August 21, 2018

All Quiet on the Midwestern Front


Here I sit this morning while Pandora's Brunch Cafe Radio plays softly in the background, my froth topped chai by my side while I enjoy the dimly lit corners of my home with great thanks to this overcast day that is reminiscent of early fall.


It's always hard to know where to start after a long absence. It has been a summer of fun, laughter, travel, letting go, new beginnings and peace. It has passed quicker than can be believed which seems to be a constant refrain as I grow older. My baby, who just yesterday was watching Little Bear with me and asking me to sing her nightly lully while she clutched her blankie, is now a senior in high school. Does she even know where her blankie is now? Is it okay that I still put Little Bear on sometimes and revisit those special days? The future holds so much promise for her and for us too but I can't help but sometimes long for the days when my babies were babies and they needed their momma. I already feel nostalgic for this year that has just begun and I know there are many bittersweet moments ahead for me. So many lasts and firsts. All as it should be.


My mind is frantic lately. I find myself googling "how to quiet your mind" because it seems even as I start one task my mind is filled with ideas of another. I grab my phone often to add something to one of the 15 lists I keep there. I live in constant fear that I will forget something, that very important task or brilliant idea, will slip through the sieve that is my memory these days.


I start a project, put it down, work on a different one, research dining room tables, sewing my own clothes, natural fiber dyeing, search for sweater patterns, cast on a new pair of socks,  deep clean the mudroom, organize the pantry and under the stairs, hand wash my knit socks, organize and sort out my wardrobe. And all the books. And the fabric. And the yarn.


Should I paint the studio? Sew new curtains? It's all so exquisitely, exhaustingly endless but for someone who planned to spend this year intentionally, I seem to be at the whim of my short circuiting brain. This process of sorting through every possession I have, getting rid of those things I don't love or which no longer serve my needs is giving me great peace. What's left in it's place are clean and well organized spaces, as well as space in my mind for the things that are far more pleasing.


I recently read this article and this one about "Highly Sensitive" people. I had never heard that term before and have never in my life identified so deeply with something. Somehow reading this made me realize that I have felt like I needed to apologize for who I am and this somehow made me feel validated and like I could proudly own it. My desire for peace overrides all else.


So just as I'm immersing myself in peace, we have decided to begin some renovations around here, starting with some smaller projects this year and culminating in a complete to the studs and subfloors kitchen/dining room renovation. I already know how that chaos will send me into a tailspin but hope that I can minimize the stress by keeping my eye on the end result...the kitchen I've been dreaming about since I first began tearing pages out of magazines 30 years ago. Good things come to those who wait.


15 comments:

  1. Wow, Jen, I am excited to follow along as you finally get your dream kitchen! Senior year was a tough one for me when my older daughter got to that point...she was going away to college and every time they sent anything home about graduation I bawled my eyes out! By the time she graduated I was an absolute mess....and when we left her at college in the fall I cried for the four hours it took for us to drive home. Then I sat in her room crying for the rest of the evening. See? A complete mess. Hope your year is better than that!!

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  2. You just described my brain. I think Social Media has done it. Too much comparison...scrolling through all the beautiful homes and projects. Online shopping for one piece of decor that I absolutely don’t need. Ugh. Can’t wait to see the studs turn into your dream kitchen. You are very, very patient and I know it’s going to be worth every speck of construction dust. Julia

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  3. I still have a folder of magazine pictures and i love to look over them now and then....and seeing something come to life from them is the really fun...enjoy making them come to be at your home!

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  4. As you know, Jen, I'm an INFJ like you are. And yes, I'm also a HSP. I think the two pretty much go hand-in-hand. I'm surprised you hadn't heard of/read about HSP before. I read both articles you linked to and I could identify with every single point. I love my quiet, peaceful, dimly lit house...I am so sensitive to artificial light that I can't stand to have the overhead kitchen light on. I also have to have comfortable clothing...soft, cotton materials, nothing tight or itchy. That's why I live in cotton shirts and yoga pants at home. And yes, I need a lot of quiet, alone time - time to recharge and be alone with my thoughts. I could never come home from a party or event and just go straight to bed.

