The mark of the new school year and the subsequent fall was a peculiar time.
Crit entering Kindergarten did not serve quite the blow that pre-K did. Girl was READY! She was ready to learn to write down the lyrics to the songs she makes up. and i was ready to see her love it like i did. only it did not play out like that right outta the gate. she dragged her feet in the mornings. she looked over her shoulder 5 times between the car and the front door. she only talked about the rules. about learning to “zip your lips” and sit on this square. or she never had time to finish her lunch. or she got reprimanded for getting out of line in the hallway to hug Katfish – her only connection to LOVE she had all day – and she got in trouble for acting on it. and she wasn’t learning to read as she had hoped. she was working on a letter a week…when she already knew them before pre-K.
it was sad and disappointing.
it got better. she learned the rules of the system. and we talked about some rules being just plain stupid. and that sometimes, when being cool or being kind are at stake, then it is worth the consequence of breaking a stupid rule. so what…owing “time-to-the-teacher” is a small price to pay when you have one final question you have been dying to ask Miss Sayers all art class and you finally get the chance when it is time to line up in a straight line and stare at the back of the kid in front of you, because that is where he is placed alphabetically. feeding your heart and your brain are, indeed, more important than taking-your-place-in-line.
Squawk started out on a different foot. He charged into Pre-K with his arms and his heart wide open! It began on his 4th birthday. my heart never swelled so big in my life than to witness his sublime joy about both milestones. this summer with his cousins, this fall with his classmates, and the past two years with a speech therapist, have catapulted his communication development into a new dimension. he is a confident and kind boy who has learned to play it cool…most of the time.
The peeps wake up at 6:30am. We have breakfast, change clothes, dress for winter, and head for school by 7:15am. Since the start of December, Daddo plows them to school every morning. I come in later. Run all the errands, conduct the business, and spin my wheels at the coffee shop. I get Devlin at 12:00pm…and we spent the fall chilling together in the camper trailer that we parked at our old house in Painted Hills. We hiked and biked and picnicked too…It was in the camper trailer that Dev earned his town moniker “Puzzle Master”. It’s what the ladies at the Opp Shop call him. and he deserves it. he was crushing the 100 pieces mostly on his own, with a system that works for him that has nothing to do with separating corners and edges.
Team Neidens journeyed together to NC in late September. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of SOAR. and the trip was spectacular. it was chock full of friends and love and gratitude and beauty and deciduous trees. we laughed and smiled and enjoyed and hiked and appreciated and connected. and reconnected. and experienced. and fed all of our senses and our hearts.
and i left the homies behind in Charlotte and took a 40th birthday celebration low country road trip and retreat with Tara. and it too was fabulous. a celebration and recollection of all that has been and a solid commitment to the best being yet to come. i certainly needed and benefited from the real vacation of it.
i came back from that trip a little fired up with some new goals i set for myself…and it was not long after my return that i realized that now, is still, not the time. for me.
what? time for you? but you just rode your bike from Canada to home-sweet-home. that was certainly time for-you.
i know i know. but somehow, that was time away from me. and as soon as i rolled up to the finish line…my life’s curtains swung wide open and it was time for the next act…only i never rehearsed for anything beyond the finish line.
when it hit me that my primary responsibilities included transport to and from school and soccer and providing 3 nutritious meals a day, i called on La Madre to step up and run the show. i even told a few people that when they checked in with me this fall.
“it’s all cool”, i’d say, “La Madre is back in charge. and now that know that i can accept that, i can roll with it and crush it.” except i couldn’t really crush it. i knew my jobs each day were to nourish, to love, and to transport, my people.
but i had just ridden my bike, along the continental divide, and arrived safely back home. La Madre kind of got left in the dust somewhere in Montana. She offered up what she could, and kept me safe in all the situations I needed safety, but she is no longer the hero that serves me best. She acquiesces, which is necessary, but does not conform to the growth i seek.
It was Hardscrabble that trained me for the event. She thrives in the frigid temps, the sloshy mud, the odds-stacked-against-her. She makes the things happen that aren’t even things. She is a bad-ass mo-fo…but she has a real selfish side. all my alter-egos have a throbbing tragic flaw.
so i spent me time wondering what the eff-is-next?!?!
there is just too much concern for Ultra Violet to lead the ship, she does best when she’s on her own…
La Madre can only be a part of the solution. She’s too flipping soft, she does best as part of the solution…
Hardscrabble does not leave enough soft space for nurturing a family…she does best when the going gets the toughest
Right now, it is The Hero of Horse Creek that wears the title. a completely new and necessary super-hero for me.
I lobby for the title constantly. have been for years. yet, my homies deny me.
now i say – whatevs.
i am the Hero of Horse Creek.
i wake up each morning, boil the water to make my coffee, and prepare breakfast.
i make sure clothes are picked out and changed into. i make sure lunches are ready and nutritious, and healthy. i make sure slips are filled out, that there is an appropriate show-and-tell object, that each child has slippers because we are the only ones who wear snow boots everyday.
i show up for yoga Monday nights and Wednesday mornings, and i spend time preparing for each class. I dedicate time each week to think about the people who come to class and what i know that can help them best in meeting their needs.
i ski with the homies, and sled with them too. i try to allow them the platform to learn how delightful engaging with the world around us can be.
we listened to the wolves howl as we soaked in the hot tub on Christmas Eve.
i down-play material possessions and i wear the same clothes i’ve worn since the day they were born.
i am living far far beyond my wildest dreams. and some days i am just trying to keep up. and other days, i am floating on cloud nine above the life i’ve fallen into.
Right now, today, i am preparing for Deep Woods to be gone for two weeks into the tropical jungles of Costa Rica, while i manage this life at home. The thought of keeping-this-up-without-him brings me to my knees. it is SO MUCH WORK. but i will do it. and i will crush it. one way or an other.
i will try to keep the road open. i will try to plow my homies into town for their public education….but when i no longer can, when it serves us best to stay out here in the frontier, i will crush that too.
The life i am living, seems so normal and natural to me on an everyday basis. It is only the times i step back to look at the greater picture that i recognize the extraordinary in it.
I am dreaming my life. i am living my dream.
and it is not easy.
but i’d have it no other way.
The Hero of Horse Creek: the 2017 mash-up of all the super-hero alter egos that have gone before me, who have met me here, ready to crush it.