Changes

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(Apologies, this is absolutely nothing to do with our home education journey and I know an update is long overdue … it’s mulling about in my brain at the moment and will, maybe, be with you all soon … but for now, this is it!)

For nearly sixteen years my hands have been full.  I don’t mean in the ‘Oh, you’ve got your hands full’ kind of way.  No, I mean that for the past years my hands have been literally full. 

My hands were first filled as teeny, tiny, perfect, baby fingers curled around my mine.  That breath-taking event was just the start of an incredible adventure.

My hands have been filled when I have held little ones close to console them after a fall, or a scrape, or, worse still, they have bitten their tongue. 

My hands have been filled as I have held my children when they were ill, holding them close, comforting them, taking temperatures, administering medication.

My hands have been filled as little hands have sought out mine to hold as we walk along the street (although all those little hands have gone through that independent toddler stage where holding mum’s hand is NOT what they want to do). 

My hands have been filled as I’ve accepted and returned a hug from a child.

My hands have been filled as I’ve held a child’s hand to pray or to reassure him that I’m listening as he pours out his anxieties and worries.

My hands have been filled with laundry more times than I can ever count … and, apparently, for far more people than seem to live in my home.

My hands have been filled as I’ve cooked, baked, washed dishes, hoovered floors and picked up the trail left by others.

My hands are full.

And suddenly that is changing.  All of a sudden Son No3 has grown too old to hold my hand when we’re out.  My dear boy was worried that it would upset me if he didn’t hold my hand.  His young eyes were full of concern as he explained and sought my reassurance that I knew he still loved me (I do, of course, far more than he can ever imagine).

The lack of hand-holding when we’re out has come as a surprise.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in denial that my sons are growing up and it excites me to see the amazing young men they are turning into.  However, for nearly sixteen years a hand has wanted to hold mine as we walk along the road and I have delighted in it.  There are few feelings that beat the feeling of a warm little hand sneaking into yours and holding on tight with complete assurance you will keep them safe (it’s especially wonderful on a cold day when you’ve forgotten your gloves).

I can’t help but wonder though.  If I had known the last time he took my hand was the last time he would take my hand, how would I have felt?  Would I have felt emotional?  Would I have taken a mental picture of the occasion?  Would I have ever let go if I’d known it was the last time? 

If the truth is told I can’t remember the last time I walked along the road holding my son’s hand.  In fact, I can’t remember the last time for any of my boys.  If I had known it was the last time I’m sure if I would have made sure to store that memory carefully.  I don’t have that memory … however, I have a myriad of memories of how my hands are full and I’m thankful.

Yes, my hands are still full, but life is changing, marching on.  My firstborn son will be sixteen in a matter of months, his middle brother is a teenager and both boys stand tall looking down at me  (one boy even patted my head as he walked past me the other day) and now my baby is fast catching up with them.

Being a mum is never static when your children are young (I don’t know what it’s like to have adult children … maybe that’s ever changing too), every time you feel you have a grip on a stage, or age, they grow up a little more and things change.  Our role changes almost daily it feels but one thing is sure, our hands, as our hearts, are always full. 
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Those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer …

The sun is shining, washing is drying on the whirligig, the chooks are scratching about contentedly, the boys are playing quietly (always a worry!), Mr GG is sitting on the swing seat relaxing/sleeping … and somewhere along the way I’ve obviously blinked and missed the week!  Our first week of summer holiday is over already but it still feels like last weekend.

There has always been a period of adjustment when it comes to holidays.  My routine loving boys often struggle getting used to a new routine although the first week of the summer holidays has generally been kept empty … a chance for the boys to relax, catch up on sleep and recover from the stresses of the academic year.

This year has been no different …

… oh …

… no …

… wait …

… erm …

… that’s not right …

… this year has been completely different.

This year it has been me that has struggled with the change in routine.  The Junior GGs have all been relaxed and drifted into holiday mode with no issues.  I, on the other hand, have been completely out of sorts, grumpy, stressy, tired and struggling to get used to being on holiday from home ed!  What’s that all about?

It struck me that the past six months have been completely full-on … I’ve been either been actively involved in home ed or I’ve been thinking about it.  It’s been my life absolutely.  I don’t regret it, not one wee bit, but suddenly not having to think about it has been a bit of a shock!  For the past years I’ve counted down to the summer holidays growing more and more excited about having six or seven uninterrupted weeks with my boys.  The night before the last day of term was always more exciting than Christmas … I often couldn’t sleep.  This year has been different … I’ve looked forward to not having work to prepare or mark or plan but … it was different … and it felt odd!