    Home renovations are very hard for me to deal with, too. In fact, our roof is being repaired this week (well, we hope so...we're going through contractor hell right now) and I'll have to leave while the roof is being done. Hubby will be home though, so it's all good. Our front porch will probably be getting re-done this summer/fall too, and that will be more noise and chaos which will drive me nuts, but at least it's a quick project. Now when my kitchen and living room had some reno work done last year and it took four days and my house was in shambles and everything was total chaos, that was *very* hard on me. I can't imagine the kind of work you're having done and how that will affect you while it's going on, but you gotta hang in there and keep your mind on the final outcome. INFJs and HSPs unite! xoxo

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  5. Good to see you! Now I have followed your story for awhile now, and after reading this I have to ask you, is this really necessary at this time to start renovations? Last year you raised a puppy, after a very difficult health year. Now you are facing your daughter's senior year. Another stressful time. Adding renovations on top of it, may spell disaster. Sit quiet and enjoy your home as is at least until things calm down a bit. :) Kit

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  6. I just bought that same magazine I see in your second photo! I have not read it yet. Having your youngest daughter start her senior year is a milestone for sure!

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  7. Ah! I just read those pieces about HSPs and can identify 100%. I am an INFJ and a HSP, and it can be a struggle, and it can be a joy to delight in creativity and "flow." Strikes and gutters, ups and downs. Wishing you all the best with the kitchen remodel and with adjusting to your daughter's senior year!

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  8. I have been waiting for you to return, glad you are back. Summer time is a great time to sort through all the stuff that weighs me down. I am missing our first son who has moved out and it is tough even though he is only 2 1/2 hours away!
    I remember the days when my youngest was a senior-I was counting the firsts and the lasts. It is a great journey for them but tough on the Moms! Hang in there!

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  9. I had never heard of HSP before. Thank you for bringing this out--now I don't have to feel weird and out-of-place anymore. Thank you; thank you!!!

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  10. We are so much alike, Jen. I constantly feel time getting away from me. I'm not as creative as you are with your sewing and such, but I love to focus on the small, meaningful tasks like organizing my desk drawer or boxes of photos. Just time -alone projects to keep my mind calm and focused.

    I felt so much like you do now when Abigail was in her senior year. I was a mess when she left for college, she is the youngest. Then I was even more upset when I found out she was homesick, so I was carrying a huge burden of unhappiness. It's not easy. I know two girlfriends that say they are looking forward to the empty nest to enjoy time with their husbands, to travel and just take it easy. I totally respect that, I guess I wear my heart on my sleeve.

    Sending love and hugs...enjoy your projects and have a ball creating the kitchen of your dreams!

    Jane

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  11. I am still not used to my kids being older, one is 24 and the other 21. I think Little Buddy helps that but along with reliving it all comes the frustrations that you so easily forget about. I am very sensitive myself, I cried for several days when my oldest left for Ohio State, so, so far away. My middle child is at UCF so we can still see him when he needs a break and I know he is just two hours away. I will never get used to them growing up and growing away. Be easy on yourself.

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  12. Jen, I am catching up on my reading this afternoon.... I am so happy I kept scrolling and found your posts. I always enjoy you posts. I understand jumping from one project to another. I am guilty of doing the same thing. Enjoy this last year of high school with your daughter. Have a wonderful weekend. Hugs!

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  13. I always forget how wonderful it is to visit you here but today I was reminded again. Your way with words evokes a timeless need for order in an often chaotic world. Time to slow down and clear the clutter before the business of the holiday season to come gets swallowed up in all the excess. Enjoy every moment of your sweet girls final year of high school my friend.

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  14. Summer just sped right by! Love to see an update from you. Enjoy senior year! How can that even be possible??? xoxo

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  15. Oh this summer has gone so quickly... maybe as it was the summer that I wanted to slow down as Patch starts high school in just a few days. Sob. And I am back to the classroom too - I think I will need to find my peaceful time. Sounds like you have had a lovely summer - and such exciting times ahead!

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