Happy Birthday to me!
I prepared for today’s post by reflecting on my entry from last year: My 42 Year Journey
This year we celebrated at home the day before my birthday. My husband and three children shared their cards with me as we enjoyed homemade gluten-free and egg-free chocolate cake with coconut milk ice-cream And my amazing 10 year old daughter wrote this story for me. She has been doing a lot of writing and I really enjoy hearing her stories and poems. She has also been collaborating with her PA cousin via Skype to write stories. All of this has been her idea and her initiative– aka- unschooling at it’s best. It is exciting to watch my children develop their interests and really take off with something that they enjoy doing. It is also a great reminder to me that my actions do affect my children and one of the best things I can do for their “education” is to show them in my actions that I am pursuing my interests and following my passion!
This has been very clear with my oldest child, Harrison as his personality is one of concentrated persistence. Many of his interests have been easy to nurture with trips to the library and home made items. His focus on achieving what he sets out to do has enabled him to find a way to build a computer and obtain software as well as purchase a digital camera. It was really cool to get a handmade -with paper and crayons- card from him this year. A pleasant variation on his recent
computer generated cards and picture compilations. It helped me to remember that despite having an “old soul” beyond his years persona and the fact that he will soon have a driving learner’s permit, he is still in his childhood and his younger self is so much very alive in him in a new teenage form. I can see similarities in my youngest and oldest. Maybe having a three year old and a fourteen year old simultaneously is the key to seeing the similarities between teens and toddlers as well as being able to appreciate that they are their own person at every age.
We think of our youngest as the busy, full of energy, and action kid, yet I keep getting reminders how much he loves to sit with art supplies. We spent time together last night coloring with markers in a coloring book and also with blank paper and he said to me, “I’m good at drawing. I’m supposed to be an artist”. One of those moments when you feel like you are getting a big glimpse into their soul. He has also made a similar comment to me some time ago about sailing. I have to wonder if these thoughtful responses are coming from a deeper place than just his physical three-year-old self.
I hope I am able to nurture all of my children’s passions. I know I began my parenting journey with that focus and see it clearly with my oldest child who was an only child for four years. I feel like my daughter has been given more and more opportunities to pursue her passion since we adopted our dog and now that she is able to act more independently with pursuing her interests. Jason’s future remains a mystery and their is something exciting about that. Sure, I don’t know exactly what paths any of my children will take in their adult lives but I have a much clearer picture with the older two who are almost 15 and 10. At three and a half years of age, Jason’s future has yet to unfold. He loves food and helping to prepare food. He is also very nurturing and I could see him in a helping profession and he has a very physically engaged side and does love fire trucks. It is possible that having had the experience of fireman coming to the rescue of his dad while he suffered a heart attack, might influence his future career path. He also has a very imaginative and creative side and loves taking pictures and videos, an activity likely inspired by his big brother. And I aim to not put any expectations on who he will become but rather spend time nurturing who his is now. Who knows how these early years of his life could shape his future.
I decided to homeschool my children because I wanted to nurture their love of learning and empower them to nurture their interests. I have chosen to work less hours in order to be there for them and with them in the process and my husband choose to leave his former work which involved regular travel and too many hours away from home. Making that choice has involved financial challenges (Note to Universe: I am open to abundance and moving away from that experience! ). I would like to believe that despite our limited resources, my husband and I have been able to at least expose our children to different experiences and help them to further their interests. Maybe the fact that we have limited financial means will only further their passion to pursue their interests. There are times when I doubt this. Yet, I am very aware that childhood is a short period of time. I am happy to celebrate another year of my life knowing that I am giving my children something more valuable than anything money can buy, my time. Being a mother is the greatest gift of my life. I know I have made mistakes, more than I would like to admit, yet, I can be an example to my children in my failures as well as my successes.
I look forward to another year with a renewed focus of being not only with them but present in their lives and available for them emotionally, spiritually and mentally.