There is so much to say about this first week of school. I could talk about Lyle’s transition from anxiety to ambivalence to an attitude of embracing kindergarten – right down to today’s unbridled joy over actually getting his first homework assignment. I would also love to tell you about Baxter’s giddiness about being back in the classroom, the fine motor skills he’s been plugging away at starting to improve enough to give him some real confidence about his writing and drawing. The super cool work they’ve started to bring home that I’m dying to scan and post here. It’s been a pretty incredible week to be their mother, that’s the truth. They may not be the only ones with the perma-grins.
But here’s the thing: it’s my turn. So let’s pretend for a moment you all came here to find out what I was up to this week. Because, really, aren’t you kind of wondering what the hell I’m doing with myself now that I’ve cut back dramatically on the kind of direct work I’ve been doing for years? I thought so. Thanks for asking!
First of all, it’s been awesome.
Second of all, it’s been awesome.
Seriously. I’ve got just a small number of regular work hours scheduled this fall and the rest is flexible time. And remember that I now have two kids in full-day school – I still can’t believe my luck. Right now I’m filling many of those hours with a strange combination of errands, appointments, hours at my desk on billing and insurance for my practice, and returning calls. But I am loving what feels like carefree independence, being out and about in the city, getting things done without anyone sharing minute details about Pokemon with me in the backseat; when I get through the things I pushed into September (knowing I’d be kid-free), my days will be a bit more open.
For the past few years when I’ve been working like crazy with highly scheduled days, I was aware of these little flickers of professional opportunity – I had a vague sense that they were out there but was too busy to focus on what they actually were and grab hold of them. I decided – for all sorts of reasons – that this was going to be the year I would open up my schedule and really see what’s out there.
For one thing, I am continuing to run workshops with school districts that are implementing the SCERTS Model, something I love to do and believe strongly in. In fact, I’m leading a 2-day training this coming week for a local district. But I couldn’t have done too many of these this year if I had a schedule booked with lots of regular clients again. I wasn’t sure what else was out there but I felt strongly that it was worth the risk to make the time available.
Sure enough, things are already getting interesting. Families looking for SCERTS help in the home, a new start-up focusing on autism home care and educational programming seeking input and advice, a new Music Together class I’ve initiated for kids with special needs and their siblings. I have time to meet people over coffee, find out what they need, network, and figure out how I can help. That seems so basic, but it’s been years since I’ve had the kind of time available to do things like that during the day.
I don’t know which possibilities will turn into reality yet, but I don’t mind. I feel confident after just one week that I’m going to be perfectly fine – that the bills will get paid and I’m going to have all sorts of interesting new work. Bring it on!