Wednesday, January 27, 2016

twenty seventh









It's the twenty seventh day of the year and I'm sitting here with an anxious feeling in my tummy that won't go away. These photos don't really have anything to do with my anxious feeling except that when I look at them they tell the story of a simple life and my anxiety is that I'm about to lose all of that. I feel like our family potato picking days are numbered. That things are about to get crazy.

From next Tuesday my two big girls will start going to a school that is 50 minutes drive away from here. That's 50 minutes drive one way, which means that if I take them in in the morning and come home in between, that's four hours of my day spent in the car. Unfortunately from what we can work out none of the public transport available works.

I am incredibly lucky because my farmer boy and my parents are going to share the load. And without a doubt the driving is worth it because the school they are going to go to is going to be incredible, but still. Our life as a family is going to change. Our farm life is going to change. And Miss Pepper who will still go to school in Daylesford, her life is going to change too.

The other day at spinning group an older woman told me to embrace this change. To enjoy the challenges and opportunities that this new stage in life brings. She said that although it feels enormous to me now, that time will fly and soon we'll be in a different phase. My farmer boy keeps quoting her back at me. He likes Charlotte's way of thinking.

And I am trying. Another woman I met told me about the knitting group that runs in a nearby town on Tuesday mornings and then invited me back to her house afterwards each week for a private spinning class. I could also spend time in a local library writing my blog or notes I have for a book. I can think of loads of ways to pass the time if I stay for the school day so there's less driving, but then I'm away from here. And if I'm away from here then less farming will get done, less house stuff and cooking will get done, I'll spend less time with Pepper and in our community and with Bren. And if he does it then he'll miss out on all of that and me.

Not to mention the girls whose lives will shift. Home will remain here but their friends will all live further away and so their social lives will move further away too.

Mostly I feel positive and optimistic about what's to come. This school feels like an opportunity we cannot pass up. I sat through speeches by the principal, head of campus and teachers yesterday with tears in my eyes. This is going to be a really wonderful place to learn and I feel like it'll provide our girls with the best education we could hope for for them.

But things are definitely going to change, and part of me misses the simplicity and slowness and ease of now already.


xx

25 comments:

  1. That school does sounds amazing and John Marsden is obviously a legend.. I read a fantastic article in The Australian some time back about Candlebark school, so it does sounds like an incredible opportunity. It's a huge commitment in your part and I totally get why you're concerned, but I think you just have to hope it will work out.. You have great people around you helping. I used to travel over an hour to school each day (but luckily we had a bus) but I loved my school and it was great having friends from all over. My kids now walk to school; we're 5 minutes away and I must admit it is hugely convenient but we don't get to live in a lovely forest like yours!!

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  2. I feel anxious just reading it all Kate. But I feel like you guys will be AOK. I bet you guys put so much thought & talks & love & planning into the decision so I'm sure it'll work out. It'll just take some time but you'll all figure it out x

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  3. Life is sent to try us. How we deal with our trials defines us. You'll find a way and it will work for you and your family :-) xxx

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  4. Your family is growing up, and your very rich world is widening, as it must do. You'll be trading some treasured times for other equally beautiful times. I'm also not fond of all the driving. But if you can split it up and find a balance between you all, it can work. It might feel as if the focus moves from your home, farm and town to the school and larger community. Maybe you can have the best of both worlds? And watch your children bring their new school experiences, and friends, home with them. Please don't do all the driving yourself. It might take a bit of juggling to find a good routine. Trust.

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  5. Wishing you and your family the best in this time of change. Hopefully new positive things will come of it. With one of ours just off to university this past fall I felt your uncertainty. But now with a few months after the change it feels less stressful and more the normal life now. Beautiful potato plants in bloom by the way.

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  6. Ah, change. I completely understand your struggle and your concerns. I have been in a similar situation and as much as I didn't like driving 5 hours on Friday and 5 hours on Sunday to drop my son off with his dad and then pick him up, it was worth it for my son. Besides, I got to listen to quite a few really good audio books :-) wishing you and yours the best in this time of change. xo

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  7. I do a 50 minute drive with my kids from our home in the country to a city school. It's long days for the kids and as you said shorter days for me. BUT, so worth it for the amazing education they are getting there. When they are practically buzzing about school it makes the drive worth it! Use the car time wisely. You can debrief about the day which with girls can be a good thing, mine do a lot of their homework on the way home too. And yes their social circle is in town now and that's where they want to be with their friends, but I also now have friends in the city too :) enjoy the change and best of luck for all that 2016 brings x

