go.
Homeschooling is wonderful blessing, and something I am not willing to compromise. My kids are still little and retain their sponge like curiosity. While in the middle of one lesson, we often detour to further explore another, and the next thing you know an hour or two has gone by. Do you know how Henry Hudson died? Interesting. I used to schedule our school day, it was inconceivable to me that a day could go by without any of the lessons on our plan being fully completed. Fortunately for my children I have let that go. We now still have our plan, but detours and impromptu field trips enhance our learning, rather than interrupt it. Rigid scheduling? I've let it go.
I have never been a meticulous housekeeper. Our home is clean, but it could never be called neat. We have 3, home schooled children, a cat, a fish, a super sized tortoise and a large, active puppy. Every flat surface is covered in paper of some sort, bills, directions, recipes, artwork...you name it. I used to panic when the doorbell rang unexpectedly. But I have learned that most people with kids are relieved to see that your home is no different than theirs! I have also learned that it is an accepted fact of homeschooling, and other homeschoolers don't even notice. That means the welcome mat is always out and our door is always open. This has been one of the best blessings in my life. Those unexpected treasures, like a pot of hot soup, or a friend stopping by to share a cup of coffee. Our friends know that our door is always open to them, any time. No need to call, or worry that you are interrupting something. Our home is available, and so are we. Putting schedules above relationships? I've let that go.
My son has always had migraines. They are increasing in both frequency and intensity in the last several months. I have spent countless hours calling doctors, making appointments, taking him to specialists, making follow up phone calls, fighting with the insurance company...whew! What a chore. Then my son gets a headache and life stops. The laundry stays in the washer, the dishes stay in the sink and life literally stops. He and I cuddle and snuggle and whisper and huddle. My oldest occupies my youngest quietly and everyone pitches in to make K3 as comfortable as possible. Once he falls asleep, all of those chores will still be there waiting, but he will know that for as long as it takes, he has our love and support. Putting the house above the home? I've let that go.