Friday, February 20, 2009

Climbing out of the pit

We had a mammoth family meeting the other day. It had been a long time coming. Months, I think. We used to have them weekly. Then our informal café dates became a place for discussion and things got looser... and progressively less effective. Sophie said, out of the blue the other day, "we need a Family Meeting." I thought about my February pit of despair and realized she was right. Things felt like they were in decay. Perhaps a meeting would help us climb out of the pit were were in.

We planned afternoon tea at a local café, at a big table where we could linger and talk. Alas both our favourite cafés were closed, one taking longer than we expected for renovations, the other just inexplicably closed. So we bought milk and cookies at the grocery store and headed home to our very own kitchen table. The little Danish cookies were a bit of a novelty and did lovely crumbly-crunchy things when dipped in hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and caramel sauce. It was a good place to start a meeting.

It took us ages to discuss all the stuff that had been piling up. The agenda included the standard five items or so, but each had to be explored in depth. Our agenda normally includes:
  1. music practicing
  2. balance of out-of-home vs. stay-at-home time and activities
  3. achieving a healthy balance on the physical front: sleep, nutrition and exercise
  4. general learning needs / desires / expectations
  5. sharing of household work
And we often have a couple of extra items that we add to these, and this week was no exception, but those five core items are the ones we always touch on, even if (especially if) they're not problematic. It's really nice to get to an agenda item and realize that it's working really well and we're all doing fine. A bit of mutual back-patting occurs and we make a point of noting exactly what we're doing that's working so well -- in case things slip off the rails. But we didn't have much of that this time! Everything needed serious discussion.

So anyway, we sat there with whipped-cream-and-cookie-crumb moustaches and talked our way through a ton of stuff. And everyone seemed to feel about a million times better afterwards. And here's what is changing as we climb out of the pit of our winter doldrums:
  • Sophie is keeping the kitchen absolutely totally spotless. Amazing!
  • Fiona and I are progressively blitzing our way through various clutter spots in the house, excavating our way through months of accumulated junk and producing tidy shiny surfaces.
  • Noah is keeping the living room tidy and clean. This is our relax-together-place, so it's extra appreciated that it now has a comfortable calm aesthetic appeal to it. (Except for the carpet. Don't look down.)
  • The practicing is getting spaced out throughout the day a bit more so that I don't have to spend my entire evening under 10 pm engaged with one kid or another on one instrument or another.
  • Noah is proceeding optimistically and efficiently through the standardized testing he's kinda supposed to do because he's a DL-enrolled Grade 7 kid.
  • The dog is getting a 45 minute walk a day -- and it's not always me doing it!
  • Dog-training is back to being a collaborative venture.
  • Clear academic priorities have been expressed and plans will be implemented in the upcoming weeks.
  • Resolutions concerning regular physical activity have been made.
  • Noah has decided to push himself a bit into a new thing and do a series of choral-singing workshops with a new local choral guy.
  • Even the hens have caught our momentum -- they've begun laying again.
Things are looking up around here.

1 comment:

  1. MIranda,
    I'm so grateful for your 'realness'. I know that is not a word but it is descriptive. Your willingness to share the difficult as well as the wonderful helps me feel like I'm not alone in my difficulties, joys etc. I really appreciate your experiences.


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