And today? Today I just sat.

It was a regular Wednesday in the third week of school. Slowly, but surely, we all got into our normal routine and in the rhythm of the ‘normal’ week.

Husband went to work like usual, kids went to school, and their afterschool activities as piano, Robotics, soccer, cross country and fencing.

And I?

I make it all happen.

As the CEO of this ‘operation’ I make sure everyone else can shine and be successful.

I make sure they pack the right stuff, eat the right things and are where they need to be.

At the moments nobody is home, laundry is done, house is relatively clean and things are prepared for that what will yet happen, I can sit down and relax.

Yet, I seldom do that. When I have nothing to do, I sit behind my laptop, writing a piece, a poem, working on my book, checking my email, or (and I will be honest with you) wasting my time on Facebook.

If I don’t sit with my laptop, I have my phone in my hand and browse or chat.

And if there is no Wi-Fi, or the sun is too bright, I might have a magazine to read, or sometimes a book. And often a notebook to write.

 

But not today. Today I just sat.

 

After the yellow bus took my children away, I waved and felt a wave. Of nausea to be precise. I wasn’t feeling well. So I took the liberty to crawl back into bed and had a lovely hour of extra sleep. I woke up because something was beeping. I checked my Kindle, my phone. Nothing. It was my husband’s iPad, laying on his bedside stand, obviously forgotten (This CEO is not on duty yet at 4:30am!).

So at first I sent him an email to tell him his iPad was still here. Then I got up, made some tea and sat outside.

I didn’t bring my phone, or my laptop. I didn’t bring a magazine or a book. I didn’t even take a notebook and pen. Just my tea and my toast.

I just sat. I listened to the crickets, still so happily chirping in September. I observed the trees in my back yard and saw how quite a few of them already had red among the leaves, I noticed a new to me flower in my garden and wondered if I had planted that or if nature had, I saw that the leaves of my new apple trees finally starting to look a bit better (They had some kind of bug or fungal a few weeks ago).

And I thought. I thought how about nine years ago, I was franticly packing and organizing an entire household with a one-year-old, a three-year-old and a five-year old. How I was deciding what to sell or give away and what to bring with me, on our American adventure.

It was a good month before we would move away, leaving the Netherlands and settling in Maine. Every box and its contents that I packed and would ship had to be accounted for, so I had to make a long list for Customs. I had to make many decisions about what to pack and what not, all while running my Family Business.

Sitting on my lovely deck on this beautiful September morning I thought about how well I had done.

IMG_7027

Yes, I might not have a dream job with a super career, making lots of money and changing lives. In fact, currently I don’t even really have a job, besides substitute teaching every once in a while or helping out in a clothing store.

Yes, it is frustrating that my College degrees don’t mean anything here, and even if they do, I can’t work in the field I was educated in.

And yes, sometimes I wish my mother could sit next to me on the deck, or I could help my niece move to her next student apartment, or I could babysit my nieces and nephews.

But moving to Maine, I have never once regret it.

And while I hear and see the two nutty squirrels franticly packing up acorns and other valuables to stash away for winter, I think to myself:

I have made a difference. I have changed lives.

My three kids, now almost young adults, are happy and polite. I helped them develop into strong characters. All three have loads of friends who come to our house often, because it is a fun place to be. My husband has made a great career and is successful in what he is doing and has time to unwind on long runs, training to run ultra-marathons now. I am feeding my family healthy foods, we have lively discussions in our family and every week there is at least one kid that joins us for dinner who mentions how lovely our dinner time is.

I did use my knowledge of all that I am educated in and my college degrees, as I was able to help our son when he was struggling, and my daughter to make her more resilient.

I did grow professionally, never doing nothing, still reading all the latest education books and child development books and articles, attending writing workshops, and participating in MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) on all kinds of fields that spark my interest.

And I did it all while running this little Family Operation.

 

So today, I just sat. And I deserved it.

Edith Schriever

About Edith Schriever

I am a Maine-igrant from the Netherlands. While my scientist husband fell in love with the beautiful research institute here, I fell in love with Mount Desert Island. Mountains, ocean, wild life, peace and quiet! A culture change? Yes, a bit. Americans are not at all like the Jerry Springer audience I saw on TV when living in the Netherlands, well, at least not everyone. Portions are big and toilets small and low; I have learned to embrace the cultural differences.