Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Days Can Be Long But the Years Are Short

We are nearing the end of July and the summer is swimming by like Grace swims by me in her lane at the community pool at her lessons. Life with three little ones is so FULL-- full of noise, full of neediness, full of demands, full of joy, full of love. The days can stretch out so long, and when one or more of these children has a particularly bad night I sometimes get out of bed in the morning looking forward to going to sleep that night. On the other hand the months are speeding by so quickly that it is a challenge to actually notice what is happening, who these small people are, who I am. Have I over-scheduled and over-committed the summer? Is this just the season of life I am in? Will I ever feel caught up on sleep EVER?

We have less than one month until Grace starts 1st grade. This will be her first year to be in school all day and I predict that a) she will thrive and do well and b) I will miss her daily company. She is returning to our neighborhood public school after a lovely kindergarten year there. Her kindergarten teacher sounded surprised that we weren't looking into the magnet schools again but Grace had a great year socially and the academic side was acceptable for now, so we'll try another year there and see what happens. It was lovely to see her and her tiny classmates in their construction paper mortar boards as they wrapped up the year. When is the next faux graduation ceremony? After 6th grade when they leave the elementary school, I think?

Grace's last day of school

Kindergarten graduation

We will not travel at all this summer but our home city is providing more fun things to do than we could possibly take advantage of. We've been to the aviary and the zoo, Grace did a science camp at the Natural History Museum, both girls have done yoga and art and dance at little morning sessions at the preschool that Violet's been going to, there have swimming lessons and sports camp through the city rec centers, and some days we have to do normal things like shop for groceries or get hair cuts. We have gotten out of the city a little bit, most memorably out to a lovely state park with our church for a weekend of swimming, campfires, and time together. Grace and Rob camped and I drove out for the day Sunday with the two little ones.

Bird girls!

Haircut time

Singing outside

Time for swimming in the lake

I've also been preserving a lot of apricots in various forms: jam galore, halves in syrup, and a first attempt at apricot liqueur. We had a very mild winter followed by an early, warm spring and now a hot summer, so the growing season is about a month ahead of where it was last year and everything is going GANGBUSTERS. I should have kept track of how many apricots I've preserved because it is truly madness. The trees here in Utah are just going crazy this year.

Apricot-rosemary jam

It's good for me to reflect on the things I do enjoy about summer (like all the amazing food) because UGH, it is not my favorite season, especially when it is particularly hot like this year. I am thankful for the gorgeous stone fruit and cucumbers and corn and greens, and for the fact that our house is quite a bit more comfortable than last summer thanks to the replacement of a bunch of windows. We had the original windows on the ground level of our 1917 house (the basement windows are newer) and they did next to nothing to hold the air conditioning in. We replaced a bunch of them on the west side of the house with fancy new ones earlier this month and afternoons are so much more pleasant now. The new windows are pretty cool; the glass has this coating that blocks almost all the infrared radiation but lets almost all the light through. You can stand in a patch of sunlight and feel almost no heat at all. Yay!

Goodbye, 100-year-old windows

Things are moving forward with some of the job possibilities I'm looking into; they're all part-time astronomy education jobs. I will admit that on some of the longest, most tiring days I wonder if I am crazy to be considering returning to paid work right now, if adding another responsibility to my life right now will leave me with even less time to think and energy to cope. However, I feel like the timing (with us settled in Salt Lake, both girls in school/preschool in the fall, and Lewis emerging out of infancy) is good. And sometimes I think structuring my life so I get to do a bit of science education and thinking about astronomy and work for which I am paid genuine US dollars might actually help. I guess we'll see.


Eva said...

The way I see it, you are already overwhelmed and exhausted, so you might as well plan for an activity that fulfills you and brings you back to a field that you worked so hard to be part of (I'm talking about all those college and grad school years). It will never be easy to balance work and motherhood, but if you feel like you need to do it, you will find a way to do it. The kids and Rob will adapt. Good luck!, it sounds very exciting.

On a side note: your kids get cuter by the day.

Jill said...

I've been thinking about starting a science job too, but I haven't found many part-time options. Are you looking mostly at adjunct faculty positions? Good luck with your search!