I believe, however, that I am starting to come out of that season of my life, and in honor of reclaiming me, I thought I'd give you a glimpse of what's been going on in my life, and where I believe things are headed.
You will likely recall that my daughter, Rachel, got married just three days before the kidnapping. Even though I'd had two children move out previously, her departure had an especially large impact on my day-to-day life because Rachel is a natural home-maker. Over the years, as she developed her skills in this area, I sacrificially (umm hmmm) allowed her to handle most of the housework: the cleaning, cooking, organizing, decorating, planning, household budgeting, shopping, menu planning, scheduling . . . well, you get the idea. Rachel ran the house. Of course it was hard on me, when Rachel left, trying to pick up all of the pieces of running the household - especially while recuperating from the trauma of being kidnapped. Makes sense, right?
Then, though this may be TMI for some, I'm a woman in my 50's and it was inevitable that menopause would be rearing up at some point. Although I'd had no noticeable signs before the kidnapping, I was in full menopause just a few months after. That was fun, dealing with wacky emotional and physical responses to the hormonal fluctuations, while also recuperating from being kidnapped, which apparently can also produce some interesting emotions.
Ben, partly in response to being kidnapped, partly in response to me being all over the place emotionally, and partly because he was in the throes of becoming a teenager at this same point in time . . . well, Ben became a handful to parent. A really BIG handful. And homeschooling him became the worst thing in my life. That was especially hard to deal with, while we were both getting over the effects of the kidnapping. (Are you sensing a theme, here?)
Things shambled on in a messy way for a few months longer, until we came to a place where we had to resolve some serious, ongoing Ben issues. There's a lot of middle-story I'm leaving out, but in January of 2015 Ben started attending school, rather than being homeschooled. This has been a good change for everyone - but it has required a LOT of time and hard work in the adjustment, and we're not done adjusting yet! Because Ben was behind in his studies, he and I basically homeschooled in the evenings after school, from January through the end of the school year in June, to get him caught up with his class in the subjects which are taught in English at the school (math, science, history, Bible, and English).
Through the summer, we continued a (slightly less grueling) study schedule, which also included several hours of tutoring in Spanish, three days each week. At the end of the summer, just as Ben was heading back to school, Boo, the youngest daughter of the family, moved back to the US, to work for a year before starting in on college. Boo is a quiet one, but her sweet spirit and her willingness to jump in and help wherever she was needed is sorely missed here now!
Suddenly, I was alone in the house all day - no kids at all! Since this hasn't been the situation in my life for the past twenty eight years - and as homeschoolers the kids and I spent huge amounts of our time learning, working, and laughing together during those years - I think you can imagine how . . . adrift . . . I've been feeling lately.
However, with Ben's school situation gradually stabilizing - and now that I've had some time to adjust to the new realities in my life - well, I can see that the world is sort of opening up in a new way for me. I'm working on setting up some systems to get our home running more efficiently (including hiring household help) to free up my time for the things that I think God is calling me to do in the future. I'm not entirely sure what those things are, exactly, but I want to be ready for them!
Meanwhile, maybe I'll do a bit more baking . . . .