So, my kids start school tomorrow.
Two-thirds of them, anyway.
Last year at the this time began The Year of Brittany and it was awesome. Maybe not so much for some (one) of my kids, but it was for me. My youngest started first grade which meant six hours a day (mostly) of me time. Six hours a day to heed the voice in my head whispering write, write, write! And swim, bike, run!
Sure that voice got annoying because sometimes I just wanted to sleep in or sit on the couch and watch a lot of bad TV. But it wouldn't shut up. It had been drowned out for a long time by kids and a husband and dirty floors and endless laundry. Then, suddenly, the three loudest voices were gone for much of the day and I could hear that little voice again.
And it sounded a lot like...
I'd kind of forgotten who that person was. Or maybe I was really getting to know her for the first time. And, you know what? I liked her. A lot.
Don't get me wrong. The Year of Brittany wasn't all typing/swimming/biking/ running and smiles. There were no unicorns and rainbows. Just a lot of hard work.
And maybe some neglect of important things (i.e. not floors and laundry). But still a good year. For me.
Here's the thing though. When I turned in my finished manuscript to the publisher, I forgot about it. When I crossed the finish line of my triathlon, I felt only relief, not elation.
I'm proud of those two accomplishments, I really am. I don't regret the time and energy I put into writing and training, but the question I had to ask myself after I finished both was whether it was worth it. Did the cheers and congratulations make up for the time I'd taken away from my family?
I honestly don't know. But the voice is gone now. It's not driving me to finish that second manuscript I've started or to start training for another race.
And I don't miss it like I thought I would.
This school year is going to be a much different year. Girl 2 & 3 will return to their public school tomorrow while Girl 1 stays home.
On Monday Husband and I both step into the dark abyss of The Unknown (a place neither of us is super comfortable entering) as he opens his own law firm (hooray! in a scary way) and I start home schooling Girl 1 (I just heard a collective gasp from all those who know me and my lovely, headstrong daughter personally).
Add to that a favorite aunt, sick with cancer, who--fortunately for me--lives nearby, and this year is looking more like a Year of Others instead of another Year of Me.
And that's okay. My Year of Brittany taught me that I can do hard things, which is more important than a fleeting sense of accomplishment.
I'm going to need that education this year... but I think it's going to be a better year.