The last couple of years have been doozies. Hard. Stressful. Learning experiences. My personal life has been filled with figuring out who I am and what I really want out of life. The outside world — political, religious, and more — has been fraught with fighting and anger and fear and finger-pointing. In this world of Negative Nancies and the feeling that so much is awful, I’ve decided I’m determined to spend time finding the gold. Those moments that make everything else worth it. Those moments that shine brighter and stronger than anything difficult might.

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The kids

My children run me ragged. With four kids ranging in age from 2 to 13, you can imagine the variety of quarrels and crying and emotional meldowns we have on a daily basis. And that’s just me. Just kidding. (Sort of.)

We stay exceptionally busy between all of the karate and dance and band and soccer and homework and naps and chauffeuring. I’m the fourth of five kids in my family, and I just never realized how hard it could be to have so many kids.

Now, I recognize there are others who have more children than we do, and the stress and anxiety is all relative.

I also recognize that this time with the running everywhere is quite literally just a season and that my children will — sooner rather than later — grow up and move out. That Math Man and I will very likely sit in this huge house wondering where all the time went.

So let me remember now some of the glorious, gold-shining moments:

  • My kids randomly blurt out, “I love you,” to both of us and to their siblings.
  • We love going to the pizza place after the boys rank up in karate. It’s in no way stress-free, and we probably waste more food than we actually get into everyone’s stomach, but it’s a tradition. These kids live for rank-up pizza place Friday.
  • Speaking of Fridays, the two littles and I bask in the glory of being just the three of us some days. On Fridays, we have FRY DAYS, and I get to have an excuse to buy a burger and fries. It’s another something we just love to do.
  • As I sit typing this, I have one practicing “Crazy Train” on clarinet, one practicing Geometry Dash, one helping Daddy with the outside chores, and one frolicking around outside likely “helping” Daddy with basically nothing. 😉
  • At the end of the day, when Math Man and I are so crazy tired and just want to collapse, we have these sweet, just-us moments of conversation. They have become so precious to me as we really listen to one another without any distraction. Because the kids take up so much of our waking hours, we both have realized the importance of really, truly talking and listening to one another.

The job

Almost seven years ago, I walked out of my face-to-face classroom for the last time. With the impending birth of the Animal, we made the decision that I would work from home teaching online English. I had no clue that I would still be here seven years later with another at-least-three on the docket.

Many, many times throughout the day, I long for that classroom. For the chance to be with people. My extroverted self really needs the energy of interacting with live humans. When I finish a meeting in person, I often come home feeling “high” or as if I will not be able to rest. I just love it.

There have been several moments lately where I question my choice of staying home. I don’t question my choice of the children, but I do realize that by now, had I stayed in the face-to-face world, I’d likely not “still” be a teacher. I’d be in the administrative role that I put myself back in to school to do.

By staying home, I’ve ultimately put my career on hold. And most days, when I really think about it, that fact completely bums me out.

So, I have to find the gold in these moments, too:

  • I’m here when kids get sick. There’s no finding a substitute or calling in sick. I just go to my kids.
  • Yoga pants and big shirts. With bad hair. Enough said.
  • Fun work friends make it so worth it. I’ve made friendships that go beyond just planning for the students or working on a project. Some of these folks, I’ve never met face to face. It’s fun to have inside jokes and giphy wars with them.
  • The chance to be creative is there all day every day. My job requires that I teach students in a way that is not the same in a face to face classroom. So, I have to break out my creative powers. And it’s fun.

Life in general

I don’t get to see my friends as often as I would like. In fact, my BFF Heather see each other so seldom that we relish the 20 minutes we can chat in a parking lot when we exchange cookies.

In this particular season of life, having friends feels almost impossible. Having deep relationships with friends feels even harder. I long for in-person interaction, but since I can’t get it as often as I’d like, I have to watch for or remember these golden nuggets:

  • Online friends are awesome. I’ve made quite a few friends that I’ve literally never met in person, and some of them I’m closer to than I would have ever guessed.
  • My level of aware has gone up based on the opportunity to interact with folks outside of this little circle of the world where I live. I have to be careful of fake news, as it is, but I do have the skills to check on reliability there!
  • It’s just a season. This, too, shall pass. Whatever else there is to say about where I am right now is completely true. My friends are in the throes of this time, and we will look back some day and smile at how “awful” we thought it was!

Visit my bloggy friends who are also writing on the topic, “Rainbows.” Their links are below:

Tamara from Part-Time Working Hockey Mom has a recipe for Rainbow Sheet Cake

Karen from Baking in a Tornado has a recipe for Shamrock Breakfast Treats

Jules from The Bergham Chronicles has Rainbow Colored Glasses (a list fun rainbow items that can be purchased to add color to your life!)

Dawn of Spatulas on Parade shares ideas for Rainbow Filled Treats

Melissa from My Heartfelt Sentiments offers Color Your World – bringing color to your world with handmade cards.