Reflections, Week 8

As far as school goes, this week was low-key again. As far as life goes, it was’t.

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Garlic scapes with farm behind

Our garden is in full swing, and as I pick and chop and steam and freeze, I am left wondering about the public school schedule of September to June and if that really fits into agricultural timetables? If summer break was originally planned into school so that children could help out on the farms, I feel like the two busiest months are actually left out: June and September. In late May, here in NYS at least, everything needs to be planted (except some filed crops that go in as second plantings).  Vegetables need to be planted around Memorial Day in order to have enough time to develop and ripen but be past the threat of death by frost. Children do get Memorial Day off, but one day is not enough to get a garden large enough to keep a large family going all winter planted, let alone a whole field of vegetables meant for selling. Hmmm…

Now, what I’m finding this fall as I am trying to freeze more than I have in years past, is that public school is in it’s second full week, but I’ve got ALOT of work to do with picking and washing, chopping and steaming, draining and freezing. I’m pooped. If, in the past, the family needed help at home on the farm, how is it beneficial to have the kids at school during peak season? The best answer I can come up with is that having the kids at school gets them out of the adult’s hair, and then neighbors helped neighbors bring in the crops and do the canning. Unfortunately, I don’t have anyone to share my load with. Though my sister had wanted to can together this year, but unexpected events make it impossible for her, and I get to my jobs here and there throughout the day as the moment presents it’s self anyway, not in a planned hour.

It’s interesting to ponder why exactly school would begin in September and not October if for agricultural reasons, or was it really that warm summer temperatures make it impossible for a classroom-full of students to sit still through the day? I think that might have had something to do with it.

In addition to all the hard work we are doing to preserve our own food, Monday was Honduras’ Dia de Independencia, or Independence Day. I had planned to paint some HN flags with Elizabeth and make an Indian Bonita headdress with beans and corn, but we didn’t get it started until Sunday. Luckily, it did all get made. When my husband got home from work, he got a nice surprise: we played him the national anthem, had the flags hung up, Elizabeth showed him her headdress, and I made comida tipica for dinner.

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Honduran flag. Photo via photopin.

Again, I was struck with appreciation for my pre-organized boxed curriculum, Moving Beyond The Page, as I tend to have pretty good ideas, but when it comes to executing them, it seems like I’m always just a little disorganized or missing something I need. I found that in Peace Corps too. In the moment, when I am in the midst of whatever I had been planning but finding that I am missing something, I can see perfectly what I needed to make it totally awesome. I’m that way for presents too: the day before, or the day of, I suddenly think of an awesome present, but by then, I don’t have enough time to order it without paying an arm and a leg for shipping, so I figure that next year I’ll do it. But by next year, I’ve lost the idea and the same cycle happens. And no matter how early I begin thinking about it, it doesn’t fail to happen all over again.

What happened in school with my short-sighted planning was just that Elizabeth had troubles free drawing the flag, and until she was painting, I realized that I should have pre-drawn it for her to color in. As well, though we talked a little about Honduras’ Independence Day as merely a liberation from Spain, I had intended to go into it more, but didn’t prepare myself enough. Another part of my brain tells me, though, that she’s little, and what we did was probably enough.

Lastly, I’ve not been my best this week. Since getting my menstrual cycle back about three months ago, which I hadn’t had since before I was pregnant with my son, who just turned 18 months, my PMS is horrible. Horrible, tremendous, absolutely horrendous. I feel like Maleficent. I feel overwhelmed. I can not keep my patience. I can’t hold my tongue. And unfortunately, as the people I am most in contact with are my kids, they get the brunt of it, particularly Elizabeth because she reacts to it. And this time, it didn’t help that Paul was teething too.

But what I have said so far is not an excuse. It is not ok with me. I am not ok with me being like this, no matter what time of the month it is. I am even, I am stable, I am not loop-d-loop. Actually, one thing I have loved about life after kids, particularly after my second, is how stable I’ve felt. The mood swings are gone, no more being angry for no reason. Why be angry when I’ve got these wonderful kids and a wonderful husband?  Generally, I’ve felt soooo content.

But these past three rounds before my period, I have not been stable. It has been nearly unbearable, so I decided to ask my doctor for a solution. I have never before considered medication, usually I wait until the last minute to even take ibuprofen for a headache, but I just can’t make time for other relaxation methods, can’t fit yoga or meditation in, Zumba and horseback riding are out just now. My whole life is wrapped up in my family, my outlets are writing and cooking. That’s just the way it is right now. So, my doctor prescribed me an anti-depressant to take only during those PMS days even though I am still nursing. I just started it, so it hasn’t begun affecting me yet, but I know I feel a lot better just recognizing that I need some help and then asking for it.

Your turn to chime in: How do you stay sane when it all seems overwhelming, whether by feminine cycles or just plain old life?

Do you celebrate any cultural holidays in your school/home? If so, in what way?

Why do you think a public school year runs from Sept. to June in relation to historical agricultural necessities?

Happy autumn equinox!

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