Every month, Abi of Creating Paper Dreams, hosts a link-up where people can sit and chat over a cup of tea. Now that Clara has made it out the front door to her first day of school, I could invite you in for a cup of coffee (or tea, if you prefer). Clara's taking an extra-early schedule this year, starting "zero period" at 6:30 a.m.! Although the predawn light made for a slightly blurry first day of school photo, she's happy to be starting her day with physical education because working out first thing in the morning gets her metabolism going and helps her concentrate in school.
After filling your mug, I'd tell you that I've been thinking a lot about how much time I spend being a parent. These thoughts have come into the forefront of my brain because many of Henry's friends have left for college in the last few weeks. (As an aside, I'd tell you that Henry is still asleep downstairs but not to worry about waking him; he won't crawl out of his boy-cave until around 11:00). He's not due to leave for University until September 21, but several of my friends have already taken their youngest off to college and are now describing themselves as "empty nesters." We still have Clara at home for another three years, but I can envision the time when both the kids are off at college, and I wonder at all the time which will be freed up. Truthfully, I spend a huge portion of my day being a parent. I know I won't stop parenting my children after they move out, but it will be a much less active part of my day-to-day life.
I wonder at how much I have come to define myself as a parent during the last eighteen years. Although I am still a law professor, a blogger, an artist, and a wife, I spend more hours on being a parent than on anything else! And the sheer number of hours has affected how I see myself, the friends I've developed and the activities I enjoy. I'd ask you if you ever think about how you define yourself - is it by a role which you fulfill? Or something else?
After that philosophical discussion, maybe I'd offer you another cup and conversation would drift to other topics. I'd tell you that I got a bit "stuck" in my storytelling class I was taking. Mainly because I got caught up in the idea of writing a memoir and then realized there was no way I was ready to take on the project. Now that I have made peace with that idea, I do want to go back and finish up the last two lessons because I really have gotten a lot out of the class. I'd tell you that I also want to get back to finishing up my "Passport to Art" altered book because I only have a few pages left to do.
Maybe the dogs would wander into the living room, and I could show you some of the good behavior they've been learning at obedience class. I'd tell you that the trek over to class is always tough because poor Aria hates riding in the car, but that the class is worth it because the dogs really are becoming better household members, and it is so fun to watch Clara train Aria (while I work with Gypsy).
Before you had to leave, perhaps we could exchange book and television suggestions. I could tell you I really enjoyed The Son by Philipp Meyer, and I want to finish up The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach before my book group meets next week. I think we plan to read Transatlantic by Colum McCann next. I've also heard good things about Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter, Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward, The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes, and We are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler. Plus I'm interested in Freedom by Jonathan Franzen and Home by Toni Morrison. Have you read any of these or heard anything about them? I'd tell you how much I enjoyed the first two seasons of Luther and how Paul and I are currently watching Broadchurch (both on BBC America). House of Cards on Netflix has also been highly recommended, so I think I'll start in on that show next. Do you have any other suggestions?
Finally, I'd ask you if you've ever participated in Shimelle's September class "Learn Something New Everyday" and whether you plan to do it this year. I've done it several times and have always enjoyed it. I'm seriously considering doing it this year, in conjunction with a face drawing/art journaling class being offered by Dina Wakley. I can see a journal full of messy, sketchy faces and lessons jotted down next to each one. Isn't that a cool idea?
If you would like to link up at this month's tea party or see what others are chatting about, click on this link.