Category Archives: marriage stories

Dreams are coming true…

I’m not sure how many of you are following my new blog already. I started writing GypsyMom.com when I became consumed with the idea of taking an extended road trip; actually I want to LIVE on the road indefinitely. That’s not happening yet but we are in the midst of our very first RV trip ever ( a 12 week practice run) and we are having the time of our lives.

You can read the entire process of the journey at Gypsymom.com, or you can just go over our adventure so far. The day we started our adventure, I was so excited I thought I’d explode. Everywhere we’ve been has been awesome. It’s not exactly the trip I fantasized about, but in many ways it’s been better than I dreamed possible.

In Rapid City, South Dakota, we had fun taking our picture with statues of US Presidents. Then, we visited Mount Rushmore and enjoyed the hospitality of our very first RV Resort. After that, Betty the Beaver (Yes, we named our motorhome) decided to show us an adventure in Cheyenne, Wyoming. And finally, our stop in Monroe, Utah, at Mystic Hot Springs has been my favorite so far.
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Room for Two

So 17 years without spending the night away from home (sans Russell Sprouts) Can you believe it? It was the first time my husband and I have EVER EVER EVER in the course of our marriage spent the night in a hotel without our children. Ever. Imagine that, after being married over 17 years.

Something had to change.

An important part of Plan C is the fact that he and I need to get to know each other. We’re supposed to be filling our recent memories with happy things; making daily deposits to the love bank (which is not a* euphamism, it’s a Dr Phil thing, I think). Over the years, We’ve grown up together, we’ve learned how to be parents, learned how to be grown-ups, learned how to be a family and now it’s time for us to learn how to be a couple. And we both have a habit of doing things on our own timeline, so this is perfect. Perfect timing for a weekend away.

We drove all of 45 minutes, to get to the Tri Cities area (Kennewick, Pasco & Richland) . I know it’s not an exotic location, it might qualify as a staycation, but to us it might as well have been a second honeymoon. The drive was nice, I crocheted a baby blanket for a friend, we chatted about the landscape, argued about life a little, shared our very different memories of the same situations and relished the lack of interruptions.
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Plan C, I guess

I went from being a kid in my parent’s house, to being a wife & mother within a year, I was 18. It never bothered me while I was growing babies, I was THRILLED to set aside myself (whoever that was) to provide warmth, space and love for a baby. My body is yours, sweet little one. I know I’ll get it back later. Plan A said “my mind belongs to you, who enjoys Barney and sleeps erratically. My personality is… a result of my mood and whatever entertains you, sweet little monkey of mine… There will be time for me later.” Now I wonder sometimes, if putting their needs ahead of my own was a bit of self-defense. Having never BEEN a woman alone, to sort out my own identity, it was easier to just be a mom. There were books about being a mom.

Perhaps I should have predicted that the decision to stop making babies would result in some kind of identity crisis, right?

Crisis is the wrong word, it sounds like a bad thing. I don’t feel like I’m in crisis. I feel like I’m an explorer, with a map in my hand, looking out at a great expanse of wilderness, knowing that wherever I step, a path will unfold in front of me and it will be MINE and it will take me somewhere amazing, because the world is filled with amazing and dammit, I want some.
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Radical Unschooling and Bedtime

Radical unschooling has been getting a lot of press lately. People are genuinely shocked to learn that we don’t boss our kids around about every little thing on the planet. They assume, unfortunately, that they must be wild animals with no sense of responsibility, hygiene or social skills. On an unschooling message board the other day, one woman (who arrived simply to bash unschoolers) was flying off the handle about the fact that the kids on TV had no bedtime.

I just thought she was so silly, going on and on about how children “need” a bedtime. What on earth was she so afraid of? Did she think the kids wouldn’t sleep? Did she think they’d stay up all night long and sleep all day? Did she think it interfered with Mom & Dad’s sex life? For the life of me, I can’t imagine what all the fuss is about.

Some of our family’s favorite bonding-times have been when the rest of the world is sleeping. Remember when we shared a basket of jellyfish? Being “connected” to our children means that we’re aware of their needs and treat them the way we’d want to be treated.

Heather from Swiss Army Wife recently blogged about her family’s bedtime ritual “Wise men Sleep when they are tired.” and she made a great medical and psychological defense against crib usage and forced bedtimes.

