(And if you haven't read it to the end, then…oops. Spoiler alert?)
You might like to know, and I think it's important to say,
that any sad I feel these days, is much smaller than it ever used to be (because I am learning…that sad is a part of happy is a part of breathing is a part of waking up and a part of me).
It passes more quickly (because I fight it less).
And smiles come much, much sooner than they used to (because I know they're on their way).
I am so unbelievably grateful for that.
I actually have even more to write about this journey, about my complicated companion Fear…and all the steps I've taken over the past 6 months to get better. And I am getting better, I am letting fear go. It's been an amazing and beautiful ride, in so many ways.
But I can't write any of that right now, because I have to make some
Very! Important! Announcements!
Because that's how life is— isn't it? You sometimes feel all serious and want to address serious issues. Sometimes you get sad and think serious thoughts. Sometimes you have to make important (and serious) decisions. Sometimes you get slapped in the face by sorrow/fear/worry/grief and feel like you want to give up and then you have to get serious about saving your own life.
But in all this seriousness, all this staying focussed, and in all this getting better,
life keeps on happening.
Glorious, improbable, extraordinary life.
Filled with crazy goodness. And beauty and wonder and laughter and
surprises (large and little) that make you smile so big you are amazed your face has room.
So that's what's been happening here.
A whole lot of crazy, good life.
My daughter has been accepted to be a Young Editor at Youngzine (our all-time favourite online magazine for kids) for the summer (our winter)!
She wrote an essay on being vegan recently and submitted it—Youngzine published her essay, and it generated a huge response from the readers. So then she applied to be one of their summer writers, and they said yes! She's working on her first story right now, and is so pleased (as well as a little nervous, truth be told). I'm so thrilled for her. Wow.
My son has quietly become a jazz pianist.
He played a gig at a cafe the other day with his jazz combo (getting paid in soy hot chocolate, as all musicians should be, really). When he played his solos, my husband and I were blown away. How'd he learn to play like that?? I've heard him practicing in the playroom, and driven him to rehearsal. I've never really thought about what he was doing; it was his special thing and just a regular part of our lives. Now, possibly for the first time I saw him as a separate person, a musician in his own right. I had never seen him play like that before. Wow.
Both kids submitted stories into the Just Imagine writing competition* at the city art gallery this year and…
(* wait! More info required! In this competition, you pick an art work to use as a prompt and write a story… it's sort of that simple. The rules state you are supposed to pick an art work in your category—there are four artworks for Grades 5-6, four for 7-8, and so on through high school. Well. Um. We didn't exactly stick to that. My son liked the 9-10 category, and my daughter, who's in Year 4, submitted in the 5-6 category. We did it 'cause we're rebels that way. All of us ninja writers, somersaulting through rules like they're laser lights in a musty museum. Did you see that back flip?!)
…yesterday they had the awards ceremony and
both kids won. Both their stories won "Best Story" for the artwork they picked! Wow. Both kids get their stories published in the paper, get a book voucher as a prize, and will have their stories displayed beside the artwork in the gallery for the next month. Wow. WOW.
Could I be prouder? I don't think so!
All these wonderful happenings (plus reading this great post by Christina) have led me to
another lovely epiphany.
And that is:
My kids are free, this minute, to realise any dream they might have.
They have the time, the support, the space, the resources, the energy
every single day
to be the people they want to be.
They can be journalists. They can be writers. They can be musicians. Right now. This second. Not later. Not when they're grown and done with their school years. Not even after school is finished for the day. Now.
They can be artists and web designers, explorers and Minecraft engineers. They can be vegan advocates and chefs. They can be mathematicians and jugglers and cat cuddlers. They can be beachcombers and cyclists. They can be dreamers and readers and sleeper-inners. They can be in their pyjamas all day, writing novels and playing piano and eating warm pasta at lunch and asking each other, "What would you wish for, if you only had one wish?" every single day, if they like.
They get to live outside boundaries, outside expectation, outside shoulds.
That's their "normal."
Even on the crinkliest, most serious days, this is their life,
in all its crazy goodness,
wrapped up in surprise and delight.
I'm linking this post to Owlet's beautiful Unschool Mondays
and to Christina's inspiring Interest-Led Learning blog (because her words inspired a comment which is now the central message of this post) :)