J attended his second session (second year) of Not Back to School Camp last week. The first time he said it was "the best experience of my life". This year he said it was even better. He came back initially quiet, processing, but then wanting to talk about everything. He is almost manic in his excitement about the possibilities for his life. He is focused. And while he is always thoughtful, the thoughtfulness is pouring out of him right now.

Last night I stayed up way past my bedtime to talk with him (and N was included in some of this) about:

-Being a good guest in someone's home, what that entails; not taking for granted that things are done a certain way, not making assumptions; always asking to be sure. Also how to be a good host: be honest about your needs and expectations, don't assume the guest knows how you want things done.

-The power of making one's own place in the world; of autonomy in decision-making and the actual doing. Of how our culture's social and economic systems are set up to in some ways oppose that and keep it from happening.

 -What he would like his personal living space to be like. The materials and design for individualized functionality and how they create security and comfort (not to mention being practical.)

 -Working out how to make the money he needs to do what he wants in the coming year. What's possible. Getting employment, making money, saving money, volunteering for experience.

-The deeply logical process of some video games; learning logic through gaming. The value of video game "zoning out" -- frees up the mind to wander and think -- alpha brain waves.

That's the more heady stuff. We also talked about who his favorite people were at camp and why; his favorite parts of camp; and how the running of the camp is structured and what role the campers play in that. He joked around and did some funny voices and worked for a while on trying to imitate N's voice (he is really good at voices.) He played piano and talked about his personal process of learning to play, how that works. We watched some cleverly funny YouTube videos with N. He did exercises to strengthen his legs (while talking.) Finally I had to excuse myself to go to sleep but I have no doubt that if I'd stayed we would have ended up talking into the wee hours of the morning!

sunlight coming through: musings on a late pregnancy

The sun came out today, I can't remember the last time I saw it. Glaring bright parallelograms on the wood floor. Iridescent dew on the grass. It is wonderful. I miss it so much when it's not here.

Today I found out that I am pregnant. I had an inkling. My period did not come. The past few days I've been having baby dreams. My mood is brighter, I feel like everything is really okay. I am more loving, more patient. I like these hormones.

Though we hadn't been trying, we hadn't been not trying either, not very hard anyway. I had my IUD taken out this spring, it had reached the end of its life and was causing some problems. I started to fear that it was causing internal damage. I didn't want it in there anymore. Since then we have not been very serious about birth control. It is too lovely to just love and let nature take its course. It has a whole different feel to it. It makes me feel real and alive. The truth is that we would love to have another baby.

There are reasons to not have a baby. I am 45 years old. I do not have a means of bringing in income, and we are not wealthy enough to be able to afford some basics on our own, like dental care. Though I'm capable and talented, my heart and spirit have been too beaten down by the work world. I am scared of it. I know so many capable, talented people who are actively trying to find work and haven't been able to. There is not much available. My friend told me that for a low-level library job here recently there were 400 applicants. In this small town of 50,000 people. When Scott's work was hiring for a far more skilled job than that, there were around 150 applicants, many that had owned their own businesses previously. There is no work.

I have had it in my head for a long time that I should be somehow contributing monetarily anyway, but it seems that sense of duty and responsibility together with the fear prevents me from accomplishing what I could, what I feel I should. All I seem to be able to do is live, and love. And try to figure out who I am, and why I am here, and what the point is.

So far we can, just barely, make it by with his income. We are in debt. We have help. My parents, who are fairly well off, bought us a car. We receive other gifts occasionally. We would not ever starve. There is a sense of guilt, though, of failed potential. I'm healthy and I am in love with my husband and children. I've parented well. But you know, that doesn't count for much, as far as status goes. I haven't done one thing that they could brag about.

I'm not ever likely to, either, because I don't care anymore. It hurt me, this trying. And now, I get to be comfortable in a life of not trying, if I choose to. Instead of fighting for more, I get to rest if I want to. What a fortunate situation that is. How is it that I'm not rejoicing over it? It makes much more sense to make the best of this luck rather than staying mired in cultural expectations and judgments that I can do nothing about.

I feel resigned. This worrying about others' judgments hasn't been fruitful. So I give it up. And what's left? To live, and love.

This having a baby business when you are not well off, when you are "old", when you already have four children, it is something that you don't just go around announcing. People aren't going to be happy for you. They will be inclined to think you've lost your mind. Possibly they will be jealous and petty, resenting us for something they believe they have responsibly denied themselves. So I can't rely on others to make this into something for me. It has to be what it is entirely on its own merits. On what it means to us, the only ones for whom it really matters. The only ones for whom having an opinion makes sense.

I feel so tired. I have given up. Judge away, people! I will not stop you. I don't have the strength to say "how dare you". I don't care enough about your concerns to be sorry about it either. It is a selfish thing, it is an entirely selfish thing. I admit it and don't apologize for it. And I don't think it would help anyone else one bit for me to give it up. I don't believe that anymore. What is really is about is: what is it to us?

In this world of war and suffering, I want to retreat, to disappear. Into my own world, where I get to feel passion and love and joy through this making of a new life. I might never get such a chance again. Yes, I want to take advantage of it.