In the Nightline Story about unschooling, the reporter focused in on bedtimes as a unique aspect of Radical Unschooling;

In this household, there is no bedtime, no alarm clocks in the morning. Eleven-year-old Devin often stays up past midnight — and Martin does not object. “I’m so happy that he does, and that he has that time to himself because his sisters go to bed at 9 or 10. He can have a nice three, four hours with Joe or just me,” she said. Instead of waking up at 7 a.m. to go to school, Devin sleeps until around 10 a.m. “It’s the same amount of sleep,” he said.

How much simpler can it get? Our bodies don’t require a bedtime. We just need to sleep. Regular periods of wakefulness and tiredness ensure that humans WILL SLEEP. Period.

Ron Paul, who plans to homeschool his own kids, blogged about the Nightline special, too. his commenters bordered hilarious; one said

The only thing the reporter seemed concerned about was these kids weren’t going to be getting up at 5 a.m. to crank up their SUV to go sit in traffic to go work for the man.

The reporter was asking about what “jobs” they’ll be able to get.
WHAT JOBS !?!?!?!
The jobs will all be in China and Mexico by then.
The only jobs in the U.S. will be Homeland Security and prison guards.

Prepare to be shocked. My kids have stayed up all night before. Emilee and Meagan did this at the RE Conference last year because they were so eager to hang out with their new unschooling friends. But, they learned more from the experience a few months ago, when they were given laptops as gifts from their grandparents. Emilee actually threw her thyroid off balance for a few weeks because her sleep habits were such a mess. But she didn’t like the way it felt. She learned her lesson. Meagan learned the lesson without medical consequence. Gabriella (9) stayed up all night a few months ago and spent the next day tired, teary and regretting it. Would any of them have understood this if I’d forced them to go to bed, taken away their computers or bullied them into sleeping? Who knows? But why fight about such a trivial, personal thing?

I’m 35 and I absolutely love being up at night when the rest of the house is asleep. I can clean and an hour later, it STILL looks perfect. I can make a dessert and no one asks for a bite. I can dance around with my iPod and not bump into anyone. Do I regret it the next day? Sometimes, Sometimes no. I tend to plan ahead, and do it when I know I don’t have plans the following day, so I can nap if I need to.

The point is, I am in control of my body. I know that I need sleep (thankfully not much, I thrive on like 4-5 hours these days) and I know how it feels to be rested vs tired. I recognize my body’s needs and do what it takes to meet them. I don’t need the same amount of sleep every night. Since I’ve stopped eating processed foods and started getting more exercise, I require about half the sleep I used to. I’m aware of my body’s changing needs on a daily basis and so are my children.

And, in case you wondered, life without bedtime totally does NOT mean parents can’t have sex. The stork didn’t bring my babies.

The following comments were pasted over from my old site, sorry they’re not in comment format 🙂

  • Hi-I read your blog all of the time but have yet to comment.

    I don’t understand why people give a flying flip about other people’s “bedtimes” and such. Are they afraid that if my children aren’t in bed by 9pm (or 7:30 pm as one teacher so intrusively told my daughter) that they are going to be running around ruining the world for the rest of them? Are they that content in their 9-5 lives that they couldn’t imagine a world where you did what you wanted to do when you wanted to do it? Or are they simply afraid to look within themselves and see what could be changed?

    Just like your jellyfishing experience some of my greatest memories lately have been when other children are in bed. Staying up late learning about Easter Island on Google Earth…not because we had to but because we wanted to…reading for as long as we want without giving a care about the time…late night video game marathons or simply cuddling on the couch watching a favorite family TV show. I wouldn’t give that up for the world-even if it means sometimes not seeing my oldest daughter until we’ve all finished lunch or not getting out to run errands until late in the day!

  • I typically announce that I’m heading to bed to lay down with my 2-yr-old until she falls asleep, and my older daughters usually follow along. Sometimes we read or listen to a rain CD and usually talk a bit. But some nights, my older daughters announce that they’re going to stay up with their dad and they seem so pleased that its their choice to do so. It’s a sweet thing. I feel proud to see them making their own decisions and feeling good about it. It’s a valuable experience, whereas making them stay in their beds for so many hours each night would undermine their confidence and growth. It seems obvious to me.

