Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Love Always Wins.

I don't talk about too much about it for various reasons, but I'm assuming that most of you know that we homeschool here at The Wabi-Sabi House.  
We practice a type of homeschooling called unschooling.  Some call it Life Learning, or Child-led Learning, or Consensual Living.  
Whatever you call it, we do it, and we love it.  
I cannot even begin to express how much we love the way we live, and how fortunate I consider myself to be able to live this way. 

So, today I am taking a leap of faith and showing you a little bit of that side of my life. 

I wrote the following post almost 3 years ago and posted in on my private unschooling blog.  
I am submitting it for an unschooling  Blog Carnival that starts next week.  
The theme for the carnival in February is LOVE
I chose not to edit it in any way, although I was tempted to soften it.
I can hardly read it.
It brings me back to that painful, awful day in way that is almost unbearable.  
But it's worth reading because it is about love, and how brutal and ugly love can look sometimes. 
It's worth reading because it is about love, and how beautiful and cleansing love can be.  
It's worth reading because it's about how much grace there is in love.
It is worth reading because, at the end of the day, love wins, even if it doesn't seem like it in the moment. 
Love Always Wins.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Love, Regret, and Pizza

I was really shitty to my boy yesterday.
I mean really shitty. Not "grouchy" or "thoughtless," but out and out mean.
It's hard to talk about, but I know that we've all done it. 
I decided it might help me lay down the burden of it if I just put it out there.
I "lost it" because I had expectations and they were not met. 
I wanted to go the unschooling park day and visit with friends, and I wanted Finn to play with the other children or at least just play on the playscape so I could have a chance to NOT play with him. 
Well, firstly, it wasn't park day. My days have been really off for some reason (maybe this lingering flu/cough/malaise/plague?). 
That put me in a grouchy mood. I wanted to connect with some mamas, especially one I have been trying to connect with for awhile. 
Then Finny was really needing me to stay close. Close as in RIGHT THERE EVERY SECOND. I followed him around for a while and then I told him I was gonna sit right there and just watch while he climbed. 
About, oh, 5 seconds later he came over and said he was surrrre feeling hungry and thirsty (we had plans to go eat pizza after being at the park). 
At this point I was just overtaken by a demon mother. 
Where she came from, I have no idea. I hope to never meet her again. 
I grabbed my keys and stormed out of the park with him running behind me ... sobbing ... it got worse before it got better. 
I said some ugly things that I can't even bring myself to remember much less write. 
We were both crying as we drove to the pizza place. 
I'm still not sure why we even went to the pizza place, but we did.
We got inside and I ordered his pizza. 
I came and sat down at the table and we both started crying and crying. 
I took him in my arms and rocked him while sobbing my apologies. 
The sweet pizza guy boxed our food up without being asked and we drove home. We climbed on the couch and held each other for an hour. 
I cried and cried and told him how terribly, terribly sorry I was. 
I told him all that I thought had happened, and he listened and we talked. 
He said it was all OK. That he was mad and sad, but that he knew I didn't mean what I said and that he loved me anyway.
I asked him to try and tell me how he feels when we are somewhere and he can't play without me. 
HOW that feels inside him - to help me better understand. 
He said, and I quote (with tears streaming down my face):
"When you're far away from me my heart feels very tiny. When I know you're close by, it feels bigger. My heart feels better when it is bigger. It feels scary when it's tiny."
SO, today we had a redo. 
We went to the same park and I told him that I would stay right with him and play with him and stay just as close as he needed me. 
We had a really good time. 
I figure today is Day One of being the best mama I can be. 
I can't do anything about yesterday that I haven't already done, but I sure can try not to do that again. 
Expectations! They are just the cause of so much crap in my life. 
That's my new goal - I'm trying to stay in the moment and out of expectation. 
I am actually grateful for that terrible few moments. 
They were a reminder to me of who and what I do not want to be. 
They provided me with valuable contrast. The contrast between who I want to be and who I sometimes am. 
I HATED the way I felt when I was so mad. 
I choose to try and not feel that way anymore. 
Now, I have this experience of "when I go to the park with Finn I need to not have any expectations of how he will play." 
I have that information now and I will choose to use it. 
I am growing. 
Thank god my sweet son and I have a relationship that is based in love and respect so that days like this "never" happen. 
I know we're not permanently wounded by my crap. 
We're raw and tender, but really OK.  
I am astounded by how much I love him, and even more astounded by how much he loves me.


  1. I really love this post and I really admire the strength that you have to post it unedited. We all have days where we just would like 5 minutes to detach and we lose our cool with our kids. So many people pressure us into feeling if parenting isn't always rainbows and puppies then something is wrong and it drives me crazy. I love when I can talk/read/listen to other parents who are truthful about parenting- it's hard and sometimes sucks. And even though the previous sentence is oh so true, I wouldn't give it up for anything!

  2. It's a very honest post and I think you were brave in writing it. Unschooling is a tough concept for many people who don't understand the concept. I'm fortunate enough to know Sandra Dodd who has been an unschooler for many years and tlks on it so I mostly understand. I also have one of my awesome friends who homeschooled her son and he's the neatest kind in the whole world. (not counting Finnegan but I don't know him yet.)

    Hugs to you both!

  3. Thanks, Wizzie. I like truthful too, even though is soooo ugly sometimes. Sniff.

    Nancy - You DO? Have we talked about this before? That you know SD? AND...HOW did I not know you have an etsy store? Huh? HOW? I am SO buying that crescent moon necklace when we get paid and I am going to do a post on it. I loved SO many things on it!! AND I LOVE your art...the eyes and spectacles on the newsprint! Ta die for. Going to look around more.

