But first, we cry
That’s what we do: we cry. A lot. I didn’t know homeschool was going to have me in tears but here I am.
Maybe I am the only one and maybe not.
I am in the middle of one of my crying episodes. I have laid it all out there for them to see. I’ve told my boys I don’t really know what I’m doing. But I also know it could be super awesome.
In the midst of my crying, ranting, explanation of why we are choosing to homeschool, I bluntly asked them if they could just give it a try. Just trust me and try these new things. The oldest and youngest stare at me and quickly say they could do that. They will give it their best try.
I’m pretty sure they were so shocked at my honesty and vulnerability they just wanted to do or say anything to make me stop crying.
My middle child did not have the same response. He was struggling with the idea of homeschool and didn’t have much empathy for me at the moment.
He is resistant to this. Has had the rug pulled out from under him and his whole world has turned upside down.
I should have known this would be the case for him. He struggles to handle change.
He has taken to blaming God for this upheaval in his life. It hasn't been easy to listen to. But I’m trying not to give it too much of my energy.
So the emotions continue to come and go. I have learned a lot about feelings and emotions. My goal is to just let them be, like a ship passing through.
It’s taken me so much to let these emotions rise and fall.
I am trying to discover why I push them down and lock them away. I think because it is too painful to acknowledge them. It is easier not to feel. It leads me to reflect on how I got here. This place of actually leaving the system to begin the homeschool journey.
When I worked as an admin, I had to put everyone’s feelings ahead of my own: the kid who was screaming at the teacher, the teacher who was trying to remain calm and the kids who were all witnessing this disturbing situation.
I shut my own feelings off to de-escalate it all. I just handled it. I appeared calm even if I wasn’t. I think I was tough because I had no feelings about it. It was my job. So I did it.
And I prided myself on not having feelings. This made me strong. I was superior to others because I could be calm and not be upset about any of these extreme actions. I was able to be calm. All. The. Time.
Except at home. Except when it came to my own life, my own family.
But I also drowned my feelings in alcohol at night. I immediately poured wine or had a beer while I cooked supper.
My own kids had needs too and it was too much to deal with everyone’s everything all the time. I was exhausted. I wasn’t a good mom. I didn’t feel like a good one anyway. My own kids were the last ones I wanted to deal with because I just spent 8+ hours taking care of everyone else's.
I didn’t like my feelings. They were making me weak. I needed to be strong for everyone. I thought being strong was to appear being the calm current, a steady rock, a solid, perfect exterior armor manicured and cleaned every day for battle of life.
Well, I was able to wear my armor for five years as an administrator. By year three, it was dented and dirty. Parts of it were falling off, broken and battered. But I kept putting it on for two more years.
My armor continued to fall off as I made big decisions for my life. I left my administrator job for an alternative private school. The only problem was I had not dealt with my feelings about school up until this point. My feelings could not stay trapped inside. Eventually they burst forth, a dam breaking, rolling with waves. And they showed up at the most inconvenient times. I left my old admin job thinking I was going to change school but instead I began a journey of healing myself and my family.
My first year at my new teaching job saw a difficult student who challenged me. I wondered how I could ever reach him. The family was concerned about academics and I just wanted him to be okay. I cried and cried about how I could help. I was doing it all wrong.
I cried so much in my first year at this private school, I cried about the new regulations that were now enforced at the school. The school that I had escaped to in order to find freedom and was seeing more confines and constraints. (This was 2020.) The tears were for myself again: not knowing what I was doing after not teaching for five years, second guessing my abilities, pouring out old hurts that I had ignored.
So while I imagined a new future I was going to create for myself and the next generation, I was still stuck in a system. It couldn’t look different because I hadn’t dealt with my own feelings and my own shit from the past. From school.
The idea of homeschooling continued to surface in my mind. I wrote openly about it in 2021 in the blog called New Embers Sparking: homeschool. I do not remember being so open and direct about it but it is very apparent this was my future when I read this now.
It has taken time and healing to find myself here. To even consider the possibility of homeschooling. To see it as a reality and my reality.
So I have cried for all the sadness that pours out of me. Sadness for a system I so heavily believed in and invested in. Sadness for leaving a career I loved. Sadness for my own children who did not choose this path of homeschooling but have a mom who has awakened to so many of these realities.
It is hard to be the different one all the time. But if I find other 'different' people like me, I will be the same again. I will have support and guidance. And so will my kids. It’s all a matter of perspective.
My tears are of sadness now. But they will one day be for relief and happiness and beauty. For all the things that will come but the emotions and tears will remain. I am no longer ignoring or pushing them away. I am embracing them no matter what they are because they are apart of me and I cannot keep hiding. I tried that and it didn't work so now I am trying something different: just being me and accepting myself as I am.