  • Marci

    Hello, we have been making a transition to the unschooling philosophy over the past month. I wanted to ask you about the bedtime issue and a few other questions. How do you get time alone with your husband? I mean we have never been uptight about an early bedtime, but we do have children settled usually by 10 or 10:30. Ages children 10,8,5,3& 7months. Our house is not large enough to afford us much privacy unless the children are settled and asleep. We look forward to the time alone together at night when all is settled. It seems very necessary to have this time together.

    Also, can you give me some advice for the transition if you have time? We have homeschooled with a variety of curriculum from the start and we started about a month ago with allowing the unschooling freedoms. They are currently overdosing on Duck Tales and Atom Ant. They have also watched a lot of old Macgyver episodes since my older son is a little gadget man. I am trying not to stress over the fact that they are not out playing in the sunshine or sticking their nose in a book. They used to do that all of the time, but are not reading now. I’m sure that is because of the control grip I had on media. They are testy with each other too after watching so much T.V. Is this normal? Anyway, do I just start putting out a lot of open ended things and just ask them what they want to learn? Should I wait until they max out on media and wait for them to gravitate towards something? I am excited about watching them learn this way. Thanks in advance for any advice.

 

Limitless love?

One of my favorite 13th century Persian poets is Rumi. Unfortunately I can’t understand a damn thing he wrote because I don’t speak Persian. Luckily, he’s been translated several times, this one is translated by Shahram Shiva:

A true Lover doesn’t follow any one religion,
be sure of that.
Since in the religion of Love,
there is no irreverence or faith.
When in Love,
body, mind, heart and soul don’t even exist.
Become this,
fall in Love,
and you will not be separated again.

.
It’s one of my favorite poems because it speaks to the concept that God is Love, and any institution that seeks to create rules and restrictions in the name of God, instead of allowing humans to live through love and be guided by their soul’s stirrings is truly separating them from love, instead of bringing them closer to it. Read into it whatever else you will, there’s a lot packed into those words. I could analyze it for hours, but I digress.

Anyway, I had an interesting conversation that reminded me of the poem and challenged the depth of my belief that true love has no limits and made me see a kind of oppression that just might exist in even the happiest of homes.

I had a pretty intense conversation with a friend I haven’t spoken to for quite some time and the conversation turned to marriage. I learned that my friend has an “open door policy” in their marriage. “Part of it is that I wouldn’t be with anyone who was in any way oppressive, and the other part is that I am not oppressive.”

That really intrigued me and led me around to a million different thoughts about the nature of oppression, amongst adults. As unschoolers, we spend a lot of time making sure that we’re not the source of oppression for our children, but do we extend that same courtesy to our spouses?

I always thought I did until I considered this open door policy. The more we talked, the more I understood the nature of the philosophy, which, at its core, is the same as radical unschooling. Dare I call it radical marriage?

It takes an amazing amount of confidence and trust to be in a relationship like that. But then, who that values and loves themselves isn’t capable of confidence & trust? I mean, imagine if your husband were to tell you that he’s been fantasizing about the lady that cuts his hair? Would you really suspect he was cheating, or would it just become something to tease him about? Imagine, seeing a man at the check-stand and coming home to tell your husband how hot he made you.

If your spouse is truly your best friend, then statements like that would reasonably occur with frequency because humans are sexual. A ring doesn’t take that away, or a certificate from the state or the church. And how much of our sexuality is repressed because we can’t talk about it with the one we’re closest to?

What is it about the dynamics of marriage that imply ownership? I mean, is this the 2000′s or the 1800′s? How much deviance in marriage occurs because spouses simply can’t talk to one another about things? A lot of people I know say “My husband is my best friend” or “I can tell my wife anything” but do they mean it? Or are certain things off limits? My husband has an imagination that’s so powerful that I can’t even mention another man’s name without “getting into trouble.”

As an unschooling mom and soon-to-be law student, I find myself spending hours pondering the origins of rules & limits where most people say “That’s just the way things are.” I also try to consider their psychological & sociological consequences and cross-cultural counterparts. But this is one I hadn’t considered before.

Imagine a marriage where it’s impossible to cheat. I have so many friends who would have been spared a lot of heartache if their relationship was one that tolerated that discussion. I imagine that complete freedom would impact whether or not a person actually acted upon so-called deviant fantasies. The “thrill of being bad” doesn’t exist when nothing you do can truly be bad. And sharing the most intimate details in your mind with someone… imagine how close you’d feel?

