When the music changes, so does the dance.
For two-and-a-half years, our large-ish family has lived in very small quarters. When we were a family of six, we lived in a thirty-five square-foot 5th wheel for a year. In the past year and a half, and now as a family of seven, we've snuggly nestled into a 1,000 square foot cabin. There has been so much grace for it for so long. As strange as it sounds, I love a good challenge, and that -- married with my affection for minimalism -- has kept me on my toes in a happy sort of way for a long time now. The thing is, our children are growing. The oldest two definitely feel the need for more living space as their bodies and social lives grow and mature. Having four children share a 10'x10' room has been rough on their changing selves.
I am oh so happy to announce that we will be expanding the cabin! Plans are in the works and I look forward to sharing them with you as they come along, but building won't start until after the oncoming rainy season ends, around May. What do we do in the meantime? The music is changing. We have mastered the dance to the first verse. The second verse is coming, but there is a bridge that we must learn to dance to first. It's new and thrilling and a little bit unsettling, but beautiful all at the same time and we are all doing our best to change along with it.
After praying, budgeting, and praying some more, we have decided to send our oldest three children to our church's private school this year. This is a massive change in our family's life. All we know is home schooling. I honestly love educating our children at home for countless reasons, but this bridge calls for something very different. We believe it will help our older three to get a little more breathing room. To make new friends. To see that the spiritual culture of the home reaches beyond our family and into our community. The children are quite thrilled with this new change of plans and can't wait to experience every foreign element of a traditional school program.
On a personal level, my dance will consist of rest and preparation. I've come to realize that after giving birth to this amazing little man of ours, I've been tossed a bit in the ebbs and flows of the baby blues. Not a depression, but there is definitely a fragility in my emotions that wasn't there before I was pregnant. One moment I'll be just fine, and then a little situation that would normally not be a big deal will knock me off my feet. In an attempt to listen to my body and care for it's needs so I can care for my family, I believe a break from teaching the three r's (reading, 'riting, 'rithmetic) will be beneficial for my relationship with the children. This also frees me up to invest in our two little ones during the mornings. They will become my little garden helpers as we embark on preparing a quite sizable garden that we've dreamt about. Our four-year-old already expresses great delight in gardening, and little mister five-month-old just likes to be wherever his people are (especially when we're outside), so I think it will be a sweet season for everyone.
On a practical note, this will be the first time we'll have to wake up early every weekday morning. We will also learn how to pack (nourishing) lunches. So many rhythms that most families already know quite well will be brand new to us this year. We might look awkward at times as we learn, but we all have such a peace about it; more peace than I ever thought I'd have with such a decision as this. In two short weeks, the Riddles Seven will change their dance.