Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My Little Sabbatical Over?

It has been a little over a year since I quit working at the Boys and Girls Club. It was a year I had set aside to discern, breathe, discern, study, discern..rest. A sabbatical of sorts. You know.. the unpaid kind.

I had thought, when I started this little breather, that I would use this time of discernment to finish the parish ministry program and choose a path. Either running a non-profit  or pursuing parish ministry. In the end, I have done neither.

Life has a funny way of working out. We have had the addition of a few nephews and grand-nephews to our extended family. Some need occasional-or more than occasional- care.I enjoy being an aunt! I have 2 young men who are starting new educational paths..one in graduate school at a large state university, one his undergrad at a small liberal arts college. I have one older teen left at home who will soon be taking classes at a jr. college part-time while simultaneously finishing high-school at home. We have built a garage attached to our home. It always has cars being repaired. These are the obvious changes..then are the not-so-obvious.

I remembered how much I really enjoy the daily craziness of home-life. I am reluctant to give that up. I stumbled into some volunteer work for the chapel of a local prison. I LOVE this! I am not willing to give that up. Our Monday night community dining has continued to grow and be a cornerstone in our week. I am not willing to give that up.  I have had to acknowledge that I really like having a houseful of children. Young and old.

These are a few of the things I have discovered (or rediscovered) about myself in the past year. The biggest thing though..is I have discovered I am just not a cool and glamorous person. That no matter what career path or life direction I choose...I'm not going to be one of those ultra-pulled-together career women. I admire that pulled together, business-like quality in many of my friends. I really do. But it's Just. Not. Me.

I have also discovered who I am. I AM a woman who enjoys living. Who enjoys people, music, art and time for reflection. A bit of a tom-boy at times..who cares deeply for others.I have a vivid imagination, and enjoy the creative process. I love watching that aha moment when children are discovering something. I enjoy play.

So I look at who I am..and say..Now what do you do with that? What sort-of life do you carve from here..that allows you to live the life you really want? A life of family, friends, children and prison-ministry.

So after much discussion with la familia we have decided to open a registered family home care center out of our home. This is not as impulsive of a decision as it may seem. This allows us to continue all the things in life we enjoy. As well as share the craziness of home-life with others.

We chose registered care over licensed care because I do not want to get in over my head with too many children. Registered keeps us legally bound to a smaller number of children..and allows us to keep the feel of a family center vs. just a center. Keeps it more organic, so to speak. This is a decision that allows us all to continue to grow and learn and have a little fun.

That said. This is no easy feat. Because..well we have a pool in our backyard, huge barbecue set-up, chickens, a working garage, and a handful of homeschool teens expecting to be around this Fall. We must carefully remodel our indoor and outdoor living conditions to make sure we have enough square footage for everyone.

Having the homeschool co-op on Monday mornings is one of the trickier parts of this whole ordeal. We run background checks on all the homeschoolers. Luckily this is more your milk and cookie group of kids. Hmm..they probably wouldn't appreciate that. This is more your Italian ice and a biscotti group of kids. Also? A pretty easy-going group of teens.

We make sure we have separate space for them on Monday mornings. Rule #1..No shared space for groups. (sigh) So to the den (and deck and unfenced parts of our yard) for the teens! Lucky for me this group is pretty laid back.

I take some classes, have home-inspections..maybe a fire-marshal visit, etc. You know.. to allow life to go on.

It is a bit of a hassle, but it keeps every one safe and legal. I am spending much time with the child-care licensing office to make sure I am keeping things legit. And I have to say..the woman at child-care licensing is infinitely patient with me as I stumble through this set-up/ get legal process.

This whole experience is reminding me just how many rules we have here in the West for EVERYTHING!!! Just a few weeks ago Austen and I were killing time at the neurologist office when he looks at me and in a very serious voice says, You know Mom, for a free country, we sure have an awful lot of rules. Between everyone's fear of lawsuits and every law written what exactly are we free to do? What does freedom mean? Really?


Of course..this led to discussions on living in  rule-bound societies, the privileges and freedoms we do have, etc. And like I mentioned a few posts ago..since we were in the office for 5 hours we had time for a fairly lengthy discussion.

Austen's commentary has run through my mind many times in the past few weeks. But still. If following a zillion rules is what it takes to create a more natural and free-flowing home environment. Then we (ahem) learn the rules.

So for all practical purposes..my little sabbatical has come to a close. We hope to open the doors for Casa de Amigos mid-August. Only time will tell if we are so lucky!

1 comment:

Terri Jo said...

I think this is AWESOME! A prefect fit for you! :) Im proud of you and best of luck with opening on time!