The idea of a complete lack of jealousy intrigued me. I think it would take a high level of confidence, a strong sense of self to realize that the actions of someone else have nothing to do with you. Knowing who you are, knowing you are loved- isn’t that at the core of any enlightened mindset? The character traits that were evident in this unfamiliar marriage dynamic were clearly things I wanted to inspire in my children, but I was surprised to see them in a situation that I once thought was destructive.

Mothers, when that second baby is born, you don’t love your first any less, do you? With six, I can say quite confidently that love knows no limits. “When in love body, mind, heart and soul don’t even exist.” In any relationship, jealousy fear and anger aren’t born of love, they’re born of fear: fear of losing someone, fear that you’re not worthy, fear that you’ll be replaced, or fear of the unknown. Removing that dynamic is huge.

I’m not suggesting we all embrace polyamory any time soon. Examining “extremes” is an excellent way to become aware of your own inner “battle lines.” I can’t imagine being comfortable in that sort of relationship with my husband- I’m totally not mature enough for that. But I can see the logic behind allowing your loved one to experience their own reality, being present with their emotions and not getting caught up in them.

I mean, that’s a huge part of radical unschooling and this parenting style. So my eyes are opened to a new line of thinking, which is always fun. Sometimes it’s another religion, sometimes it’s a book, a quote or a song lyric that sets my wheels turning and other times, it’s a friend. Thank you, dear friend.

6 comments to Limitless love?

  • I cannot imagine this being okay in my marriage, but the concept makes total sense. Remove the taboo, and you remove the temptation. I don’t know, for us, we are attracted to others but never enough to want more than what we already have together.

    Interesting! Thanks!

  • My husband and I agreed to have an open marriage when we first got married, and it was really good for peace of mind. Neither of us has felt inclined to “cheat” and i think it’s because we can discuss our sexuality openly. There’s no game-playing involved. Open communication isn’t just for polyamorists, Monogamy benefits from honesty, too.

  • Tiffany

    Lisa, you know I love everything you write but I have a special connection with this topic (limitless love). I aspire to someday write about more of my personal experiences and find the courage to share the events and thoughts that brought me to a complete acceptance of “limitless love”. You articulated everything that I believe with all my heart and your friend is lucky to have you.

  • Thank you for writing this post! My partner and I are polyamorous (and unschoolers of course), and the two seem to mesh so well.

  • Molly

    I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. I mean, people who live in tribal situations and communal situations all work together to care for children and maintain living areas, why wouldn’t they meet one another’s sexual needs, too? I don’t think it’s immoral or anything. I think our current American culture- of every family sequestered into its own house is probably more unnatural than polyamory

  • daria

    yeah- the idea of owning our spouses does seem a little fucked up, I never thought of it like that either.

Love, that’s really all.

A few years ago, when Grace (now 4) was a baby I drove all 5 kids down to California. I was a bit nervous about being 1200 miles from home and not having another adult to share road-trip responsibilities. Think about it; every potty break for 1200 miles involved unbuckling 3 kids in car seats and bringing 6 people into a public bathroom. We had a blast, though. We had a cooler filled with car snacks, we made a CD of the kids’ favorite music and we stayed overnight at a hotel with a swimming pool. I wasn’t even gone one night, though when I started missing my husband.

Valentine's Chocolate for Kids

Valentine’s Chocolate for Kids

 

He was building our second restaurant and spent over 12 hours a day, 7 days a week on construction. My mission in California was to pick up a uhaul trailer, a pizza prep fridge, empty our storage unit (collecting dust for 8 years), spend a week at a beach house in San Diego with my Dad and attend my sister’s wedding.

The trip was a big deal for me, being alone and fully responsible for all 5 kids, missing my husband and visiting family alone was strange. Checking into a hotel as the only adult with 5 kids was strange, renting a uHaul trailer was strange. These were grown-up things that I just had never done before, alone.

The time we spent at the beach was wonderful. My Dad and step mom are amazing, two of my favorite people in the world. When they married, He had two teenage daughters (me & my sister) and she had two teenage sons and a 7 yr old daughter. We’re all grown now, that week at the beach was so much fun, I’d never even met my brothers’ wives before and since then they’ve each had babies.

