I also just deleted the rough drafts of eight Christmas Around the World posts I'd planned here for the next week and a half, because I recently made the very hard decision to forgo doing more of the series in our homeschool this year. So, though I know some of you have been following along in your own homes, I hope you'll understand and that the 12 posts already here will be enough for now.
It's not that I suddenly have anything against Christmas. On the contrary, I really wanted to spend concerted time this month enjoying fun Christmas unit studies with the girls - and, in fact, we will be continuing with our Truth in the Tinsel Advent study and The Wonder of Christmas devotional readings. I'll also finish our lunchtime read-aloud, Nancy and Plum, and read some of the remaining library books just for fun. My husband will also keep up with the girls' current bedtime story, The Christmas Barn, a book he says is absolutely wonderful.
But I have hit a wall. Well, I actually smacked into it a while ago - way back at the end of summer, in fact. However, I've been foolishly trying to act since then as if nothing were wrong, attempting to seamlessly juggle all the aspects of my busy life as a Christian homeschooling wife and mother, babysitter, and writer...even while I've been sucking the proverbial plaster.
It started when I made a couple of poor decisions in late August that I've allowed to snowball ever since, even though I know better. As a result, I am now physically, emotionally, and spiritually depleted. Running on fumes, in fact. And, as a side effect of all that, I've not been managing my time well, which means I find myself staying up too late too often...and, even though I am somewhat of a night owl, it's gotten way out of hand in terms of my overall schedule.
And then my church, with which I've been deeply involved for over 12 years, has been in the midst of major turmoil since early October. As my mother-in-law so wisely pointed out recently, I can't let that dictate the rest of my life - and it really doesn't. But the stress and angst is very real...both because of the situation itself and because we don't yet know how or when it'll resolve, or what that will mean for us. If Purgatory were real, our church would be in it at the moment.
Add to that a disappointment my husband suffered at work last month - something he (and we) will work through, but an issue that grates nonetheless - and the busyness of the Christmas season, even though I try very hard to avoid getting caught up in the "perfect Christmas" myth. And, frankly, I'm surprised I haven't completely fallen apart.
But I realized today that I'm on the edge of it.
Thankfully, I have a very good idea of what it'll take to peel myself off the wall and get walking on the right path again. But that's going to take some time, mental energy, and concerted effort. And so, for a number of reasons, I've decided - among other things - to create that space for myself by cutting short our Christmas Around the World study.
On the one hand, that makes me feel like a loser...because the You-Should-Be-Able-to-Finish-What-You-Started voice bounces around in my head. But, conversely, I'm relieved.
I really can't begin to explain the darkness of the place I'm in. And I know it'll take a lot more than a simple schedule change to get right; in fact, I could lighten our academic load now and still end up crammed deeper into the wall when 2012 dawns in a few weeks. So there's much more to it than simplifying and shortening our remaining December "school days" - but that decision is going to give me some intellectual and emotional "margin," as well as a bit of necessary time, for doing what I really feel I have to do...finally.
I'm not going to be "fixed" on January 1. But I'm looking at the next three weeks as a beautiful, rather natural opportunity to jumpstart a process that really is imperative for me right now.