Saturday, November 29, 2014

What Unschoolers think of Learning

A friend currently writing his phd recently asked me to interview the kids on their ideas about learning. So I did! Here is the result:

Monday, November 24, 2014

Parent Date

There's something that happens to a relationship when babies come along. Suddenly all that care and attention that once the parents showered on each other goes to the children - and truly, it's such a beautiful thing to watch a partner fall in love with that same beautiful being you're falling in love with yourself, that the parental relationship just seems to be blossoming, too.

That is, until one day you find yourself alone with your partner, and you discover you have nothing to say. It isn't that too-tired-to-utter-a-word kind of speechlessness that so many of us parents suffer from on a nightly basis. It isn't even the lovely wordless communication that happens between laundry-folding and dropping into bed, where the brush of my husband's hand on my arm reminds me that I am loved, and the mere pressure of his fingers is all I need to feel the thousand thoughts I know he has. Yes, we have been together for almost twenty years, now, and our relationship has certainly developed in many ways. But it has developed an emptiness, too. The speechlessness we are confronted with now is borne of loss.

Somewhere during the past fifteen years of money-earning, home-making and child-rearing, we forgot how to just be, together. I mean be, in the way we once did, silently, upon a log at the beach watching people go by, feeling the temperature of the wind shift and leaning in to each other. I mean be, in the way he used to catch my flood of words and I didn't demand an answer. I mean be, in the way that I used to have the patience to wait for his words. I mean be, in the way that time wasn't an issue, but just something trailing out the open air behind us. I mean be, like we could fly.

We got caught in the rat race and lost our wings.

This year for my birthday, my dear one gave me a night on the town. He booked tickets to a play, and a night at a B&B, and he told me we would spend as long as I wanted just hanging around my favourite neighbourhood eating whatever food I wanted and exploring the shops I don't usually visit. As we got ready to go, he held up my coat for me. Chivalry is lovely, but this gesture means more to us. When I met him nineteen years ago, he held up my coat for me to put on, and I said "how gentlemanly!" And he said "My mother said I should always help a girl into her coat." I'm not a girl anymore, and this gesture is a rarity, now, in our hectic lives as the parents of pre-teens. This gesture meant we were taking time for us.

I said, "I'm starving but it's only four",
and my dear one grew an I'm-so-proud-of-myself smile,
reached into his bag and pulled out snacks.
When I told people we were going out, there were many references to sex; winks and nudges. But really, our own bedroom has a door. I don't need a night at a B&B to make love with my husband. What we went for - and found - was so much more needed than that. A sweet friend who said hello on our way into town commented on the steamy windows of our car. Well those windows got steamy from our talking. Yes. We talked. We talked about the children, and the house, and arsenic in rice. We talked about parenting choices, murals, fabrics and architecture. We talked about herbs and eye-glass cleaning technologies and memory loss, and the many animals we've shared our home with in the two decades we been together. We didn't talk about our relationship. We lived our relationship.

After a delicious tea service, and wandering in and out of shops all afternoon, we checked into our B&B and lay silent on the bed, together, exhausted. I felt the tickly tangle of his beard on my face and took my glasses off to nuzzle in and enjoy it. I might have fallen asleep - we had nothing to do, but be.

I can't say we were very wise in leaving our relationship for so many years untended, but we have committed to find our wings again.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Dinner with Lughnasa

In recent kitten news...

Lughnasa has been eating dinner with us. When she sees the kids setting the table at about 7PM, she comes and meows until we pull up a chair for her. Last week we started giving her her wet food to eat with us at dinner time, and she seems to enjoy the routine.

So apparently she also has an internal alarm clock, because today at 7PM on the dot, she got up on her chair and shouted for my attention. Here she is enjoying the meal with us: