Find Joy. Seek Truth. Be Kind.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

That Awkward Stage

I'm at an awkward parenting stage.  (Well, I'm pretty much always awkward - parenting or otherwise)  This is one of those times when I'm constantly questioning myself and my decisions.

Bit Boy at almost 16 seems nearly independent - making his own schedule, making (pretty good) choices, and generally acting like he's nearly an adult.  Is it appropriate to let him be so independent?  I think so, I think it's good for him to make decisions and live with the consequences - especially since they're fairly non-lethal at this point.  But I feel guilty for it to be so easy to parent him right now.  (Dear Universe, please don't take this as a challenge)

Hot Dog is an impish 9 year old, thrilled with his soccer team (undefeated, thank you very much Coach Joe!), his various lessons and classes, and generally a happy kid.  I worry that I don't give my youngest all the attention that he deserves, but I comfort myself with Firleord.  He was the 5th and last kid in his family.  I think his parents were tired by the time he came and they basically let him alone.  He turned out pretty damn good.

Lego Kid ....  is a bundle of contradictions.  He wants to go to school next year, but not leave the house today - or ever. He wants me to make him do things, but he doesn't want to do anything.  We unschooled until he was 11, at which point he told me "You're too easy on me.  You should make me do things."  So I asked him what I should make him do, we made a list, and now I "make" him do it.  ( I'm confused.  Is it still unschooling if it's at his request?)  He gets mad at me if he doesn't get his academics done, but resents when I make him do them.  I suppose I need to remember that he's 13.  This isn't personal.  If it's this hard for me to deal with him, how much harder is it for him to deal with himself?

But... it does make it more challenging for me to know what the right thing to do is.  My parenting philosophy has always been radical - I treat my children as rational people who know themselves better than I know them and so should have a fair say in their lives.

I have to admit that sometimes it's a mistake to assume they are rational, and that this may be one of those times.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Windy memories

This morning as the wind howls, I found myself in the most unusual position of having a wee bit of time to myself.  After doing a couple of chores and surfing Facebook, I checked on the blogs of a couple of favorite friends - and realized how very long it had been since we'd all hung out together.  I have happy memories of times at the river and parks, splashing, talking, laughing.  It wasn't really so long ago.

Friendships, and life, seem to go in phases.  You don't always know that you're in a phase, and often don't realize when you're leaving it, but in retrospect it can be very clear.  That time in my life with little babies and toddlers - gone.  Most of those friends have long moved on.  That space of time early in our homeschooling career when we found our local homeschooling group, hung out at the library and local parks, and had actual free time - faded away.  That sturdy time of solid homeschooling, when all three boys were close enough together to do pretty  much the same thing, when our schedule was our own to plan, when we had 2 other homeschooling families with kids about the same age who became as close as cousins to us, that's gone now too.

We're in a new stage, but I'm too close to really see the whole of it yet.  My 3 boys are going in different directions, all at once.   Bit Boy is a straight "A" high school/college student.  In the fall he'll be taking 16 credit hours.  While he isn't unkind to his brothers, he rarely has time for them.  Although he is helpful when asked, participates in the family when requested, he is very much independent now. (Well, except for needing rides everywhere...sigh...)  Lego Kid's voice keeps creeping lower as he campaigns to go to the last year of middle school starting next fall.  He still plays with Hot Dog, but less often and with less patience than before.  I can see he's getting his wings ready for some test flights.  Hot Dog has finally found a couple of things all his own (soccer and violin, especially soccer) and is still happy to homeschool.  I'm grateful for that, but I wonder how long it can last when his brothers are away in school all day.  His best bud has decided to go to school next year too.  With me needing to transport his brothers we won't be able to slip down to Denver or up to the mountains for all those fun field trips that are one of the huge benefits of homeschooling.  I would love to keep homeschooling him as long as possible, so I guess I'll need to find a new rhythm there too.

I notice deaths and births in our social circles.  In my own family now we are in a phase of looming deaths as my grandparents generation approaches their 90's and our own children are as yet too young for the rounds marriages and births to start.  That makes me all the more grateful when I see the babies of young friends in life, or even on the social networks. 

Melancholy - that's this morning.