These days, I’ve fallen into a daily rhythm with Les and my kids. Most mornings, Les and I spend thirty minutes or so together for a coffee date before he goes to work.  I cherish them, even though many mornings they are crashed by one of our many radars.

When my big boys emerge from slumber, they start on their independent foundational school work while I do stuff with Gabriel and Symeon.  Niki, many times, still finds her way into my mornings through a few texts too. A question. A photo of a school project. A story.

In the afternoon, Symeon takes a nap and I work on an ongoing project with my boys. “Project” may be too big of a word for it though. Sometimes it’s reading a story together and marking a spot on a map.  Othertimes, it encompasses a more involved undertaking – all of which requires me to have already made my own that which I am teaching.  Therefore, I’m trying to pick topics that I already know a fair amount about and if I don’t, I spend my evenings learning about it before teaching a simpler version to my kids.

This school year, without a doubt, is my best school year yet as far as flow and the amount getting accomplished.  It would have been nice had someone shared my big boys’ birthmother’s medical history with me – letting me know that she had fetal alcohol effects and that she also drank while she was pregnant. But…maybe this entire journey over the past 11 years was meant to be. Meant to bring me right where I am today.  Working through my frustration and dead ends via writing. Reflecting. Learning. Sharing. Creating. Enduring.  I don’t know…

Evenings are spent with daddy. Everyone runs to him when he walks through the door.  He tells me about his day while I’m making dinner, sometimes over a glass of wine. Then chores. Talks. Kids to bed. Audiobooks. There’s always the hope for a few more minutes with Les in the evenings or a few moments to read in the peace and dimmed light of the house – but life sometimes dictates other plans…and that’s okay.

Many evenings are spent talking to a teenage son (one in particular right now) about choices, beliefs, taking responsibility for his actions.  Topics such as choosing friends, relationships with girls, art, tv shows, video games…the list goes on. We keep re-visiting a specific topic with all three of the boys.  One that I think applies to everyone across the board, including myself – worrying about oneself instead of trying to fix everyone else through helpful advice. It’s a hard one. I’ve explained to my boys that it will always be easier (in our eyes) to fix someone else’s problems and mistakes. The only effort involved is sharing a few words of “wisdom” with the other person. The belief that if everyone would just do what I told them to do and their life will be great – isn’t how it works. The easy part will always be acquiring the knowledge. The hard – and far more IMPRESSIVE – part will always be actually controlling oneself and putting that knowledge into action. How many of us know how we should eat? How many of us have lived a roller coaster ride of actually doing it? How many of us know how we should pray, fast, give alms, go to confession regularly, go out of our way to help family and friends…?

My child’s choices will always be their own. I will always try to guide them to the best of my ability but ultimately their actions reflect the choices they’ve made.

Acquire a peaceful spirit, and around you thousands will be saved. – St. Seraphim of Sarov

Nothing about acquiring peace is easy because it requires forgiving all, loving all, and living it every single day.

My days are not perfect, in the sense of nothing needs improving, but I sure do feel like life these days is perfect. Life has left me tattered and bruised in the past. Enduring to make it through and to the other side. And even though I never want to go through any of it ever again, I will always value and appreciate that which it has taught me.

These days, I find that I made it…to the other side once again. Those experiences have allowed me to appreciate more these days. Get upset by less. Find joy in the small and big alike. Left me striving to always improve myself. Finding myself falling often, but reaching for the hand that has always pulled me back up again.