Tuesday, March 15, 2011

This time

this morning, it was my boy's turn to be sad.

Nothing was right from the start. Poor guy; he tried to do his busy things, tried to get his brain working, tried just to write a sentence really, but a sentence simply didn't want to be writ.

I could feel his energy, slowly dwindling. It was like watching someone try to swim through glue.

And I could blame myself… if I look back, I see there are ways I tried (with good intentions, but still…) to steer his day when I didn't need to… (like suggest breakfast and perhaps getting on with some projects, when I think he really just wanted to read and read Watership Down 'til his eyes wore out)


I could blame his tiredness on going to sleep late, or his busy dreams, or his trouble going to sleep at night (just like his mum)


I could blame nothing,

and accept a day which simply was

unsticking for him.

Until there he was in tears, on my lap on the couch.

Yep, I know. My boy's ten, nearly 11. If he was at school he'd be expected to tough a moment like this out. Bury it. Get on with life. Buck up. Whoever heard of a ten year old boy sitting on his mum's lap actually confiding in her?

I have. It's kind of beautiful.

My boy sat on my lap (because he could)
and blurted out how awful he felt (because I was listening),
and said he didn't know why but today wasn't a good day at all.
(And I said, Man, I've totally had days like that!)

Then I said, Is there anything I can do? How can we turn this around, I wonder?

He didn't know what or how. Just didn't. And he leaked some more.

I said, Well, the first thing to do, is have a good cry if you need to.

(because a good cry is the best way to clear things out, you know? Kind of like how after the rain, everything seems washed and clear. Like it's been through a big old carwash and it's all shiny. A cry can bring such shine. Tears are so underrated!)

So my boy snuggled in and cried, just a little, just enough. And after a while, he said, You're the best mum ever. You always make things better.

Which was kind of funny to hear, because all I'd done was be squished by my boy and talk a bit… but I knew,


in that moment, what he meant and why things were better already.

Because here he can be.

He can cry if he needs to and no-one will tell him to stop. He can talk any time about his feelings. He doesn't have to wait until a set time to let it spill out of him or have it be buried by then. He can feel terrible in one moment, then—after a good cry and talk and brainstorm and rethink—feel just wonderful afterwards.

Which he did, you know. We rejigged the day. Changed the trajectory, adjusted the focus, fiddled with a few bobs and bits and buttons and

got back to it.

And the day turned out pretty fine for him, I'm thinking!

It involved playing an awesome Ancient Egypt computer game and Duck Duck Bruce, plus reading Watership Down on the couch. It was a day with funny poetry writing in it, and totally-focussed piano practice and Band. It had talking and loving and laughing and learning.

And it had a sense of safety and a sense of self.

Oh, it was a great turnaround kind of day. It was all kinds of shiny and freshly washed.

And beautiful. Did I mention already how beautiful it was?



  1. See..this is it...another reason I homeschool. Because we all have days like this..but in PS if you have too many days like this, and no one cares, and no one comforts, and no one listens or understands...you stop caring, you stop trying.

    But you did the exact thing your adorable boy needed, you listened, you cared, you loved. And what a fine day it ended up being.

    I am just in love with Homeschooling today and reading this makes me HAPPY. ;)

  2. That is such a lovely post Helena!

  3. Yup. We had that kind of day here too. Our new countertops were installed and Grace has a very hard time with change. She was sad and weepy and teary and I could not figure out why until I was on the phone with my husband and he told me it was the kitchen. Duh! I should have known......so some hugs and kind words, a quick shower and we were back on track. I would have hated sending her to school distraught, not knowing why, only to worry about her for 8 hours.

  4. I'm so glad to help make your Happy bigger, Karen! I know what you mean about being In Love with homeschool. That's when you don't just love it, and when you aren't *just* happy, but you're alight with how it makes you feel. YEAH! :)

    Thank you Bec, for your comment and for stopping by! It's lovely to meet you. And I read your link for Owlet's Unschool Monday and loved your words. (Another blog I totally relate to! Whenever will I sleep??)

    And thanks so much, Jessica. Yeah, it sucked when my kids were sad before school …I'd be waiting the whole day for them to come back, so we could detangle the Stuff. So lovely to be able to detangle the moment detangling is required! And to have the hugs too. I'm such a sucker for hugs… :)

  5. MUM...I wanna come and sit on your lap and have a cry too.....My head hurts and I feel like being a sloth today but I have too much to do..ANDDDDDD my washing machine just died....meeehhhhhh!

    Seriously though, I felt a little better just reading your post, your loving mama energy shines beautiful lady and is seeping right out of my computer screen...thanks

    Hugs and smoochies xoxoxo

  6. I love this post! I can so relate to this. What is better than allowing our sons to express their emotion without putting a label on it :)
    Love it!

  7. I love this post too! My boy had a day like that yesterday (he's 11 going on 12) and I thought "this is why we homeschool" because he wouldn't (shouldn't) be like that at school. But we can at home. We can be flexible at home. And we were. And it was all better.

    Thank you Helena (again) for so eloquently expressing the beauty of homeschooling!

  8. Well, you're making me feel less than shiny cuz I don't know when the last time my 12 year old told me I was a great mom (or mum. That'd be kind of fun. Maybe I can encourage them to pick up an Aussie accent for a while? Just to spice things up...). In fact, I recall getting quite a few groans and grunts and harumphs and angry eyes.

    How about I send you a spare child? He could probably use the sunshine you've got over there, too...

    Wait. How about I COME THERE and my child stays here and I GET THE SUNSHINE?!?

  9. I LOVE this post!
    It is so wonderful that our kids have the opportunity to work through the icky, unstuck days and moments without external pressure.
    I love how you transformed something that could have been a negative into a positive.

  10. I love this so, too. I love it that people (Mamas/Papas/babies) are free to be attached and have needs, and that those sorts of things aren't seen as "problems", but as yet another example that we're doing a very, very good thing by having them near.
    Being loving and having the time inclination to do so is everything for children.


I love hearing from you! Thank you for your heartfelt, thoughtful responses—they lift me, and give me light.