Slowing it Down

 

Last November, I became mostly a mom again.  I took a break-of-indefinite-length from my legal practice and shifted gears to being a full-time mom and school coach for our resident fourth grader. We decided to withdraw Wy from school and officially do our own home school thing this school year.  It didn't take us too long and we found a rhythm and now have a pretty good thing going for our home-school version of fourth grade.

Of course there have been days we all wanted to pull each other's hair out, but mostly it's been quite fabulous. We've tried to focus on the important stuff, spending time together (because we can), the flexibility this kind of year affords, and making the most of this period that required us to stay fairly isolated and out of school.

One of the highlights for me has been helping Wy participate in the outdoor ecology science program for fourth and fifth graders that is offered by Islandwood, an environmental education organization located on Bainbridge Island. We started taking weekly ferry rides to Islandwood in early spring.  Our last day will be June 4, and I'm already feeling a little sad about it.  

These are our field trip days and we have lovely adventures on the days we go: I drop him off and then have a few hours to do my own thing, then pick him up and we get lunch, and head for the ferry . . . unless another adventure catches our attention.  We've explored the Bloedel Reserve, the fabulously curated exhibits at Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, Fay Bainbridge State Park, and the Japanese American Exclusion Memorial, to name a few.  We know where the best coffee and pastries can be purchased on the Island.  We've also tried nearly all the Vietnamese food and fish and chip spots on the Island.

The woods at Bloedel Reserve.

The Kubota-designed garden at Bloedel Reserve.
 

The ferry rides have been pretty fun too.  Sometimes we travel the 35 minutes in clouds. Other times it's sunny -- like a postcard with Mt. Rainier and sailboats in the distance. Always it's stunningly beautiful in it's own way. Snow-capped mountains, beautiful blue waters of the Salish Sea, fog on the water, foghorns in the distance  What an amazing place to live.

Leaving Bainbridge ferry dock.
 

Our school year is winding down, and there is nothing I would have rather done than have this time to learn and grow with my kiddo, and support this family.  These many months of pandemic separated us from the world and people we love.  They also threw us together with our own and gave us a chance to see with new eyes. All this time together has helped me realize how important my role is in this family. How much we need someone to do what I do for the collective to keep things rolling.  We are a busy, hungry, on-the-go bunch -- including daily walks and doctor appointment for my father in law, who will celebrate his 97th birthday in a couple weeks. We're planning an end-of-fourth grade trip to Crater Lake, and then we will have (yay) summer camps and camping and weekend golf starting in June.  We've also decided to embark on a summer Beast Academy math initiative (because it turns out my kid really likes math). The spouse is busy (and then some).  He's still splitting time between the home office and the work campus; and it's awfully nice to have him around, sharing lunch, grabbing a walk sometimes, having dinner earlier because there's no commute some days. 

Surrounded by this cacophony of life, being mostly a mom again feels right.  I'm looking forward to summer and fall and what those seasons bring.  Time is flying -- too fast.

The rear-view mirror view -- waiting in the ferry line at Coleman dock one morning.


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