At my sister’s wedding I was in an odd mood. I was missing my husband and a little annoyed with my sister’s obsessive attention to detail. She wasn’t a bridezilla, but I still wasn’t very tolerant of her that weekend. Somehow dressing and grooming myself plus 5 children seemed a little more worthy-of-whining than whatever she was complaining about. I think I held it together, I kept telling myself “That’s just how she is” and “Her intentions are pure.” She wasn’t trying to stress anyone out, she just wanted things perfect. She’s changed so much since she’s become a mother. I hope now that she rolls with the punches a little better.

 

Valentines for my Kids

Valentines for my Kids

It was wonderful being there with my sister & mother. Before that point, it had been years since I’d seen her and many more years since I’d seen the two of them together. The late nights we spent at my sister’s house that weekend will never be forgotten, we played games, chatted (was there wine?- so much for remembering) and my kids entertained us. Still- the mood was weird; away from home, alone with all the kids, seeing people I hadn’t seen in forever. It was just a weird mood. It felt good to be the only adult in charge, but I kept fearing I’d do something wrong and he’d be upset with me later. I felt… unsupervised in the weirdest way. 

At the reception (which was lovely) my dad made a speech that’s echoed back to me so many times. Perhaps my weird mood made it stick in my mind. Either way, my Dad is a really good speaker.  I wish I’d inherited that trait. He knows how to keep a crowd’s attention, how to tell a story and how to stay on topic. He starts off entertaining and ends with applause, every time. He’s always done well in sales and never had trouble with the ladies.

Dad & Vicki went through 3 different spouses (collectively) until they found one another. His speech (or was it a toast?) mainly said that it’s important to show people how much you love them.

“Every day I try to out-love her and every day she beats me at it. One day I get up to make her breakfast and she’s got my breakfast & coffee on a tray, my computer fired up for work and my favorite towel hanging in the bathroom.” (And my quote may totally be remembered wrong, but that’s close enough)

I knew they were very loving, several years ago I remember her staring into his eyes and saying “I’d eat bees for you, babe” and it was the sweetest thing.

Anyway, that speech and the idea of competitive love-showing has brought me so much joy over the past few years.

I used to think divorce was a sign of failure. I used to think it was awful, giving up like that. In spite of that belief, whenever our marriage was in trouble I’d always be the one who wanted to run away. I think Dad’s speech, and the echo of it playing in my head for 4 years, has made a big difference.

It was such a profound idea, the idea of constantly showing love, that it took him 3 marriages to figure it out. Everything happens for a reason and I think, today, that every spouse and ex-spouse in my parental background is better off, shaped by the people they’ve chosen to love. I’m no longer feeling critical of their “failed” marriages because the things they learned about themselves, about love and about life are successes, by any measure.

I’m also no longer compelled to feel “unloved” by my husband whenever we disagree. It took a lot of fighting for us to come to a place of constant communication, but we’re here. I think. Fighting isn’t failing, it’s just an aggressive attempt to learn how to get along. In every fight, isn’t there a seed of wanting peace? I’m not going to change who he is, and I’ll probably never convince him to understand who I am.  But I can keep loving him in spite of that, right?

Our kids have taught us the value of constantly showing our love, too. Love letters are always being exchanged in our house. A couple months ago I bought a few heart-shaped platters. They were a hit; whenever I serve food on them the kids think it’s special. My mom gifted the children with their own teeny little mailboxes and they’re always sending each other love notes.

This year for Valentine’s day I picked up a sake set covered in hearts for the kids. We’re going to have a tea party (because they love tea parties) I doubt these dishes will ever see real sake, but the kids will love that the cups are teeny and the hearts will remind them that they are loved.

Maybe some day my husband and I will go out for a romantic Valentine’s Day Dinner. There’s plenty of time for that when the kids are grown. Until then, we’re surrounded by love, and the little picture of my sister’s wedding serves as a reminder each time I see it that maybe, if I get up early enough and don’t get caught, I can sneak in more love-showing than anyone in the family. Because that’s how I want to roll.
————————————————————–
Here are a few sample love letters I’m using for my kids. I’ve tried to steer clear of labeling “you’re so ____” and make them expressions of love, rather than pride. Enjoy…

Dear_________,
I love you. I’m having a lot of fun being your mommy. I like the stories you tell me and I’m glad you enjoy your new haircut. I’m looking forward to many more years as your mommy.

