It’s been an exhausting few weeks.
My community is in an uproar over the highschool production of To Kill A Mockingbird, which exposed the school’s ugly power dynamic, ineffective school board governance, and of course, very loud obnoxious white lady style racism.
We spent a week vacationing with family up north, with all the emotional weight, good and bad, that entails. Note: vacationing with a six year old and a two year old is not vacationing; it’s a trip away, yes, but not a vacation.The school district’s survey to gain support for a $55m to $120m referendum came out (I’m part of a small group trying to get the financial facts and consequences out to the public). I somehow got myself on the Beautification committee of the PTO. There are fliers to hand out, doors to knock on and troops to rally. And parent teacher conferences were on Thursday.
Oh, and while we’re were at it we refinanced the house, with all the paperwork and worry that involves. On Wednesday, after five years of doing everything else ourselves in this fixer upper, we finally signed the construction contract for the complete gutting renovation of the kitchen and first floor. Good grief. Also, I guess I really live here now.
I’ve spent a lot of time these past two weeks thinking about what I want my kids to be exposed to, what kind of community I want them to grow up in, how my values aren’t always reflected in this village.
I’ve also been caught out a few times on my own internal village, how we don’t always live our values right here in this house. Teacher conferences gave me a glimpse of Viv’s world (all week she’s been telling her class stories of the wonderful time she had at the cottage!). I’m freshly aware of how we talk to each other as Charlie explores the boundaries of being a bossy two year old, tests out “No!”, and imitiates Mama and Papa with his dollies. I’m not always proud of what is reflected.
But, I learn. And I grow. And when ashamed, I try really hard to step forward with new approaches instead of retreating into old habits.
In the end, when they are grown and reflect on their upbringing, I hope their view of their family is like Viv’s clandestine photo portrait of us. There we are, tired and resigned. But together, and with faint smiles on our faces. At the table with each other and not too much yelling.