I hold this quote in my heart's pocket. It helps me turn pain into gratitude. Fear into action. Anxiety into patience. Anger into love. It's impossible to see the ruin as anything but complete destruction when you are surrounded by it. You are certain this is the end.
And maybe it is the end of something. Which also means it's the beginning of something else. Author Liz Gilbert (like how I did that- called her by her nickname like we are old pals?) embeds these words in her brilliant book, "Eat Pray, Love."
"A friend took me to the most amazing place the other day. It’s called the Augusteum. Octavian Augustus built it to house his remains. When the barbarians came they trashed it along with everything else. The great Augustus, Rome’s first true great emperor. How could he have imagined that Rome, the whole world as far as he was concerned, would be in ruins? It’s one of the quietest, loneliest places in Rome. The city has grown up around it over the centuries. It feels like a precious wound, a heartbreak you won’t let go of because it hurts too good. We all want things to stay the same. Settle for living in misery because we’re afraid of change, of things crumbling to ruins. Then I looked at around to this place, at the chaos it has endured – the way it has been adapted, burned, pillaged and found a way to build itself back up again. And I was reassured, maybe my life hasn’t been so chaotic, it’s just the world that is, and the real trap is getting attached to any of it. Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation.”
We are a make it quick and one of every color society. We can order our coffee from an app. Fast forward through commercials. Use predictive text to send messages, not even needing to bother typing out full words. We can have groceries delivered. These are all beautiful advancements of modern day society, but it also means that we forget how to wait. We lose touch with how to sift through the uncomfortable middle. The depths of a wreckage, sifting for the golden parts. We want to fast forward the pain right to the gift. It doesn’t work that way. Ruins isn't the same as Amazon Prime. (Damn).
I think back to a year ago now. Even though it was Summer, there was a constant ache in my mind and an anxious pounding in my heart. Trying to get Greyson the things he needed at school had changed me. All the rules of the world were different there, and I didn't know any of them, nor did they make any sense to me. I didn't know how much longer I could do that. Be that. Feel that. Watch that. Each Summer day ticked forward leading us to the start of a new school year. And all Summer break I held that fear close tight, and close to me. Fear of potentially needing to home school scared me more than anything in the world. And one day, a few months into the school year, keeping him at school felt much more frightening than homeschooling. And so we did it.
Recently I looked back to a post I shared on Social Media soon after we first started this new transition.
"The beginning of this week knocked me down flat on my tuchus. It was like I woke up and suddenly realized- HOLY COW, I’m homeschooling Greyson. I am responsible for his entire education. It’s like I started a new job that I have no training for and no supervisor to tell me if I’m doing a shitty job. I started thinking about what I was going to do and how I was going to teach him in high school. I thought about how he will miss graduation and all my friends and their kids will be there and it’s just not freaking fair and why does it have to be this way?"
I had to have a talk with myself. Self. Calm the frick down. 1,000 things can and will change in the next year, let alone the next 10. Focus on TODAY ONLY. 24 hours you can do. 10 years in a 24 hours IS NOT HUMANLY POSSIBLE TO LIVE OUT. Today I FINALLY remembered, Greyson and I really are getting the hang of this. It’s hard for me to start something new and not be perfect. That’s a crappy perspective that I don’t want to leak onto my boys. Today I remembered that we are beginners learning our way and making mistakes as we go. Some of it is even- dare I say- fun! And he’s learning a hell of a lot more with me than he did at school this year. That alone is proof that this is exactly where I’m supposed to be right now.
Sometimes the dull pain of staying the same hurts so much more than the sharp stabs of moving forward. And that’s the truth. This is hard, but hard in a way that I know is best for Grey- and that’s all that matters."
I was in the ruins then. And just like every other time I'm in the ruins, it feels like the end of the world. The ruins never ever feel like a gift. They feel anywhere from mildly uncomfortable to hurting like hell. There is no fast forward. There's just a day at a time. And if that's too much, it's just an hour at a time. That's all you need to do.
Our first two weeks were awful for both of us. He would spit on the floor and hit me to try and get out of working. One day he head butted me so hard I saw stars. These were behaviors that previously worked for him at school. I knew if I was firm yet loving, we would get over this beginning hump. And it worked. We both grew in ways I never ever imagined.
I loved figuring out what made him tick. Like this resistance band around the chair gave him the ability to fidget and pay attention.
I am so lucky I am in a position to stay home with him during this season of life. We are going to continue to do this for the upcoming school year. After that we will reevaluate. One day at a time.
I love Summer. It reminds me to go slow. We still have therapies to do, but we don’t have to be anywhere earlier than 9am, which feels ridiculously luxurious.
Here's a short video of Grey at Speech yesterday, which is always a highlight of my week.
I wake up early so I can have a love affair with my coffee and my thoughts. They are usually pretty friendly thoughts in the morning, so I like to be around them. I am always thinking of the next three things I have to do, so I practice being in the moment. I practice going slow. Sometimes I forget who I am and in the morning I can remember easier. I meet her shyly. Yes, I know you. Let’s get together again soon.
Since most days are 100 degrees plus, 92% of our free time is spent in the pool.
“Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation." Feel free to slap that on a bumper sticker (you might want to ask Liz first) or tattoo it on your arm. The transformation doesn’t happen overnight. If it did- it wouldn’t be remarkable. And life is remarkable.
So (so) much love,