Yesterday morning I burst into tears. It was rather unexpected.
In fact, I’d long fantasized about that day… the day when both of my girls were in the safe hands of adults invested in their well-being & education.
A day when I could keep a streamlined focus on some of my own work, perhaps even call a friend & talk without interruption.
A day where I might even be able to remove the three month old toe nail polish & contemplate plucking my mono brow.
Instead, I feel sort of empty. The house is unnaturally quiet. & unnervingly ordered. (Clean would be pushing it).
I keep having flashes of Taavi’s face, overwhelmed, maybe even a bit angry, as the shuffle of bodies surround her in her first day of preschool.
I keep hearing Seava’s paper thin voice saying I don’t want to go to school.
Why not? I protested. Don’t you like it?
Yes, she offered. But I just want to be home with you & Taavi & play.
I know it takes time to create a new groove. Transitions, I’m discovering, are not my family’s forte… & that includes me.
As much as I’m more than thrilled about the teachers assigned to my children & trust the institutions which now govern their day, I can’t help but wonder if my hunch to homeschool, or even UNSCHOOL, is more in line with who we are as people.
The organic rhythm of our bodies & our minds seem to be really challenged by the push to fulfill an organized, institutional agenda. The personal, individual care replaced by a big group dynamic that isn’t much part of our make up.
This morning Seava was the one to burst into tears. Upon dropping her off, I was told I could not enter the building as I had done for the last week. The little goodbye ritual we just formed was yanked out of existence by a sudden school rule.
Take a deep breath, I said. You can do it. I can see your room from here. I’ll be back this afternoon.
When she continued crying, the teacher who policed me took over, walking her the twenty feet to her room.
I left feeling the rawness for us both. Reason tried to justify itself in my mind. What if every parent felt the need & right to walk their child to the door? If she’s old enough to be in school, she’s old enough to walk herself to her classroom. You don’t want to be an enabling helicopter parent, do you? Schools have their systems. You need to respect & support them in order for the greater good to thrive. How’s she going to make it in the world if she doesn’t learn to toughen up?
It was countered with the palpable emotion I could feel from my sensitive daughter’s heart. Someone so innocent she doesn’t yet understand the world’s inconsistencies, it’s sudden demands for order, power, & agendas thrown your way willy nilly. Her nightly gratitude prayer is literally filled with things like rainbows, unicorns, mermaids, our cozy apartment & the tender ways we love each other.
As I walked to my car, the tremendous urge to go live off the grid somewhere in Hawaii flooded my being (for the 9 millionth time). I envisioned my girls digging in the dirt, wading in tide pools, connecting & learning through nature & the close friends that come to visit, trips to libraries, museums, cultural centers, adventures to other countries.
Reason said You can’t protect your children from the outside world, you know!
To which my heart replied But I can offer them the beauty we all long for within it.
It’s what we all want for our children, isn’t it? Whether we school, homeschool or unschool. We want our children to be happy, to know the beauty of their world, especially the world they hold inside. To embrace that place & really fly.
THAT’s the sort of empty nest I know my girls & I can live with.