  4. I appreciate this so much. I'll be a mom soon and yes, I tend to be one of those people with expectations. Even though if the past year has shown me anything it is life is full of surprises. I am glad I went with the flow. So up on my mental lists is flexibility and no expectations, then pick your battles. I can remember my mother being not quite mom once. Then I remember thinking then, she is just a girl.

  5. Tera - You know, that is such a beautiful thing that you thought about your mom. I've never had a day this bad since, so maybe there was some merit in it. UGH. I also have a big sign in my bedroom closet that says NO EXPECTATIONS. I see it first thing every morning. LOVE my/your composter!! Thank you again. xoxox

  6. Loved it Michele. In my younger years, I was always judging people. They weren't 'this' or they weren't 'that'....and all that was based on my expectations of people. People I didn't even know; a store clerk, a waiter, the driver next to me. Of course, no one ever lived up to my expectation, and I was always disappointed to some degree. That disappointment left me unhappy, unsatisfied, unfulfilled, etc. Then in college I read a quote by Shakespeare: "Other people are not in this world to live up to your expectations." I really try to live by that everyday. No expectations means I can now appreciate things and people and places and animals and "life" for what it is, not what I want it to be. ;-)

  7. I know you will tire of hearing this from all who love you, but we have all had days like that. I never knew I had a temper until I married! Sometimes I blow it. I hear the furious in my soul. I don't always feel better after, but it helps keep me cool when I feel myself getting hotter and hotter. Those "mad" surprises are very, very upsetting but think we grow a little bit each time we lose it.
    ms mdd

  8. Many, many years ago, our family went to family therapy. There are 3 things the psychologist said that I remember to this day that helped me through the hard times, the times I lived in 'expectation'. Here's what she said:

    1. Kids are tough. They can take a lot as long as they hear from the parent - the sooner the better - "I was wrong. I made a mistake. I am sorry. I love you."

    2. When you start to feel you are losing it, pretend your kid is someone else's kid. You would never use hurtful language to the child of someone else. This is a trick that gives you distance 'til you can regain control of yourself.

    3. Remember that your child does not belong to you; she belongs to herself. She is her own person and you're job is to teach her everything you know and then get out of her way.

    Those 3 things must have helped me a lot since I still remember them almost 40 years later.

    You did the most important thing of all (#1). You're a great human mom! Please remember that.

  9. I really cannot think of any meaningful growth that didn't have some OW in it. And I think your boy is a poet in training. Thank you for sharing this. We moms need to tell it like it really is, so that we'll understand those days when we come undone, and know it is not that we are monsters, but just that everyone comes undone at times. And that we can get redone. And that love will mend the tears.

  10. Beautifully honest and oh God have we all been there! Try being with 22 kids all day then having one who wants your undivided attention. I choose to live in the moment only and that helps. I wish we sometimes had a rewind button. That's what sunrises are for...xoxo

  11. Y'all are just so wonderful and kind with all your supportive and loving words. Comforting to know we've all be there.

    Thanks, from the bottom of my mama heart.


  12. Mother guilt is so heart-wrenching. Guilt for not being the best mom we can be sometimes. I've had nights where I lie awake and relive a bad moment and am absolutely tortured with guilt. I've talked to several other moms about this, and we've all felt it. Dads don't seem to, perhaps because many of them aren't always as day-to-day invested in child-rearing. The flip side of the guilt is an intense, all-powerful love, so it's a good trade-off, don't you think? Thanks for being so honest in sharing your story. Your idea to live without expectations is a good one.

  13. Oh haven't we all had days that started out like this one! Yours ended a lot better than mine usually do (crying in the shower, lol) and it sounds like it turned into a completely amazing opportunity to learn about how Finn feels when he's away from you, which is so priceless. The universe gives us these tough days for a reason (chocolate binges, in my case).
    My own mom used to say some pretty crazy crap to me when I made her made with my clingingness and I used to feel so super mad at her for birdening me with all that but now I just feel bad that we couldn't have just had an open dialogue like you all. We didn't mean to hurt each other, but we also didn't know how to express our love.
    You're a great mama, Finn is lucky!

  14. Wow. And thanks.
    I lost my shit yesterday around my daughter and mother for having expectations that weren't met for the day.
    I behaved terribly and am learning that other mothers do the same sometimes.
    I think because we understand we don't want to be like that, it makes it easier to change for the better.
    Words tend to cheapen such moments, but your post is right on.
    You're a bad-ass mom. I am, too.

  15. I'm so glad you didn't edit this post. I needed to hear that other moms have days like this too. I'm a single mom a lot of the time due to long stretches of work related travel for the mister, and I admit that at times stress gets the best of me. A few months ago I had a day like this that I still have regrets about and that serves as a reminder to me any time my temper threatens to boil over at my sweet little daughter. Thanks for your honesty.

  16. I'm so glad you guys can take some comfort from knowing that all of us have had these days. I have to say that just posting this brought up those awful feelings again and that happened three years ago! I think that must prove, in some way, that we are good mamas or else it wouldn't bother us so, you know? As they say, "You can only do better when you know better."
    Give all your babes an extra hug and a kiss from me.

  17. Thanks for participating in the Unschooling Blog Carnival, Michele! You're right that looking at situations with honesty is the only way to make adjustments and do better.

  18. Powerful writing with such honesty. I'm glad the Unschooling Carnival has introduced me to your blog. I shall check in again.


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