Happiness is when your little brother feels well again!
I am awake at night. Up again and again. I have lost track of hours and minutes of sleep. Did I even fall asleep? I am in a dream-like state where rest is elusive. Just around the corner. As far away as another life. Worry. Thoughts racing. Questions unanswered. Startled awake again by crying out. He’s right next to me, in bed. Where he always sleeps. But he is in a world of baby pain and exhaustion that I cannot reach. I hold him. I rock him. I walk him. I sing to him. I rub his back. I nurse him. It is not enough. Nothing is enough.
And then, just when I think I cannot be here another minute without loosing my head, there is peace. Soft calmness. And clear thoughts. Where does this come from? This gift of mother love. A gift I do not ask for; a gift I do not expect. Something is holding me. Something is holding my child. We can rest here. We are safe.
It took us a few weeks — journaling once a week or so — to settle into this practice.
And now if we neglect our nature journals, it feels like something is missing from our week.
I love returning to these pages,
centering and coming back to this place,
a book that reveals something different each time
Watching the seasons unfold.
I wrote about dipping autumn leaves in beeswax for the October Wild+Free bundle on LEAVES. So when the girls wanted to bring out the dipping pot today, I was especially aware of the beauty of this autumn tradition.
Here is an excerpt from my piece:
September 2010. It is our first year homeschooling. I have two daughters: a five-year-old and an 18-month-old, and four curriculums: a stack of books and a box of binders. I want so desperately to do this right — but nothing I read feels “right” for the type of “school” we want to do and the sort of family we are. I read. I take notes. I make lists and schedules. I envision our days. I want to choose a path and have it feel deep and meaningful right away. But I’m overwhelmed by choice. Which method to follow? Which books to read? Which projects to make?
When we go outside, my head clears. Outside I don’t need a curriculum. We play in the garden and take walks. The girls fill baskets with wild treasures. We rake leaves and jump into piles, tossing the colors of autumn up into the air, over and over again.
We bring some leaves inside, and I remember a project that I read about in one of those binders in the box next to my desk. Curious, but skeptical, I shuffle through the pages and then fill a pot with chunks of raw beeswax and heat it, slowly. The aroma of melting wax — like honey and summer memories — fills the house. I coax the girls into the kitchen and as we dip our leaves in the beeswax, magic happens. We marvel as each leaf transforms into a object of shining light, coated with a layer of nature’s finest gloss.
Jeffrey said tonight, “Homeschooling sure is messy.”
That it is. But it’s a good kind of messy, I think. We have so many books and notebooks, markers and colored pencils, games and cards, pictures and paper dolls, miniatures and bits of the natural world scattered all over the kitchen/dinning room/living room/everything room in our house. We tidy up and as soon as the table is cleared, it becomes a magnet for the next project. Maybe the girls should make a stop-motion animation of our table . . . changing over the course of a day!