Wednesday, April 23

Fleeting Moments...

A good listener helps us overhear ourselves. -Yahia Lababidi, author (b. 1973)

Do you remember how the Flintstone's camera used to work? That hunk of hollowed-out stone with the sharp-beaked bird inside, peeking out the viewfinder and quickly etching out the image it saw?

We had visited one of the metroparks in our area today for their Earth Day celebration. We spent some time playing/sitting/lying in the grass of the meadow in the warm sun for a bit after we wandered through their booths. Dave looked through a map of the parks, trying to find Little Turtle Pond, where he wants to take the boys for a fishing activity the park is having on Saturday. He found out it is in the same park, but accessed from another side on a different road, so we decided to take a dry run so they could find it easily this weekend.

When we got there, Dave had me park so they could scope out the pond. The lot is high up a grassy hill maybe 300 yards wide, bordered on both sides by woods. The hill kind of curves around-or more to the point, the woods curve into the hill-as it slopes down to the pond, which we could see just a tiny bit of, but could see lots of reflecting twinkles of sunlight through the just-barely-budding trees. I love the metroparks in Northeast Ohio... so green... and quiet... peaceful... and the gentle murmur of nature with quiet bird calls, rustles of chipmunks in the dried leafbeds, the creak of the trees as the hush of breeze blows through the trees... the diverse smell of the woods... Unfortunately, my knees keep me from enjoying most of it anymore. My memory is good, though, and all that came flooding back as I glanced around while the guys got out of the car.

When my mind returned to the present, I looked out to see the guys all running down the hill together. Wyl on Dave's left, slightly ahead, Storm on his right, his little legs nearly keeping up with them... and my eyes filled with tears at the lovely sight as that image embedded itsself on my heart. Almost like the Flintstone's camera, just not quite as jarring or as peckish. Maybe more like a warm brand that slowly welts up... but there forever in the memory of my heart. What causes that swelling feeling? Why does it actually feel like your heart is a sponge, sopping up the joy and love and swelling with the abundance of it? Would the knowing why detract from the wondrous feeling of it?

And then, I heard them returning before I saw them come around the trees. More to the point, I heard Wyl. Is it that his voice is so "pronounced" like mine? Is it just that I am so tuned to his voice? As they came into view, a pause... funny, there's Dave and Storm...? And then the tears welled up again as I realized that Wyl decided to take the trail path up from the pond while Dave and Storm returned by their original method of the hill. It all came in such a flash... the need for him to start pulling away. The confidence he's gaining to be able to do things on his own. The stark representation of Dave and Storm without Wyl, that will someday be reality when Wyl decided to head out on his own adult path... seemingly far too soon for me.

This year has been kind of significant for me, with Wyl turning 9... Last year he was half way to his driver's licence. This year, he's half way to being an adult. Legally, at least... whatever that really *means*. It's probably still a remnant of my school/mainstream thinking. It's big, though. A big feeling, a big... idea-of-a-milestone kind of thing. It's hard to put into words. It's not like anything will significantly change on that "magical day"... and it is so, so far off, really... I'm not sure why it is hanging around my head like this. Maybe because with Wyl I have that internal clock ticking... that I have to "get unschooling right" and "make up for past mistakes" that I don't have with Storm, because we came to unschooling between when they were each born. Maybe I just like angst and I like to cause conflictive dialogue in my own head. :: grin :: I don't have it all the time, just in brief moments. Like today.

Maybe it helps to get kind of "angst-ish", because in my tendency to bungee, sometimes, it helps me to get to that extreme so I can quite obviously see that it *is* ridiculous to go there. Then I can remind myself that I am doing so much, that life is good, to live in the *now*, not dwell in regrets of the past or "what if's" of the future. To forgive myself as I would others around me. That's probably my toughest challenge. If I can keep in the forefront of my mind that I'm showing my kids to be hard on *them*selves if I am being hard on my own self, that will help immensely... I just get so steeped in that self-recrimination that it is tough to see anything else. Maybe some visual or physical reminder might help me focus... I used to have a necklace that I could grab and remind myself ... well, of whatever message it held for me in that time... I forget now what it was, but it was powerful and physical and it really helped me think the way I wanted to... So, maybe that's the answer. I wonder if a necklace would still work, or maybe a ring... Rings are so hard to find to fit me... maybe a bracelet? Maybe just a special elastic hair scrunchy or something around my hand... that might get in my way... Hmmm... apparently, this is something requiring some thought.

