Today I didn’t eat until almost five o’clock. Ooops! I did drink a bunch of milk. I’m still doing that whole allergy food plan thing and testing individual foods to discover if they are causing me discomfort (it’s borrrring). So far so good on the milk front although we’ll see how tomorrow goes (my prediction: “tummy troubles”, by or to put it more delicately and specifically, cramps and diarrhea and sweating over both).
I got a little grumpy mid-day after reading a supposed fair and balanced blog article regarding homeschooling which was, let’s face it, a handful of garden variety concern-troll points. Instead of merely reading and digesting I chose to reply civilly and directly – as it was meant to be a discussion after all (I was pleased to notice later many other commenters quite effectively shut down some of the homeschool fallacies). After posting I could tell by the irritation in my body that I’d put off eating long enough. The kids and I got our asses out of Dodge to get some food, in this case at the winsome little bakery in Aberdeen. I was so late I had to call ahead so they could fix me something to pick up before closing time – which they did, the dears. Sitting in the sun-dappled car at the park and having a bite with the kids? I felt a bit better in general.
Because let’s face it, I am not made of stone and things get me down. No matter how well I have it in my life I can get overwhelmed and despairing; in this case over the same sort of silly myths one hears over and over about supposed homeschooler issues – that children won’t be effectively socialized, that their parents are Caspar Milquetoasts who can’t handle the Real World and they’re raising little Milquetoasts to dither about in the same manner, that there are secret homeschooler “religious” factions preaching non-stop Right-Wing hate in the ears of their little ones. I can know for a fact these issues are not concerns unique to home education and I can be one hundred percent thrilled with how things are going in my family but – Really? Must we? Over and over again?
In the car at the park we finished our lunch – the kids devouring ham sandwiches in no time flat. They discussed the new water park installation at this specific locale (which I call “Tobaccy Park” as it is located right next to a cigarette shop) and speculated on when the waterworks would commence; not thirty seconds after this the jets blasted into full force. Of course (as it turned out upon reading the info board) the park will be running daily for the duration of the summer – but to Sophie and Nels’ eyes it just blossomed the moment they wished it to. The looks on their faces; I’m glad I was there to see it.
The kids were out of the car and under the water jets in no time flat, Nels cutting an especially striking figure in his Max suit which, as it is made almost exclusively of terry cloth, was heavy and soaking in only a few minutes. After a bit both kids were in their underwear and playing joyfully (mind you, it wasn’t especially warm today).
Sophie hesitated at first before stripping down. “I don’t want to embarrass you, Mom,” she said, her hazel eyes full of depths I’ve seemingly known my whole life. My heart melted and I felt so sad that she had sensed my very slight trepidation at the thought of her bare body – who the hell begrudges a small girlchild the freedom a boychild has, to run and splash and feel cool water and hot sun on the skin? I said, “Sophie, it won’t embarrass me. You can do what you wish.” She let me pull her sweater and jeans off and she and her brother giggled and splashed and played with pressure differential in the many recessed spigots – putting their foot on one to make the others fountain all the higher. They let me know when to warm up the car so I could tuck them into the gloaming and the leather seats and they’d be warm until we got home.
My kids are a reminder that there are people on this planet who have (mostly) only good impulses; who live truly freely, enjoying the gift of Life and enjoying those they love, people who have a light touch and can demonstrate Live & Let Live. Our (Ralph and my) children are unfettered with troubles most of their day, and when they have them they confront them directly and with passion and clarity. They are critical thinkers who are rarely prone to Cynicism (a disease of humanity that causes me much grief). Today in the park I felt a gladness they were in my life, because at times my mind is eaten through with darkness. I truly wish I was smoking whatever they have; I’d be the better off for it.