I’ve had a wonderful time, these past few days, hanging out at home with Bill the spouse, doing a bunch of work on my (soon to be disclosed) Next Big Project, getting my blogging voice back here on JWN, etc. But it hasn’t been all work…
We’ve hung out with several good friends. I did a couple of sewing projects that really needed doing–altering two pairs of rather tricky tailored trousers that I bought a couple of years ago and that never fit me well until yesterday. I finished crocheting a dress for the Best Grandbaby in the World, and now I’m knitting a pair of socks according to a slightly complex pattern my daughter Leila urged on me… I’ve done a few cooking projects, and some yardwork. Bill and I have been playing our favorite One-Minute Perquackey (word-game) in person, rather than by videophone. I’ve been wrestling with some demonic Ken-Kens. And today I spent a lot of time Quakering. Our monthly Meeting for Worship with a concern for Business was today: It feels good to once again be fully present in and with the Meeting.
All of which makes me aware of how incredibly blessed I am. I love doing just about everything that I do these days! I get real pleasure out of all of it. Well-fitting trousers? Yay!!!! And I made them that way, after doing a bunch of intricate hand-sewing down the center-back of both the main fabric and the lining… Yardwork? Yay!!! I revel in my body’s strength at doing it, and am delighted at the daffodils that can now grow straight and true after I cleared the weight of old, packed ice and snow off them… Working on my new work project?? Yay!!!
… All this also makes me really grateful for the excellent education I received. My parents sent me to two private, all-girls’ schools back in England. We really did receive a good, well-rounded education… including in art, needlework, carpentry (an elective I rushed to take), cookery, music, dance, and sport– as well as in Latin, Greek, French, complex mathematics, the sciences, and all the other usual subjects. So okay, a long time ago I left the art, music, sport, and classical languages behind. But I got basic skills in all those areas, and had the experience of doing some substantial work in them; so now I get to choose which of any of those areas I can go back to, at any point.
I’m afraid the formal curricula in the schools my kids went to here in the US weren’t anywhere near as rich as mine. Even though two of my kids went to the famed “Sidwell Friends School” in Washington DC… But Sidwell, I concluded along the way, was much more of an academic forcing-house than it was a truly Quaker (Friends) educational environment…. My son actually got a far better-rounded curriculum when he went to a non-Quaker boarding school up in Maine, than he ever did at Sidwell. And my daughter Lorna, who went to public (government) schools all along, in DC and here in Charlottesville, had a generally fine school experience.
None of them ever had needlework classes in school, though. What a pity!
… Now, my daughter Leila is a fourth-grade teacher in a New York City public school in Manhattan. From what she says, it seems like a good school. They have “clubs” after the formal school-day ends each day, and each teacher gets to lead the clubs of her or his choice in six-week sessions. So far this year Leila’s led a couple of clubs in knitting, and one in felting. With the knitting ones, she had the kids start out by making their own needles from dowels, and doing a little carding and spinning of sheep’s wool, so they could understand the whole process (which is what Waldorf schools do, I believe.)
So anyway, I really am very blessed. I have three amazing children, a fabulous, supportive spouse, work that I love, a whole range of different right-brainy things I can do when I need to unwind… and the immense privilege and pleasure of being able to make real choices about how I spend my time. (But then, being a Quaker means that when you have a privilege you also have this nagging feeling that you have a big responsibility to use it wisely…. Ah well, that’s okay… Did I tell you I love being a Quaker, too?)
Have a great week, everyone!

2 thoughts on “R&R”

  1. Lucky you Helena!
    I found you telling us your family story as an inecent little girl. You are very blessed brcause you deserve it.
    I have much respect for you and for your spouse Professor Bill.

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