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  8. Hello, Kate. Just yesterday, I began the second year of driving my son 45mins each way to school and back every day except the weekends. On our trip, we talk, listen to a very eclectic songlist, play word games and look out our window. I don't do the return trip home often. Instead, I drive on and over a long bridge to an island where I walk and swim every day and sit in the library and read and blog and knit. Some things are harder and some are easier. Less worry is easier! We moved him because we wanted a certain kind of education for him and because he was not safe at his old school. Seeing him come out of his classroom yesterday, happy and smiling yesterday, reminds me of why I do this for him and that makes all those kilometres in the car worth it. I wish you well on your upcoming journeys. Meg:)

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  9. I'll be thinking of you and your family as you begin this new stage of your life. Change is never easy and this is a big one. Wishing you all the best and lots of new adventures. The spinning/knitting day sound great.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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  10. Oh gosh. Your fella and friends are right, this is just a stage of life and it's a natural shift. But, oh boy, that's one commute. I've made the decision to drop my four-hours a day commute- for work - because it means I am out of my community and not doing the things I love to do. I've done it while we've paid off a mortgage and to put a roof over our heads, build my career for our retirement and so on and so forth, but despite new and unplanned for challenges we're newly facing at home (boring for those not living it, so I'll spare details) my partner and I are wanting to rethink our lives post-children, slow down, enjoy what we've worked for and give back to our community. Reset, recalibrate, renew. See, new stages all the time.

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  11. Oh it does sound like a shift! but your friend and husband have given good advice. This can be a time where you have wonderful conversations, listen to talking books together, podcasts on your own. I would second the idea of the knitting group, recommend spending a couple of days a week in the town, knitting, writing etc to break it up.

    Blessings {{}}

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  12. Hello Kate, We also do a 45-50 minute drive to school, which starts up again tomorrow. I was feeling those same butterflies this morning, thinking that this is the last day of summer holidays! This is now our second year of this routine, and it's sometimes hard, and we certainly look forward to the weekends and holidays. But I think it's worth it. The school is great, great principal and teachers, and the main thing: they're happy! For us it's 35 minutes to the bus stop (twice a day that's more than two hours in the car), so often one or other of us will drive all the way into town and spend the day working in the library, having a swim or catching up with in-town errands, and then pick the kids up straight after school, which means we get home earlier. I think once you get into the new routine it will start to flow and to feel OK. You just have to not focus on the long travel time! We listen to a lot of books on CD in the car, talk a lot, and when I'm on my own in the car I love to listen to Radio National. And thank goodness for the knitting too (the knitting group and the spinning lessons sound fun!). Good luck with it, and I hope the girls have a wonderful time at their new school.

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  13. There is a school in melbourne i really want my son to attend but we live in Canberra and i just cant imagine moving. Such a shame. But i really understand the longing to get your kids into a great school, its their life you want the best. As for the potato picking it was one of my best memories from my pops farm when he grew them for a few years. Finding all those little bulbs was so exciting.

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  14. These are all very thoughtful comments-I really understand you want the very best for your children Kate. Finding the right school is a dilemma.My perspective is a little different. We opted to keep our kids in the community (small country town), close to home and make sure they had quality extra curricular activities in which to engage. Their school wasn't perfect, but there were many quality teachers. They have have grown up to be just fine (more than fine they are delightful :0 ) , gone to uni and now engaging in creative careers as are many of their peers (who they went to school with) My only worry for you, is that your home & work life will be impacted majorly. You have built such a wonderfully rich integrated life and it is obvious your girls have thrived on it. You girls will be fine no matter what you choose because you are their base and guide-I'm just thinking about the parents :)

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  15. Suddenly all those words about 'embracing the change' sound very hollow and that sick feeling translates into waking in the middle of the night, waking early and so on...
    Life is full of changes and we really want to move forward but also want to hold to the familiar. We (or at least I) cannot imagine how the changes will measure up to the present. Once the girls settle down you will too. Life will find its own rhythms and the music will be just as beautiful. On the days you miss being at home, you can go back for the day and be there doing the lovely things and the others will be full of interest and delight as well. You have (will have) a life beyond children one day and perhaps this is the beginning of preparation for that...
    You wrote about your grandad saying a little prayer each time he brought home something from the new season-- this sounds like it might be a good time to say it again! XXX

