So ... though I failed to get to Toward Advent yesterday, my eldest went along and represented us!
I do miss the chance to catch up with people I no longer meet with very often - but in honesty, the social pull was my sole reason to go - I am always penniless at this time of year, after paying various annual bills, sending money into schools for various trips/events, supporting the numerous pro-life events in October - and this year, having bought two full sets of new uniform, as my youngest started secondary school, and his brother moved to a new school in September.
None the less, we had a productive day, being engrossed in various essentials - one honing a 'Personal Statement' for university applications giving me drafts every so often to edit/comment on - and one doing the homework he 'forgot' over the half-term! The youngest was engaged in playing games and providing jokes and entertainment at intervals - secure in the knowledge that I received a letter from his school last week proclaiming his great achievements during the first half of this term, and praising him for all his efforts and the huge progress he has made!
In between editing and haranguing the students to stay focused (and ignore Pio's jokes!) I spent an unhappy day searching for my Jury Summons! I had 'filed' the original letter away 'somewhere safe' and it took all of St Anthony's skills to excavate it! Be warned you who have not yet received such an invitation - it states that on replying you will be sent the pack of information you will need for Jury Service - but when you get it, said pack informs you that if you don't bring the original letter with you, you can be liable for a fine of up to £1000!!!
Thank you St Anthony - you never fail us!
And why do I live in such chaos??? Well, ... mea culpa!
I homeschooled two or more of my four children on and off for nearly two decades, and for a consecutive period of about 7 years in the middle. A symptom of homeschooling is the accumulation of books, craft resources, videos, tapes, DVDs, wall charts ... need I go on? These slowly become beloved family members, or forgotten 'fall-backs' that didn't suit at the time, but may yet be useful for a younger sibling!
Add to that our housing situation - once a dilemma, now stable. We were, from 1996 to 2004 in long term council 'overflow' accommodation. Getting moved from house to house every couple of years, at less than 2 weeks notice each time - with no control or say in the matter. You might think that a family in this situation would have the sense to pare down their goods - but contrarily, the less stable and steady my home was, the more important these beloved items became! I know - how materially minded of me, when I should have just put my trust in God and weathered the storm! Anyway, we are now in a permanent private let - but... it is the smallest house we have lived in to date!
Worse than that - none of my children are homeschooled any more and really, many of these resources should be with others who need them. I've given one or two bits and pieces away over the years - but nothing approaching the mountain of books we have stacked in every available corner or shelf or surface....!!! This circumstance means that few other things (papers, letters, photos etc.) have a permanent place to live, and I have several stacks of 'important' papers that mostly reside in my bedroom!
About three times every year I set about 'decluttering' - and fail miserably to make any real progress!
...now that all the children are at school/work I actually have the house to myself a lot more of the time. While it might be helpful to have the older ones about to add velocity to the job, in a quiet and empty house I can actually string two thoughts together without interruption, and that's what I need to start reorganising.
Funny - I am a great organiser in all things outside the home - at work, for example. Just not for me!
Ah well, another by-product of having a quiet house in the daytime, is that I can actually focus on personal prayer more often, and that was one of the 'vitamins' I have been lacking over the years.
I wish I could have gone to Towards Advent yesterday, and moreover the Requiem Mass in the Cathedral - my eldest told me how lovely (and crowded) it was. But the children are only children for a short time, and there will be years yet when I will not be so necessary to their day-to-day tasks and plans, and will be more easily able to attend these events.
Enough rambling for one day I think! Onwards and upwards...!
My son will - I hope - be confirmed in the Traditional Rite the week after next, and is going today to see a priest who will assess his readiness for the Sacrament.
Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of the faithful,
and kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created,
and you will renew the face of the earth.