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Calm before the storm of Monday

Dear Mom,

I am up with Matthew at 6:00 this morning, and realize that we probably won’t be able to visit this weekend with all I have to do! So, thought I would at least get a letter off to you. Kim is coming on Tuesday and I have to prepare the kid’s files AND clean the schoolroom before then. The rest of the house badly needs organizing too. (Kim is coming for dinner on Tuesday too) I need to organize a shopping list, clip coupons and make up a menu for next week, AND go shopping, work on another chapter for the book, answer letters. This doesn’t even begin to tell you how overwhelmed I am feeling once again! And somewhere amidst all this I have to find time to work with Michael on reading and spend time with Beth on our history timeline! But then, I almost believe that if I wasn’t so busy, I might not like it!

Some things never change.  This letter is dated 1995 and 15 years later, here I am the weekend before school begins, trying to pull everything together before  Monday; cleaning the schoolroom/office and organizing the bookshelves and respective piles of workbooks, texts, and school supplies.

I am sure this does not happen to other mothers:  I am cleaning off the shelves to organize our schoolbooks when I come across some papers that need to be filed. In the file I discover some Chuck E. Cheese pictures that I want to add to my binder of letters and “school photos” (aka Chuck E. Cheese photos. Yes, some families do school pictures or professional photos every year, I have our Chuck E. Cheese photo booth poses.) Since my mother gave me back the letters I’d written her, I keep my favorites in plastic sleeves in a binder, along with some of these “school photos.”  So, in the name of organization, I pull out that binder in order to add the photos.  And, of course, I start reading. And reminiscing. And like mothers all over the world, I look at these pictures and marvel at how rapidly that time went.  From the cute little baby that looks like she just arrived across the border (Abby, 2003) to the very last picture Matthew posed for at Chuck E. Cheese (2009, just turned 16) these pictures speak a thousand words to me.

And before I know it, an hour has passed and I am no closer to completing my task than I had been when I woke up this morning.

Looking back at the letter I’d written my mother 15 years ago, I think about how so many things are the same now: I’m still homeschooling, writing, clipping coupons, and still feeling overwhelmed some days.  And how many things have changed: I’m no longer nursing a baby or toddler, changing diapers, or putting my marriage on the back burner.

Some things change. Some things stay the same.

I’m still wondering if I might just do my best work amid chaos and commotion.

And if I would even like it if my life weren’t so hectic, if I could slow down some, enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere. Would I be getting more done?

I’ll let you know in 15 years.

Or not.

I may just be too busy.


Author, public speaker, and workshop presenter for community colleges, libraries, women's groups and for grief support groups, Hospice and retreats. Certified grief counselor and Senior Service librarian for the James Kennedy Public library. Popular public speaker and workshop presenter on the topics of writing, couponing, utilizing your creativity in everyday life, and finding hope in grief. "Coupon Crazy: The Science, the Savings, and the Stories Behind America's Extreme Obsession" was published by Familius Publishing in 2014. "Chemo-Therapist: How Cancer Cured a Marriage" and "Refined By Fire: A Journey of Grief and Grace" were released by Familius in 2014. "Mary & Me: A Lasting Link Through Ink," co-written with Mary Jedlicka Humston of Iowa City, was published in September 2015. Grief journal to be released in 2018.

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