When Wildflower was small, we showed her every opportunity to believe in magic.
We crept through wooded areas and dreamed of tiny faeries who lived amongst the cedar grove. We told her elaborate tales of dragons and little mouse families and of Santa’s elves, with hopes that these stories, would help her to weave belief and depth into her world, to save her from slipping into cynicism and sadness as she awoke from her childhood.
These stories always included her own insights and imagination.
As she grows older, we’ve begun to notice that she is simply transitioning into playing along with our game, and helping us share the tales with her younger siblings. These stories connect us.
We’ve never felt that this was considered lying to our children.
For as long as people have been able to communicate, story has been the singular most valuable way to teach children about life. Indigenous people are famous for their beautiful legends while fables and folklore colour the history of the Celts. Even the oldest books are filled with stories for the purpose of teaching.
We, all people, learn best when we are connected with the purpose of the teaching, when it paints a vivid picture for us, and as a body of relatively educated humans, we eventually can choose for ourselves what is tangible and what is for the purpose of entertainment (hence why you can’t remember much about quadratic equations, unless you were passionate about that stuff).
Now, as my baby girl is no longer such, I’ve begun to realize that she brought back the magic to my own eyes. A world that once felt dreary, as though there could be no more Christmases, were coloured a new hue as we shared in this journey together.
Though I’m fortunate enough to have two more souls to share stories of elves and dragons and magical flowers with, I know that this, too, shall pass.
Someday, I’ll take a walk in the woods, and I’ll spy a special knothole where a tiny faerie resides. I’ll turn to share the story with my smaller companion only to realize that the dog isn’t interested. And then I’ll remind myself that magic doesn’t just exist through the eyes of children.
Words of wisdom shared with me this summer have been echoing through my mind reminding me to keep ahold of my own sense of wonder, and I hope to do just that.
January’s bleak and cold days are upon us. We’ve found a gentle daily rhythm, while we’ve allowed the holiday routines to slip into the past along with the tree which performed its final disappearing act last night, thanks to Big Brother. These days have been great days, but we’re ready to let go of very full bellies and too much tv. Even the kids can feel it.
Our deep-winter learning typically involves immersing ourselves in a couple of novels read aloud together with warm drinks in hand. Often we’ll use an online platform for some math studies, and we’ll attempt to get outside daily. These are the predictable factors, while there’s plenty of space for ebb and flow, for endeavours undertaken by small humans with big ideas.
In the past, we’ve stayed home for much of January, but this year, I aspire to get out a couple of times each week, to remind us of how lucky we are to have this coziness to return to, rather than feeling as though our home is a place where we feel stuck because of the cold. After all, we are Canadian, and we choose to continue living where the cold hurts our face, so we may as well make the best of it.
After all of this is said and done, winter is made for open play and for quiet snuggles.
What I’ve learned over the years is that our free time develops a premium, if we have some kind of framework to our days. When we have a rhythm to follow rather than a strict schedule and a loose plan rather than entirely open schedules…beauty ensues
Until next time
There was a time when I believed it was my job to do everything, and I probably don’t need to tell you that I failed miserably at it.
Most mornings I awoke with a fresh attitude, ready to slay the day’s to-do list. By night fall, I’d likely have accomplished a couple of things on the list, not including the day’s work, meals from scratch, caring for myself, and providing connected learning time with the kids, and as ridiculous as it sounds to me now, I’d feel like a failure.
I failed again…I’d tell my masochistic self…. and then I’d write an impossible list for tomorrow, hop into bed way too late, and do it all again the next day.
Obviously, I wouldn’t be writing this piece, in this tone, if I were still spending the majority of my time stuck in the same trap. So what have I done to accomplish more and feel more …peace-full?
I gave up the unreasonable goal. Yep. That’s it. I let my ego take a hike, and I asked for (explained why) and accepted help, and I let things go.
I love to nurture and care for my family, which somewhere, got lost in translation and turned into, let me pick up your smelly socks everyday, and sure I’ll scrub the toilet. But also, my partner goes to work and then works when he comes home on a growing list of to-dos and our kids are kids, so shouldn’t this be my job? To some degree, yes, I believe this is true, but somewhere around the decision to take this homeschool thing seriously, and when the third kid was born, I began to think maybe I was ripping myself off.
It wasn’t until I believed that making time for meaningful connection / learning with our children was the single most important part of our day, that I could close the door on the rest of the to-do list and simply let it be.
This is my work.
It wasn’t until I believed that this is meaningful-enough work for a woman in today’s world, that I could stop trying to rock at everything else. And then I asked for help with the other things. Now don’t get me wrong, I still prepare healthy meals and fold laundry and wash dishes, but on Sunday nights, we clean the house together, as a family….toilets, floors, kitchen, everything. It’s so much easier to care for during the week, and everyone feels a sense of responsibility because they know that sock won’t be just cleaned up by someone else.
… and then, we eat a yummy, comfort-food supper while watching a movie. It’s about balance, right?
xo Hay Mama