Thursday, August 16, 2012

A New Normal is Coming

Today marks the last day of the old normal for our family.  Tonight I attend my first leg of a 3-day orientation for Savannah Law School.  Some of my friends know I took the LSAT back in June, hoping to earn a score high enough to clench a full scholarship to become a member of SLS's inaugural class (which I did).  Those closest to me have also listened to me agonize for months over this decision.  It's just not like me to make any decisions lightly, and my tendency to over think (and worry) complicates matters.  Is this the right time?  Do I even want to be a lawyer?  How will I stand being away from my kids so much?  Do I even want to be a lawyer?  Will I find the time to read my assignments and keep up with the material?  Do I even want to be a lawyer?

I think it's clear what my main dilemma has been.  The answer is that I don't know.  I don't know with 100 percent certainty that I want to be a lawyer.  What I do know is that the life we had before is no longer a luxury available to me.  The coveted role of stay-at-home mom was partially left behind when I returned to the classroom part-time last year.  I know I love the way things are right now.  I get to be in a classroom (one of my favorite places to be) and spend a great majority of my time with my kids (no brainer).  There are many times, however, that I curse our lack of disposable income and wish I had the luxury of getting a haircut or buying my kids' school clothes in one fell swoop.  How funny I used to think pedicures and highlights were basic necessities of life. 

So, here's the thing.  I'm choosing to take advantage of an incredible opportunity to try a new adventure without a big, fat student loan.  I've got a husband who fully supports me and three little boys who think it's super cool Mommy is going to law school (Scout just wanted me to read her a Ninjago book when I sat down to tell them).  I know that I'm interested in helping people, that I love the scientific aspects of medical malpractice and personal injury cases (where I imagine for now that my ultimate career will head), and that deep down, I'm kind of a nerd. 

No, I'm never going to sit riveted to NPR (gag!) or have passionate discussions on politics (blech).  Like I said, I'm kind of a nerd.  I do love a challenge.  I love to unlock the puzzles the law often presents.  So I think it's worth a shot.  I can always change my mind if I need to, but I tend to throw myself full force into anything I do.  I'm hoping I love it tremendously and that in four years, my newfound, fulfilling career offers my family financial stability and college funds for the Joneslets.  How cool is it that I get to go to school in such a great city, too?  And at night, of all things.  I'll be a frazzled mess, but I get to stay in my classroom and retain my coveted role of mommy.  If I can really get my act together, I might even still find time to run. 

Our family will be adjusting to my absence three nights a week in the midst of a new school year and continued play therapy sessions.  The change will definitely be a challenge.  I'm nervous but in some ways excited to have a plan.  When you've walked around with your stomach in knots for three years, a plan is at least action.  Action rather than worry has been a long time coming on my part.  Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Have I Forgotten How to Have Fun?

It occurs to me my little blog, which is usually laced with humor, has grown a bit darker as I document our family struggles. This shift was certainly never my intention, but I did choose to call it "Life on the Seesaw" for a reason. Sometimes parenting is hilarious and a series of "up" experiences, and other times it is a struggle to remain afloat and aware of who you are. Right now we're on the down end of the seesaw, but I am trying to remember to smile and laugh at our experiences in the midst of it all.

Honestly, remembering to smile has been a struggle lately, and many days I feel overwhelmed and unsure which end is up. As any parent knows, life doesn't stop because there is a problem or crisis. Though we are seeking help for Hudson, we still have the weight of every day life, which means laundry, dishes, meals to cook, toys to pick up, work, cars that don't work, too much month at the end of the money, and three other kids who have emotional and physical needs. Jason says one day we'll look back and crack jokes about having to jump start the van's battery every day (no lie--we really have to do this), and I like to think we'll look back on this decision to get help and think it was a turning point in our family.

Last night we attempted to take the kids out for Mexican food, and the effects of our journey on all of them has never been more apparent. We started with Lawson hitting us and throwing a tantrum because he couldn't sit in my lap as we waited for a table. When we finally sat down, Scout refused to keep the lid on her cup and ultimately spilled her water all over the floor. I then had to take Lawson to the restroom for a "come to Jesus meeting", and by the time I got back, Scout was in full diva mode. I returned to the table from walking her around only to have her screech "I hate you!" at the top of her voice. When the food finally reached us, I spilled a glass of ice water in my lap, and that event marked the end of my rope. I swear I heard the entire restaurant cheer when we finally walked out--with Scout screaming the entire way to the door and throwing herself on the floor just in front of it and demanding to be carried.

As we headed home, we explained to the boys everyone was going to bed a bit early, but when we walked through the door, we discovered Libby the Farting Dog had gotten into the trash and strewn it all over the playroom. I sent all the kids to bed immediately so that we could clean it up, which sent Camden into a tailspin. We finally got him settled down around 11:00, but not before he had gone into full hysterics.

Today was no better. All three boys had a melt-down before lunch. Lawson and Camden believe Hudson hates them, Hudson hates me, Scout hates everyone, and Lawson thinks Jason and I hate him. Basically, the underlying theme of the house is "hate". Hudson was scheduled for a play therapy appointment today, and I showed up with all four kids in tow. Jason met us at the office, and when I poured my heart out to his therapist, she changed our appointment to an emergency family appointment. We now have a strategy in place and an appointment with all three boys next week. I'm so thankful for someone who sees my family is in crisis and takes action to arm us with the tools we need to make it better. So far the "fine" (losing a toy for every hit, ugly name, or declaration of hate) that has been implemented has netted me ten toys among each of the kids. I wonder how long it will take them to catch on.

Maybe months from now I will look back on this week and on last night's experience at Jalapeno's and laugh. For now, I'm going to avoid dining in public like the plague.