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  16. I hear you Kate. Our eldest (9) is breaking away from distance education this year and attending a local mainstream school because teaching two children and farm work is just getting too much. She is also ready for more interaction with other children. It will mean a long bus commute for her each day. Changes....I am not sure I am ready for them either. But, we cant stop change we? Simplicity and slowness, such beautiful words xx

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  17. I did a 40 min drive for kinder for 6 years so my kids could go to an amazing kinder. On the days that I didn't come home I went to a Pilates class, had a coffee, went to the library (they don't usually open till 10, hence the coffee :)
    and most importantly did any other 'out of the house' annoying tasks like grocery shopping, post office etc etc. We listen to audio books (from the library) now on the 20 min drive to school and they are wonderful when the kids are tired after school. I listen to podcasts when I'm on my own. And, if you've got someone to share the driving with, you could suggest that one of you do the morning run and another the afternoon run, that way you both still get a good run at the day. x

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  18. It's all part of life mine travelled over 30 mins each way and no problem s I now travel two hours one way for work every day I do lots of reading knitting embroidery have quilted a quilt or two that is my time but used to love the time with the kids in the car and you will also you will miss when it is over it is such a good time to spend with them that you will both be wanting to drive them enjoy your spinning knitting library and friends.

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  19. It's all part of life mine travelled over 30 mins each way and no problem s I now travel two hours one way for work every day I do lots of reading knitting embroidery have quilted a quilt or two that is my time but used to love the time with the kids in the car and you will also you will miss when it is over it is such a good time to spend with them that you will both be wanting to drive them enjoy your spinning knitting library and friends.

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  20. Come visit me Kate. I can offer baby cuddles crafty chats and non orange food. The schools looks amazing but it doesn't negate the scariness that is change. Deep breaths and have faith that the new normal will work out xx

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  21. ah man that familiar old anxiety ball in the gut... it's a shocker isn't it? I so appreciate where you are at... I'm about to have a one and a half hour drive to work when we move to our farm (each way)... so that's a decent chunk of time to add to 8 hours work in the office that I'll have to try and manage for a few years at least... and I know it'll be hard because I'll want to be home getting stuff done on the farm, really starting to live the dream... but it will take time... and in the meantime I'll be doing 3 hours travel each day and I'm anxious as crazy about whether I'll be able to cope with it...I'll have to... and hopefully I'll just get used to it, but the unknown and hanging over the head thing is a bit of challenge to deal with anxiety ball-less... all good stuff is worth the 'sacrifices' and bet your gut feelings that it's the right school is spot on and it will be totally worth it all... I planning on going nuts with podcasts...

    PS. Have you discovered the Biodynamics now podcast? I'd love to find some more like it.

    PPS These are the times when I remind myself of a favourite quote from the Dalai Lama 'change is the only constant in life" ... hope you find a way to settle the anxious and the transition is smooth x

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  22. I dont know what shcool you have chosen for your children but my instinct tells me it is the same school i hope to move my children to. We live on the opposite side of Melbourne in the outer South East but I feel so strongly about the school's approach to education that I really feel we can change out life, uproot, make sacrifices to give our children the opportunity to learn in this way. I love how you are articulating the fear involved with change, the stress of the unknown but it is only through embracing the fear and doing it anyway that amazing things will be achieved. Thank you for this beautiful post. I am taking it as a sign that I too can make this crazy change and that it will be hard and scary, but there are great things to come!

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  23. Remember they will grow and spread their wings no matter what. As you said, you are giving them the best education you can, that combined with their amazing home life will ensure they are ready to step into the world as strong capable young adults, who will always know their home is on your farm xx

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  24. Hey Kate - I grew up my whole life with an hour bus trip to and from school each day. It just became the norm. I read a lot, and always saved my apple in the afternoons for 'the bus home'. It only became painful on the days the aircon broke down, or the bus broke down, or there was bushfires, but even then it was kind of an adventure! One day it was 40 degrees and the bus driver bought us all icy poles! It was just part of the school experience for me. You totally just adapt x

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  25. Oh good luck with it all. We had a terrible experience with Marsden as our child is anaphylactic and he resented the questions we (necessarily) had to ask. You don't ask questions of the great man apparently! You'll probably get treated better as you and your family have a profile. Certainly hope so. Best of luck with it all Kate.

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Thanks so much for stopping by...

I do read every single comment you leave and appreciate it very much, but I should let you know that I can be a wee bit on the useless side when replying to comments, that's just me, everyday life sometimes gets in the way....so I'll apologise now, just in case.

Kate XX

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