I wonder how many people are grappling with some sort of emotional fallout from the election last week. This isn’t just disappointment that one’s preferred candidate didn’t win – this feels much different. Speaking for myself, it feels like we as a country have been plunged into a time of great uncertainty and instability, and it’s scary as fuck. And that’s compounded by the fact that the election results have revealed some very ugly truths about at least half of the American people, and the things they applaud, condone, or willfully ignore. I still can hardly wrap my head around it, and when I think about the next four years, it is with a feeling of dread.
Life in Oregon is … well, life. What’s that saying? “Wherever you go, there you are.” I love it here, I really do. There are so many great things about this corner of the world, but I’m struggling, too. The homesickness did hit. It comes in fits and starts, and it’s not terrible or overwhelming, but I do frequently find myself feeling a little sad and a little isolated lately. I miss the familiarity of Fullerton. I miss knowing how to get everywhere and seeing familiar faces around town. I dislike living in a temporary home, and I feel like a stranger, an outsider here. Not that people aren’t friendly – people are noticeably nicer here than back in SoCal – but I’m on a learning curve right now, trying to find my way around, figure out the lay of the land and local customs and such, and it’s a little disconcerting.
Michael is out of town (back in SoCal, actually) on business for the second time since we moved here not even three weeks ago, so that makes it hard, too. This will be a somewhat regular thing, so I need to adjust to that, too. I managed to lock myself out of my truck at Target (not within walking distance to home) a few days ago – locked my phone, keys, purse, everything in my truck. I had no money so I couldn’t call a cab. I was able to use the phone inside Target to call Michael, but he was stuck on a conference call with the court, so I had to wait in the freezing cold for an hour and a half for him to come with a spare key to my truck. It was miserable, but all I kept thinking was, “What if this happened while he was out of town? I don’t even know anyone here who I could call to help me out.”
Homeschooling here has been frustrating so far. Locals say it’s super easy to homeschool here, but the laws are different from California, and I’m trying to navigate them. All I had to do in California was file a Private School Affidavit with the state once a year, and that was it – I had complete autonomy. Here, each child who is homeschooled has to be registered separately with the local school district and homeschooled students are required to undergo state testing every couple of years. Which is fine, but if you have a kid with special needs or learning challenges, then you have to go through a whole other process to get an alternative to the testing. So I’m feeling very stressed out about homeschooling Finn (on numerous fronts, which would take a whole separate post to delve into), and this has also brought me to the point of finally seeking a formal diagnosis of dyslexia for Lilah, which we never did in California because it’s so expensive. So we are going through that process right now.
And Joey. I thought I would just cobble together something for him for the rest of the school year – and I had some really cool programs picked out – but discovered that Oregon does not give high school credits for homeschoolers. So we could have gone ahead and done our own thing anyway, and he could have “repeated” ninth grade next year when he’s enrolled back in public school, but he’s adamant about not wanting to do that. So in the end, I enrolled him in an online charter school that is part of the Oregon public school system to ensure that he’s on track for earning the appropriate high school credits. But that whole process has been a hassle and has resulted in quite a bit of stress.
We’ve totally fallen off our homeschool routine with the move, and having a hard time getting back on track. There are materials I packed away that I can’t seem to find and have had to reorder things and that’s also made it hard to get back on track. I’m finding that when Joey was in school before we moved, his school schedule had a way of giving our homeschool days some structure, and now that’s gone, although now that he’s finally started with the online school, at least he’s getting into a routine by necessity.
Anyway, I’m feeling generally overwhelmed. It’s hard being with the kids all day every day, and I’m not going to bother qualifying that statement or apologizing for it. I’m at the point where I think I need to outsource some of this – it’s too much all on me. I’m spread too thin and feel like I’m letting everyone down in some way. So I’m exploring ways of taking some of this off my plate. Maybe it means finding a co-op or having the kids take a class elsewhere on a regular basis. Maybe it means paying for a tutor for Lilah instead of trying to address her (suspected) dyslexia myself. Meanwhile, I’m also looking for a ballet studio for Daisy, horseback riding lessons for Annabelle, guitar lessons for Lilah, a theater program for Joey, and maybe it’s time for Finn and Scarlett to do some extracurriculars.
In time, I’m sure I’ll find my footing again.