Dear________,
Happy Valentine’s Day. I wanted to tell you that I’m glad to be your mommy. I noticed that you enjoy chocolate, so I hope you like this gift. Thank you for being my kid.

Dear _________,
Hello, this is mom. I have a message for you. You are special to me. Every day I am happy to have you in our family. I hope you are happy to be here, too.

Dear________,
I’ve had so much fun watching you grow up. You might think you have a lot to learn, but I am learning so much from you. We can never know what lies ahead, only what lies within and I’ve noticed that within you, you have so many gifts and talents. Watching you use them and share them with the world is truly one of the best things about being a mother.

Dear_______,
Thank you for being you. I know it sounds lame, but sometimes you are exactly who I need to be around. I’m so glad that you share so much of your life and your thoughts with me. I might tease you about talking so much, but to be honest, no day would be complete without your narrative. I love listening to the way you think and your perceptions about the world. Every day, you amaze me with your insights, I’m very lucky to be learning from you.

Valentines for Teens

Valentines for Teens
So what are you doing to show your kids love this Valentine’s Day? I used to be annoyed with Hallmark and retailers for commercializing Valentine’s Day. I used to feel that they “took the meaning away” by including loves other than romantic love. I feel so differently today, though. Love knows no limits, the show of love should also be limitless. Romantic love grows into big family love, if you’re lucky. 

Mr Daddy of the House

brandon-russellI never talk about him much here, so today I will. We moved here to WA from the Los Angeles area, which sounds much cooler than “Palmdale, a city 1 hr north of Los Angeles” In the beginning of our marriage, he worked at Matthew’s Studio Equipment, loading equipment onto trucks to go out on film shoots, then he started working on the shoots, first as a grip, then a gaffer and then we moved to Seattle where he worked at Glazer’s camera and had unlimited weekend experimental use of the best cameras in the industry, as well as a clientele of professional photographers to learn from. When we returned to Los Angeles, he started working as a director of Photography, and didn’t stop until the restaurant business began to dominate his time and attention. Restaurants do that. over the past year and a half, he’s worked on a few projects that have come out really nice, and he put a few of them together into this reel. Truthfully, a reel should show ALL of his work, but this is all the footage we had access to. The shots are nice, the song is one of my favorites, and I’m really proud of him for putting it together. I hope you enjoy it.

The projects shown here are Forbidden FruitTravel Scene Investigator, and a Surface Tension video (they’re a Seattle band that you might hear more about in the future, but not from me.)

Still Digesting

You know when the news interviews people outside the scene of some major event and some people say really stupid things, while others are able to give an accurate account of the events in an order that truly gives you a picture of what went on?

I’m in the first group.

I feel the need to post a coherent statement about my experiences at the Rethinking Education Conference in Dallas, but the reality is that I’m not done digesting it yet.

In one way, everything I experienced resonated with deeply held beliefs that hadn’t yet been validated by anyone outside of my own mind, with the exception of those books I read such a long time ago.

Years ago, I read everything by John Holt, Magical Child by Joseph Chilton Pearce, the Continuum Concept, the Teenage Liberation Handbook, everything by John Taylor Gatto, and they definitely influenced my parenting. But this was over 10 years ago, when my oldest was a baby, and at that point, the only practical skills I could have come away with were babywearing, limiting the amount of crappy toys in favor of real things, not duplicating a classroom in my house, and the intention of one day not being such an idiot when it came to my kids.

So, ten years have passed and the deeply held trust I had for babies and toddlers has lent itself well to my family, and my total ignorance about the older child development has made me an idiot when it comes to my kids.

