Sunday, May 22, 2011

and so we are free....

greenin' up nicely....

after many more discussions...many more tears (mine and hers)..and a conversation with Angels (excellent advice..thank you Sarah and Jacqui).....we found the source of this sudden interest in school.

{kelly- reading your comment made me smile}

turns out...after having seen all the kids coming  home from school looking so buoyant and joy-filled, she figured she was missing out on a good time.  i gently explained that perhaps they were happy because school was finished for the day....

i let her sit with that awhile.

and then she asked what Sebastian and i  would do when she was at school all day -- i answered, "oh, you know - our usual stuff...." and listed all the things we do, the visits we make, our little adventures....

as she started to cry, i asked her to think of the ways in which she is free...

and she remembered that she's: to lie in bed and read a whole Junie B.Jones book before getting up in the morning; free to spend two hours on YouTube researching how to play Sims: Medieval; free to check her email umpteen times a day to see if L has sent her a note from Pakistan; free to eat, sleep, play, talk, run, jump, skip, paint, build....whenever and howsoever she chooses.

i didn't sugar coat it....i told her the truth; of how there are some fun things that happen in school, but that fun isn't the point of the exercise. and that the fun stuff that occasionally happens at school, is the stuff we do every day. she hadn't realized that.

{i now have a venomous dislike for the various and assorted ways that 'school' is portrayed on television and in young children's books -- it had been my suspicion that her desire was stemming from a misguided notion of what school is like....seems i was right...grrrrrr}


so once our tears were dried, we discussed how she'd like some more "out and about"  {it was a long winter and a very rainy spring} and books she'd like to read and how she's going to save her money to buy the new Sims game now that she has an idea of how to play it {she counted up last night and discovered there was enough -- and so it was ordered}....i showed her Stephanie's blog and how they play a lot of games and maybe she'd like to try that too -- {"oh YES! that looks cool"}


so now i find myself with new appreciation for this life we lead. i'd taken so  much for granted, i suppose -- and to find it all hanging perilously on the verge of upheaval was eye-opening to say the least.

but i'm grateful for the challenge this has been -- emotionally exhausting though it was. it has served to remind me how deeply i value this sweet  freedom we have; and it made me see what a strong and self-possessed child this beautiful girl is growing to be -- and how fiercely i will protect her right to continue on that way -- even when that means the agony of simply trusting her to make good {albeit well-informed} choices.

but it also showed me the scarier side of this right of autonomy -- that they are going to choose to do things we'd much rather they didn't....and i was risking everything i'd ever preached by wanting to take the decision away from her. but how could i not? ugh - it was a wretched conundrum indeed. it wasn't like she was wanting to do a tight-rope walk across Niagara Falls. although i could easily argue an equivalent danger...;)

 in the end though, i realize that this mastering of  the fine art of letting go will be the hardest lesson i'll ever get out of this parenting gig....

so thank you, one-billion-fold, dear friends -- i drew on the love and support you all sent and kept that and your wisdom in my heart as we navigated this part of our journey. i am ever grateful to you all for witnessing this unpleasant bump in our road....

blessings and love to you all....xo


  1. You are such a wonderful mother. I have just been a niece, a sister and a daughter. I will probably have no idea what I will do when that time comes. You are so right about taking things for granted :) Oh and by the way, i love your mini garden. I want to have one... but our house is too small for one :)

  2. In tears here xxx Just so amazed at the wonderfulness of this episode. Hugs again. xxx

  3. thank you, mice -- it's pretty much seat-of-our-pants though...the blog post gets the distilled version. lol. i love our wee garden too -- it really is tiny but it feeds our need for greenery..xo

    Jacqui -- oh me too...buckets of 'em...xoxo

  4. I think for me that's the whole thing about it... I can absolutely understand an individual child needing certain things... more play with other children, more of a "set" way most days go, more art, more fun, more adventure, more variety.... but we (as school goers) know that those things do not make up school days. They make up Our lives.
    So the idea of sending away, or asking to be sent away is like sending them into a place that seeks to change and conform them (and destroy, frankly, is how I see it).
    oof. I just can't stomach that.

    Anyway... I'm so glad you got to the bottom of it.
    I felt sick when you said "it took her years to recover from a few months at kindergarten..."

    Happy Days, now. Good. :)

  5. yes, Stephanie -- it's Good. i know that 'stomach-y' feeling you mention -- just like what it felt like to hear her say she wanted to go. because i KNEW the child she was before she went to kindergarten and i KNEW the frightened, unsure, broken child that we pulled from there a few months later. and the deschooling DID take years...'oof' is right. *shudder*

    i remember LIVING for field-trip days and movie afternoons and Fun Days when i was in school. here, every day is potentially a field trip day...movies...and always FUN.

    so yes -- at the bottom there was a need - which i knew...just the getting there was the trial. lol

    ha - i'm laughing now.....good grief!

  6. So glad you all got to where you needed to be! *hugs*

  7. Oh I'm so pleased for you - this is such a fantastic result (though that seems an inappropriate way of looking at it, but I think you'll know what I mean).

    I really do share your feelings about the culture of schoolization in young kids books and TV. Argh! I keep expecting Rubin to ask to go back to school, but the memories are too fresh for him still. Or he can sense that it's all a bit false.

    It's the freedom I would miss too, if Rubin did go back to school. Perhaps they are too young still, to understand about the strictures we accept when we submit to the system and thereby agree to 'conform' (how I hate that word). But sometimes I worry that he's not learning that there is often a need for (self-)discipline, and a need to do some things that we don't really want to do.

    I still think there is more of the really valuable stuff that they need to learn available to them at home than in the system. Like how it's OK to do nothing much for long periods of time, and how life is not a race or a competition to achieve and be on top.

    Sorry - this is turning into a lecture. I'm just happy for you.

  8. Well done mama for how you navigated that, your trust and patience. I'm so glad you got through to the truth in the end. Parenting is scary indeed. Many blessings for your glorious days.

  9. thank you Rose! (((((hugs))))

    yes, Sam - i'm truly getting grizzly over the 'schoolization' thing. But it's like I once read -- no-one has to make a television episode or write a whole story trying to convince children that cupcakes are tasty or that amusement parks are a lot of fun. So it's a quite transparent tactic if you're looking at it from the right angle. And YES, the message of Do-More is rife in schools...which creates adults like us with all manner of baggage over self-care and down-time and feelings of failure for not having a six-figure salary....;)

    thank you Sarah...very much!! i'm awfully glad too...


  10. so happy to see that things have turned out as they should. i think it's wonderful that you two got this time to really process your feelings/thoughts/fears with each other. although it was exhausting work---this is the work that matters, i believe, in parenting. i'll be tucking this away for when it's my turn! (smile)



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