Work isn’t completely finished quite yet.  Son No1 and I have been working on a Chicken Welfare & Behaviour course with Edinburgh University.  It’s pretty much finished, just a few bits of work to be done and we’re through … it’s been ever so interesting and we’ve both learned lots about our own chooks as we’ve learned.

This past week I’ve also managed to complete a course in reflexology.  I’ve no intention of inflicting my grumpy crabbiness on the general public but I’ve often wondered if reflexology would help my anxiety-ridden Son No2 so I thought I’d try it out and see … so far I’ve not managed to get him to sit still long enough for me to even touch his feet, far less try out any reflexology but there’s still hope!  If there is anything at all that I can do to help him deal with this world that is so alien to him then I’m all for it.

Son No3 has enjoyed the holidays so far.  He’s made the most of the sunny weather to play outside with his friends (rain never stops us anyway) and has built lots of interesting Lego creations.  Lego has got to be one of the best toys ever … only limited by our own imaginations.

And there it is … week one of our holidays is finished, completed, gone … the grumpiness is gone (for now!) and I have much to be thankful for … no matter how much of a rush he is in, Son No1 will not ever go out without coming to give me a hug and tell me he loves me … how blessed I am!

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Week two is looming (well, it’s Monday now so it’s kinda loomed already) … we’ve planned a bit more structure for this week but I’m not telling you yet!

 

 

Nothing’s gonna stop us now …

Hooray! Happy day! We have made it to the end of term … all still standing and smiling!

It’s been a week of preparation, work has been steadily reducing and lots of planning for holidays and free days going on.

Traditionally, in the distant past when the boys were in school we would make a list of things to do in the holidays … colour-coded according to whether they could be done at home or away and whether free or not … maybe I’m a wee bit of a control freak after all haha!

So, our list has been updated, new activities added and some discarded with claims that the boys are now too old for them. We’ve easily got 70 different activities and I’ve tried hard to make as many free as I possibly can.

IMG_1661On one of our many walks this week Son No 3 found his first painted rocks … such excitement. The rocks have been rehidden ready for someone else to find … I wonder how far they will travel?  We are planning to paint some rocks of our own and hide them around the parks and woodlands in our local area.  I’m quite artistically inept but hopefully Mr GG will join in!

The latest Tinker Crate arrived a few days ago so it found itself included on the plan for this week … and what fun!  Son No3 did really well following the instructions to build an arcade catapult and has spent lots of time playing with it, even inviting his friends in to give it a go.  There’s something satisfying about building something yourself and he was, quite rightly, proud of his efforts.

This week has also seen Son No 1 update his hair colour … the blue is gone and replaced with red. He was a bit reluctant to let anyone see the work in progress!  I was a bit nervous about how the red would look but I think he’s looking great 🙂


IMG_1653Our three chooks are continuing to supply us with eggs and there was much excitement when Beryl the Peril laid our first double yolker … clever girl.

Our fruit and vegetable patches are continuing to grow and, I think, everything we planted has sprouted. Storm Hector battered the garden but, thankfully, everything survived  including the chidkens and Son No2’s precious guinea pig, Pringle (although she looked a wee bit shell-shocked afterwards).

We celebrated the end of our academic year with a trip to Auchingarrich Animal Park. Mr GG took the day off work so we were able to have a lovely family day together. The weather forecast was dire but Team GG don’t let something like rain put us off and I’m so glad … torrential rain most of the journey there and torrential rain most of the journey home but in between was lovely!


We saw all sorts of animals but, for me, the highlight was seeing the wildcat with her kittens … so beautiful! It’s hard to imagine that they’re so different from our own Princess Leia.

For many years there has been a tartan sheep at Auchingarrich and we’ve loved looking at her. Today she looked old and tired but had two lambs with her. Seeing her wandering along with the lambs and quite obviously getting impatient with them at times reminded me of my role as a mum. I get impatient with the boys, I’ve so much to learn as a mum but I’ve held on to this verse, especially in the years when the boys were so much younger and my job was much more ‘hands on’.
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And there we are … we’ve reached the end of our first academic (half) year. We’ve made mistakes, we’ve had successes but I can honestly say I don’t regret our decision to start home education for a minute. It’s not always been easy and we’ve had times when school has been missed but I could not be more proud of how well my lovely boys have coped and adapted to such a massive change.

I’ve a few plans for the blog over the holidays … but I’m giving away no secrets so you’ll have to wait and see! For now, though, I’m off to sit back and relax and enjoy the holiday (at home) feeling!