So... images, memories, little surprising bits of now that strike a person in such a memorable way... I briefly wished I had my camera with me (not that it would have helped much, since the memory card is full), but then the thought faded as quickly as it came. A picture would just not do the moment justice-in fact, the process of capturing the image would have interfered with The Moment... probably would have ruined it. Such a small thing. So fleeting. And yet, it will probably be embedded in my heart forever... Funny how these things work sometimes...

Tuesday, April 8

The dance of the journey

Is not dread of thirst when your well is full, thirst that is unquenchable?-Kahlil Gibran, mystic, poet, and artist (1883-1931)

So... Wyl and I talked about things today. How school is (in some, small ways), how traditional parenting can look, how friends can be torn between their parents and their friends when choices have to be made.... It was a good talk, and for a change I knew when to shut up and he didn't have to tell me!

Sometimes, Wyl gets glimpses into how different his life really is from a typical, schooled kid. Most times he has no idea. Sometimes I wonder if it would be better for him if he were blissfully unaware or if him knowing some of that just makes things easier for his parents... I've heard it referred to as a dance before and it really is. There is give and take, back and forth, harmony and synchronicity-and if someone missteps, it throws a chunk of things out of whack for a few beats. And the newer "dancer" you are, the longer things are out of whack and the tougher it is to find your place again. But, then too, I've yet to see a 4-partner dance! Dancing together with harmony and grace is tough enough with 2 people... could you imagine it with FOUR?? Granted, there is square dancing, but there are still 4 pairs of partners and I don't really see it as smooth and graceful. Maybe it is and I'm just remembering my gym class square dancing from 4th grade. :: grin ::

His empathy is starting to grow, I think. When Dave and I give him information on how others might feel, he has recently started asking why we are making him feel guilty. I'm not sure where to go from this point, as it rather took me aback the first time he said it, but I've started with the idea that no one but Wyl can make him feel something he doesn't want to feel. It feels lame and blame-passing, so I'll keep exploring other avenues. I know there's better things to say and do (or stop saying and/or doing), and we'll find it.

My "am I getting it?" angst is lessening. I'm feeling "groovy"er. It might be getting out and about and seeing folks and realizing how far we've come. It might be something someone said to me this week:

If you let them do their worst, you might find out that now that you're an adult, it's not as bad as you imagined it would be. The older and bigger you get, the older and smaller they get. If you keep acting and feeling like you're little and they're huge, you stay in the child role.

It was one of those epiphany moments. I get SO aggravated when I "know" (intellectually) something and then someone writes some words in the right way and I read them in the right frame of mind on the right day and then I KNOW (with my whole being) it. Why couldn't I KNOW it when the idea was first placed before me?! Grrrr.

At any rate, it's funny. Not "ha, ha" funny, though some might find it so... funny in that "things that make you go hmmmm" kind of way. When it was first presented to me, over two years ago, it made perfect sense that I was at *least* 50% responsible for my parents still treating me like a child. It made sense, and yet, for a long time before every meeting with them, I'd need to psyche myself up, do the "look in the mirror and repeat" and *tell* myself that I *was* an adult now... my little pep-talk, pre-parent mantra. And it didn't feel "affirming", it felt more like "girding" or armoring up.

Since that epiphany moment (after ingesting those words above), there were several moments of, "Yeah, alright!" and then I went on to other things as the moment settled into my subconscious. And yet, oddly enough, things have been different since then. I *feel* different. Not in a big way, not in a "marked" way. Very subtle-so subtle so as to be almost entirely unnoticeable. Life feels different. Micro-pleasantly. Like all those obvious markers of how far I've come in my respectful parenting, respectful *living* journey... they've *been* there, but now I *see* them. Kind of like when you notice for the first time how much your child has grown. He didn't grow in those 30 seconds you looked away. It happened so slowly over weeks and yet, *wow!* the "noticing" is sudden.

Drat. Interruptions always derail my train of thought (pardon the pun). Give me a moment to catch it again...

I wonder if everyone's journey looks like this. Not that it is important, just kind of pondering how else it could look, I guess. Possibly, since so many people know what I mean about suddenly noticing how your kid has grown. Maybe not, since my blog looks so different from others that I read regularly. Sometimes I look at those other blogs and wish mine read like those, but I'm sure that there are those of you reading *at this moment* who are saying, "NO! We like the way you write-don't change!!" Just like our individual unschooling journeys... if I changed to make it more like someone else's, it wouldn't be mine anymore.

And so the dance continues. Stumble, ramble, misstep, read, come together again and glide along to our own inner tunes.