If I wrote Christmas letters, which I don't, I think this year's would look a little like this.
I'm writing to you all from deep in Advent, 2012. I'm trying to limit the time I listen to the radio, set to NPR all over the house, to keep from adding to the generally depressing change of season and light outside with news of grade school shootings. Instead I sew and cook and go girl scout camping.
This year has been a year of waiting and realization. Fiona, Daisy, and Billy all attend the same school this year, but that won't be true next. Fiona is unhappy where she is, and I'm unhappy with her prospects if she stays. So she is moving next year to a school that already has the kinks worked out. Frankly, as my friend Zelda says, I already started one school. I can't help start another. So she's going to a small Catholic school next year whose graduates attend the high schools she is interested in. Daisy's and Billy's status for next year is still up in the air, waiting for confirmation and results and knowing that the both of them have powerfully brilliant teachers next year even if we stay. So next year may be more waiting and searching.
Realization? It's been one long smack across the face for me this autumn as I realize what everyone else around me already knew about that school. Neighbors and friends puzzled over why I was so attached to it, why I wanted to work there. In the end, I didn't get the job I really wanted (the job that would have in the process eaten me alive because I don't do things halfway), and it went to someone far less qualified (as opposed to other jobs you don't get in your life, where you just shrug your shoulders and move on, I am watching the result play out in my children's classrooms.
But since I am a Blake and since we don't do endings very gracefully, I am searching for another job for next year. I've decided that middle school math is my best bet, with elementary classroom as a second try. I love art...but math is a steadier thing for my brain. Art takes so much energy. I need a job, not a life's work, at this point.
But this year has been successful in other ways. Billy graduated from speech, going from a scary diagnosis of apraxia to having no diagnosis at all in just a year and a half. It's been a long, intense year and a half with an excellent professor and her students, but now it's done! Daisy and Fiona are both active scouts, and we are fiddling with the beginnings of a traditional co-ed scout program as well.
We traveled: Upper Peninsula in August, Rock Eddy in May and October, and Fiona and I went to the Smokies with the girl scouts in July. Hiked part of the Appalachian Trail, saw an old abandoned fire tower. Cleared our heads. There's been a lot of head-clearing.
I'm biking, not this crazy week, but I'm biking. Averaging about 60 miles a week. Losing weight.
My aunt died unexpectedly in October, which threw me for a bigger loop than I had expected.
My house is a mess, my porch may not make it to 2015 when my father-in-law is scheduled to replace it, and my backyard looks like I have three kids and too many other hobbies.
Jake got a new truck. This makes him happier than I've ever seen him about a vehicle.
I shoot a lot of arrows at targets. I think about getting a new bow, noting the patina that is developing on mine where fletching flicks across the riser.
Looking forward to March, when we will go to Oklahoma to meet up with my siblings and parents to celebrate my parents' 40th anniversary. Looking forward to finding a job where I can steep myself in pre-algebra. Looking forward to Fiona finding her way next year. Looking forward.