Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Return to Simplicity


If anyone has been following along with me, you've probably noticed a certain lack of posts over the last few months. It wasn't intentional. Things came up, illnesses took over, holidays dominated... life happened. 

And while all of that was going on, slowly, barely noticeably, the simplicity in our life drifted away. 

Bedtimes were hectic and stressful again, N's night terrors started making appearances once more, relationships were not as peaceful and loving as they once were, there didn't seem to be any time for important things like being outside, painting, reading, sitting quietly by candlelight with my two boys and just enjoying each other's company. And those things really are important.

The last straw for me, what finally made me realize what had happened, was our trip to Disneyland at the beginning of this month.

On King Triton's Carousel, at Disney California Adventure
I grew up in Southern California, and Disneyland has always been a big deal for me. I love it there. It's one of my happy places. N has been twice now. And, because we hadn't been since he was two, and because we are actually in a good place financially for the first time in a few years, I decided to go all out. In all the times I've been the the parks, I've never stayed in one of the on-site hotels, or done a character breakfast, or... or... so we did those things this time. And it was SO much fun. SO. MUCH. FUN. It was off season, so the crowds were (relatively) low, the weather was beautiful, and we didn't have a care in the world. I know some may find a place like Disneyland in stark contrast to the Waldorf way of living, and maybe that's true. It's definitely a character-centric place, and basically a way to advertise and market to us and get us to buy Disney 'stuff'. And we certainly spent more money than we usually do, but we had it to spend, and though we would have probably had just as much fun without all the extras (and, just to be clear, by extras I mean experiences, as we really didn't buy much in the way of things, save his mouse ears and a mug for me), I'm glad I was able to go all out just once. We had an entire week of just being together and having fun and reconnecting, and it made me realize just how much I was missing our peaceful life, and I hadn't even realized that it was gone. 

So when we got home, I decided that it was time to reorganize, re-prioritize, re-evaluate our home and lives. It was time to bring back things that had been missing. 

When we brought all of our things home from Colorado, we suddenly had a whole house full of things and some of the items that had become a big part of our lives while our things were in storage for those six months... somehow got pushed out.

The beautiful tree that was hanging in the dining room that N and I put leaves on for each season was taken down because it didn't fit once the furniture was in the room. I fully intended on putting it somewhere else, but it never happened. Our daily rhythm charts and morning and evening verses suffered the same fate.

For a while we continued even without the charts and verses hanging on the wall. We had them memorized, after all. But then N got sick. Really sick. So sick that D and I were starting to get worried. This happened over Christmas, which never really felt like Christmas because of it. And when he was finally well again, and without those reminders on our walls... we never started back up. We slipped back into old routines (or lack thereof), and it led to... not necessarily chaos (we're not chaotic people by any means), but... the lovely peaceful feeling that our home had once had was just not there anymore. Things felt rushed... tempers were a bit shorter... you know.

And N was suffering for it. His bedtimes, which used to be such a source of stress for all of us, but which had been so lovely for quite some time, were once again tortuous affairs, rife with crying and short tempers and sharp words and late nights and less sleep. In a word... they were awful. 

When I finally came to my senses, I knew that was the first thing that needed to change. Our relationship with N is the most important thing there is and, with many more of those bedtimes, it was going to start causing irreparable damage.

So I brought back the nighttime rhythm. Ahh... have I mentioned how much I love the Waldorf principle of rhythm? It really does make all the difference in the world. Within a few days of bring the rhythm back, of bedtime tea and candles and calm, our nights were 15000% better. And I can't believe that I ever let us let go of that.

Right now we're working on bringing back the morning and daytime rhythms. We're still figuring those out to see what will work best for us now, as things have changed a bit since we let the old rhythms go. We're working on simplifying our days so that there is time once again to get outside in nature, and spend time together that is not tempered by dishes that need washing, laundry that needs folding, TV that "needs" to be watched (why does it seems that that box sneaks in and takes right over when I'm not looking? If I could get rid of it, I think I would; D, however, is not there). I'm going to pull my paints out this week and make some new rhythm charts and make sure they get a place of honor somewhere in the house. Because apparently we need daily visual reminders.

The tree outside our sliding back door is blossoming; isn't it beautiful? To get us outside this week, we're going to see how many different kinds of blossoming trees we can identify.
So that's where we are today. And I have a question for anyone reading this. 

How do YOU simplify? I mean that in every sense of the word. Home, schedules, meals, everything. Please share!