When I began to tell people about our plans for this year, the vast majority of responses were along the lines of: "Wow! That sounds like an amazing adventure!" Some remarked on the freedom we would experience away from most of the regular routines of job and school (except for Juliana, who is still in her work routine--thank you, Juliana). In addition to having a wealth of family and learning time, these reactions were in line with our vision for the year.
We are now six weeks into the experience (though only really a week or so into the "meat" of it--as noted previously, the first month or so was primarily about setting up shop). This weekend I have been on my own as the rest of the crew was back in the Bay Area for birthday parties, friend and family time, and work. I've had the chance to wrap up a bunch of summer projects and also pause to reflect a bit about the adventure upon which we have embarked.
Yes it is freedom. Freedom from the regular routine. Freedom from many of the typical responsibilities of working life. With that freedom comes time and so much potential. But potential is just that: something that could be. Eventually, choices need to be made and time will be filled. So the freedom is really only temporary. But that is still so much different than my regular experience. In my "regular" existence, I have made the choice to be a teacher and it is a pretty long-term choice that monopolizes much of my time for most of my year (and it is a great choice, I should add!). My choices this year are much shorter term; while I may choose this week to build a deck, or work with the kids on finding parallels between the Roman Empire and America, there is still freedom about what next week may be.
Yes it is an adventure. And it is an adventure with my family. But adventures aren't always easy. In movies, they are full of peril. Though I am not really concerned about peril, I do realize that taking this adventure has consequences besides fun and excitement. For one, it isolates us. I miss my friends. My kids miss their friends. Our choice time is often the middle of a weekday... who is around to meet and get to know then? I miss our town and what we do there. I even miss my work. I have to drive more that I bike. My kids worry about what they are missing at school (especially socially). Don't get me wrong, I chose this adventure for the good and bad of it. I'm just voicing the reality of what the adventure is: different, lonely, full of love, quiet, hard, memorable. In short, it is the opportunity to just live with fewer distractions--both the good and bad ones--and do so as a family.
So tomorrow maybe I'll fix the leak in the irrigation or hang the solar flood light. Maybe I'll buy strawberries and find some rubbing alcohol and soap for a lesson on DNA extraction. Maybe I'll ride my bike to the regional park and take a run there. Maybe I'll do all of those things. Maybe I'll sit around and do nothing (yeah, right--do you know me? Well, it could happen...). Freedom. Time. But tomorrow I will do these things alone. When my family gets back we can make choices about our adventure together. Either way, we will miss all of you.