Michaelmas

I’ve always struggled with Michaelmas. It’s Nick’s birthday, Michael’s nameday, and a festival in and of itself. It feels especially difficult this year.

Dragon drawing from www.chalkboarddrawing.org

So many people have used the pandemic lockdown to be productive– sourdough bread and COVID gardens and hiking and binge-watching that Tiger thing on Netflix. I’ve been using it to work and parent. That’s… pretty much it. Before March, I had three and a half jobs– I teach Kindermusik, voice, piano, and some theater at music studio, and then I had two teaching artists gigs with two local non-profits. My half-job was a job teaching afterschool science, which I was slowly phasing out. I’ve been trying to do more private teaching, and it just wasn’t fitting well with afterschool teaching. Then the pandemic came. All my lessons moved online. My private lessons increased, but my group classes haven’t been filling. And my two non-profit jobs blinked out altogether, at least for now, which makes me sad, because I truly believe in both them.

So instead, I feel like I’m constantly hustling. The US wasn’t built for the gig economy/ contract work before, and this pandemic has proven it. So here I am, trying to get as many private students as possible, both through the studio and (for people who are not from my city) and privately. I’m teaching on Outschool, and loving it, and trying to get Seasons of Joy going again. I’ve especially enjoyed sharing Seasons of Joy on Outschool. I’m trying to get theater classes going on there as well, but for some reason, that doesn’t seem to be sticking/ I’m teaching music for a few pandemic pods. I’m pretty much grabbing any job that comes along. And when I’m not doing that, I’m parenting. My two college kids are remote learning. My two arts magnet school kids are remote learning. And I pulled the twins from their Montessori school and they’re cyber schooling. So I’m working and teaching other people’s kids or I’m teaching my own. I’m trying to keep the house in order. I’m trying to be there for my kids. I’m slaying a lot of my own dragons– it’s complicated and not something I feel comfortable writing about, but I am. But beyond that, there’s not room for a whole lot more.

So… Michaelmas. It’s really not that widely celebrated outside of Waldorf circles, and when it is, it’s mainly secular and used to mark the turning of the seasons. It’s what’s known as a quarter day—  new jobs start, school terms begin, seasons switch over, and if you’re lucky, you might get a feast. For me, it’s always been a time of transition and, with it being Nick’s birthday and Michael’s name day, the celebration is built in. I’m not quite sure what it will be for us this year, because I’ll be teaching and teaching and teaching and then the kids will go to their father’s that evening.

Michaelmas Daisies

Maybe we’ll do something. Maybe we’ll do nothing. Meanwhile, here is some Michaelmas stuff from the past.

  • All my Michaelmas posts are here.
  • I have a whole Pinterest board full of Michaelmas ideas.
  • I have a Michaelmas Harvest Loaf recipe before, and you can find it on the blog, but it didn’t work out for us. Maybe try this one? Or really, any whole grain loaf of bread with butter and honey would work. Don’t let perfection be the enemy of the good.
  • I will never NOT share this beautiful story by Christine Natale.
  • And finally, my Michaelmas series for adults, Slaying the Dragons.

One thing I do know I want to do– I’ve really been delving into the concept of growth mindset. I think it has a lot of positives, although it can start to lean a little too much into “bootstrapping” and be used in a way that is harmful rather than helpful. Still, every morning we listen to a “Morning Mindset” song from this playlist I made, and I try to encourage my children (both the ones I made and the ones I teach) towards a growth mindset. I plan on finding a dragon cutout and having the children write one thing– a habit or a thought or a worry or a concern– on the dragon, with our minds set towards “slaying” that dragon in the coming year.

Busyness aside, I do love this time of year. It makes me feel more like cleaning than spring ever has. I want to organize and snuggle in and get all cozy as we move towards these amazing holidays– Martinmas, Thanksgiving, the season of Advent, Winter Solstice, and Christmas. And I have so much hope for 2020.

How will you celebrate Michaelmas?

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