It was really nice to be in an environment of adults whose beliefs were so similar to mine that it allowed me to challenge myself based upon my own logic. I couldn’t have predicted many of the issues that I’d be “rethinking” and education wasn’t even one of them, much to my surprise. But “Rethinking-Everything-You-Thought-You-Knew-about-Human-Existence Conference” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

The talent show was fantastic. It had all the passion and creativity of the fireplace performances in my house, with none of the contrived parent-led recitations of other kid group performances I’ve seen (I’m not naming any names.) The Thriller Dance was great, the little girls who retold the story of Atlas with interpretive dance, totally sweet, and all of the dancing and singing. One little girl, I don’t know how old she was, said “I’m going to sing a lullaby, but I don’t want you to go to sleep. It’s a song my mother sings to me” and proceeded to serenade us all. Then, there was the entire room singing Pink Floyd “We don’t need no education…” My absolute favorite performance was by some little boy in a green shirt, I don’t even know his name. He was the lead singer in a rock and roll band. He handled the microphone like a real spirited rock star jumping around saying “yeah yeah” and when he told everyone to put their hands in the air, they did.

My stand-up comedy thing was fun. I didn’t have the stage-fright I thought I’d have. The environment was so loving, accepting and fun that I really felt safe and comfortable, like I was in a room full of friends. The sound system was a bit of a challenge, it threw me off a little. I forgot the whole 2nd half of my little act but I backed off before it became an embarrassment. I don’t know. I wonder if anyone filmed it. Eek- I don’t know if I want to see. I guess I can check that one off the bucket list.

The little reconstructed action figures were adorable. I loved how creative the kids were chopping up the Happy Meal toys and rebuilding them into more imaginative things. My favorite was the Tasmanian Devil coming out of the My Little Pony’s butt. Because I’m 12 that way.

toy from Rethinking Education Conference

I made friends. It’s been years since I’ve been in the company of adults who share these beliefs. It was really really nice. I haven’t felt so relieved and relaxed in so many years. I like knowing real life people that I can learn from. I like hearing their similar perspectives and learning from our differences. I like the supportive environment that comes from everyone helping bring out the best in each other.

So what happens? I come home to a house full of angry kids, and an angry husband. In an effort to please me with an immaculately spotless house, my husband used the skills he learned as a child to get the kids to help clean. One nice way to look at this is that I’m grateful for new insights that will allow us to work together differently in the future. Another advantage we have is that he’s open minded and once he gets past the emotions of everyone hating him for the events of the week, I am sure that he’ll be a happier guy.

One thing I learned was the value of appreciating people for where they are on the path. I don’t have to go there, but knowing why someone ELSE is there helps me respond better. My kids, accustomed to questioning authority and teamwork, didn’t buy the whole “Because I pay the bills” business. There was a revolt. I’m glad I wasn’t here for it. I’m glad it happened.

Yesterday, the girls and I started making altered books. Today we’re taking the sewing machine to the repair shop, so we can work on a few sewing projects we keep meaning to do. Each day we plan to spend time creating stuff together. I have an owl purse to copycat and an article to write that involves scrap booking supplies, so I’ll have to go buy some (unless one of my readers is a vendor who wants to donate in exchange for a review/ credit in a major mainstream parenting publication)

So we’re chugging along. I plan to share the “social world of unschoolers” with the rest of my family at the Life is Good Conference in Vancouver, WA next Spring. I’m enjoying the “back-to-my-roots” feeling and I’m not enjoying the consequences of having strayed for so many years. We’ll be OK, though. It’s a process, right? You can’t just be crazy like this overnight.

 

4 comments to Still Digesting (from before the server-crash of 2011)

  • Summer

    I’m so incredibly jealous that we weren’t able to go to the conference this year. *sigh* I can’t wait to hear more as you digest it all.

  • mama-aya

    Yay!
    I’m so glad you had a such a time you even HAVE to process it! Sounds amazing.
    It sounds so fun to be in that group of great people and all the kids being creative and having fun and not stuck with their parents trying to make them out-priss each other like SOME homeschool groups.
    Well, welcome home! And I AM jealous that your husband had the house clean, even if there is emotional clean-up still to do….

  • Moxy Jane

    It was a fabulous experience and I’m so glad you were able to come and be a part of it. I really enjoyed meeting you and look forward to keeping in touch!

    Moxy Jane

  • angela

    thank you for putting into words the process of processing this amazing event that i was also very happy to have been able to attend!
    being surrounded by so many people who share similar and even challenging beliefs was at once an affirmation of self(past and present) and the root stimulant of an adventurous growth spurt. it was also sorta like kid bumpers at the bowling alley!
    it was inspiring to meet you and i hope we can become good friends!
    angela
    dandeliongirls

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