This morning I am on my own for a brief time. After a couple of years of being on my own a lot, I find myself alone very little. Perhaps this is why I’m writing less. I miss the writing. And I don’t. With blogging, there is always the fine line, or the gray area, the tricky boundary of personal and public. For me, as family child care provider, mom, now member of a charter school founders’ group, it is often hard to know what is fair game for this blog, what is too private, what is not mine to share. Now is one of those times, I suppose, where I feel the need to keep a certain curtain around things..the school is moving forward, and in a tricky political time, of having been asked to move forward with our application, and gaining public awareness of our school, and there is so much to do there it can feel both awesome and overwhelming. The day care is taking shape again, new kids in fall, after school program much diminished, under-enrolled for now, and I am a bit stuck as to how to change that, no longer a parent at the Healey, no longer able to provide transportation from school, not sure of the proper online venue for advertising openings, of the target audience, if there is one, as after school has always been for families I’ve known before, either for kids who’ve left the day care or for siblings of those in care. Moving to a public ad for random kids to come and join us for two hours a day, in our day care space with little ones napping, or in my house, feels like a breach in some way, intimate offering to an unknown public. My kids are teenagers and adolescents. Writing about their lives, taking their pictures, focussing too much here on what they do feels invasive to them. I don’t know how to write much about my teens without overstepping boundaries that might turn them away. And my personal life feels private again in a way maybe it didn’t when the changes I was experiencing due to separation and divorce felt so enormous, life changing, and in many ways, visible to the world, in some ways invisible and needing to be seen. The aloneness, in any case, drew me to the writing, to a place to ease my mind, to put my thoughts outside my head, a place to make sense of a story gone wrong.

So, now what to write about. I really don’t know. I loved putting words to air here the last three years. I loved taking pictures of the flowers and the kids and sharing them with you. My energy’s shifted. Life feels overfull some days. Time to write is scarce, or there are other things I’d rather do. My kids and my school work feel somewhat off limits for this blog, and take up huge chunks of my mind, as do other things that I’d not feel comfortable sharing on a blog. I’ve not been to a conference, or read a new educational book for awhile. The Writers’ Almanac and Spirituality and Practice come every day, but I don’t read them every day any more. Right now, it’s time to go to work, time to start another day, and I’ve written, in hopes of coming to some purpose or inspiration, and mostly rambled on, new stage of midlife again, perhaps, finding my way over increasingly shallow hills, peaks and valleys less profound, stepping with some increasing assuredness along the path, still not much idea where I’m going, but less fear of falling off a cliff or ending up on the sidewalk all alone waiting for someone to happen by and help. Divorce and life after are a story I never wrote, a stage of life I may have wondered about, but never fleshed out enough to imagine beyond could I do it and would I survive, answers appear to be yes, story is very slowly taking shape, seems not terribly full of drama, other than of the interior kind.

Last night I dreamed I was painting outside my house. I have begun to worry already about this winter’s shoveling. My neighbor the alderman came over to talk, complimented me on my work, commented on the paint I was using, his castoff, told me he had to buy three cans to get a good one, while I felt proud to have been able to use his castoffs and make it work. Feels like much of life is like that right now, making due with castoffs, living in the generosity of the world and the discipline of a frugal mind, holding it together, if sometimes tenuously, and with a plan that will get me through the week, hopefully the month and year, with some vague notions beyond that, where I hope to live to a grand old age, in some story I have yet to invent.

Which reminds me that the sad news I read this morning, about the radical educator John Taylor Gatto, who spoke at the last AERO conference I attended, inspired me and my friend, signed my book while talking to me about the Greenbergs and SVS, has had a serious stroke. Vito Perrone, of Harvard Ed School, The North Dakota Study Group, and Fairtest, among other things, friend and mentor to my cooperating teacher at Central Park East, as well as mentor to one of my current day care mom’s, has died. The older generation of progressive educators, those who brought me into this modern world of school, are older and older each day, some now gone. Makes me wonder how to grab hold of their energy and legacy while I can, in an attempt to get back to that larger world, I’ve signed up for the Coalition for Essential Schools Fall Forum in November, and if I can get the day off work, I’ll go..one step at a time, big world, little world, here I come.

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