Category Archives: Sunshine Life
It’s been awhile… I’ve been digesting life. Slowly.
I wish I could tell my daughter things to make her life easier. I wish that I could sit down with her and catch her eye and she would hear me. Our relationship isn’t quite like that. She doesn’t enjoy eye contact and sitting still for more than 4 seconds is a very, very challenging task. So heart to hearts don’t come easy.
I wish I could tell her that it’s all about Love. Everything. Everywhere. We go through so many years of pain and drama over wishing people would love us, love us more, love us better. We change who we are, what we think, what we dream, so maybe people will love us more. We yell and scream and hurt others, because we’re AFRAID they don’t love us. We miss so much magic, and beauty, and wonder within ourselves while we’re trying to make sure someone sees us in our glory.
If I could just teach her she’s amazing, enough to fill her tank…. If she could find that confidence and love herself and her brilliant ideas and her frustrating quirks and worry less about the world …. it would be a sweeter life.
Yet, after 37 years of doing the same myself, it’s a hard habit to break. Schoolyard whispers still claw at the back of my thoughts, should I have said that? worn that? done that? I mean, I’m better than I used to be. After frantically asking myself several times I can usually actually remind myself that it doesn’t matter now. But the first voice is the one of doubt. How much practice it takes to change that. I wish, I could help her find that sweet voice while she’s young, and hear it first.
Because if you are truly comfortable with loving yourself to pieces, and you act from love towards others, what else is there?
Create your Sunshine Life – by Loving yourself to pieces first. xoxo
Oh So many things. Sooo many things to share. It’s been Forever.
Today, my daughter asked me for advice. Real honest, loving advice. Not eye-rolley, or snotty, but lovely – GRANTED it was how to win at Candy Crush, but hey, beggers can’t be choosers. I’ll still remember the day forever, except in a few months I will change it in my mind to something probably a bit more poetic, today I’m honest. It was Candy Crush.
My learning with Methylation and genetics moves forward. I feel a bit at times like I’m lost in the Matrix. Deep in data with numbers and studies all around me and I forget where I am. It’s a process, but a worthy one. I can’t wait to figure it out and share with all the mommas and daddies out there searching… It’s like a fast track back to college. Chemistry and ick. But it’s a new goal when it helps your kids. So I just stick with it.
In the meanwhile, as we’ve been so diligent reducing our diet, any small infraction causes huge upset. Last week I made a roast chicken for my husbands birthday and as a “special” treat I tucked an onion inside the bird as the kids had another meal planned. We haven’t been able to cook with onion or garlic in months due to my sons sensitivity, and it felt like a special occasion. However, when we boiled said chicken for broth we forgot to remove the cursed onion. My son drank the broth last night and was sick all day today. Poor little guy.
I’m going to start researching an aggressive digestive enzyme therapy to begin to start to build tolerance to these sensitivities. We’ve had it out of our diet for over 3 months and drinking bone broth and grass fed gelatin like it’s going out of style and the sensitivity only goes stronger. The problem foods are like the “one Ring to Rule Them All” (geeky Lord of the Rings reference) where the attraction and impact only grows stronger with time.
We are making it. Each day. I’m up more than I used to be. I’m trying to come to a calm and loving acceptance for my new way of life. It isn’t what it was before the accident, but it’s better than it has been. Perhaps I need to focus on patience for awhile. I’m working on getting IGG blood tests for both kids to assess food sensitivities and continue to work towards understanding the mutations we have and how I can heal them nutritionally.
I haven’t lost hope. Sometimes I even still dream of Bali. You know, if I could make the flight and all of the stars aligned.
Somedays It’s not any more exciting than one foot in front of the other. And that’s enough.
Create your Sunshine Life. One small Step at a Time. With patience.
I’m continually stunned and saddened by the state of the health of our children and the overall lack of concern by the population. The rates of autism increase daily, not to mention Sensory Processing Disorder, ADHD, and a whole mess of other similar neuro illness with names like ODD, OCD, Bipolar, Schizophrenia, etc. Our kids get sicker and sicker.
I can’t believe how many people that have not yet been touched by autism (or any of the other Neuro conditions), cannot muster compassion for those that do. The only explanation is that it is so terrifying, people can’t bring themselves to contemplate the reality of what that looks like. What it feels like.
The growing population of educated moms learning to help their kids is awe inspiring. But they cannot do it alone. We have to help each other, sharing what works, sharing grace, acceptance and non-judgement when we experience these wild little creatures in our world.
If you run into a “naughty” kid in a public place, or a child trick or treating without a costume, please remind yourself not to judge. These parents and kids are dealing with more than most people could ever imagine and sometimes just surviving another day is all they can hope for.
Their nervous systems are on overload, neurotransmitters are out of balance, and many are sickened by regular day to day activities.
Whether these disorders affect you now or not, they likely soon will. With the increasing vaccine schedule, toxins in self care products (shampoo, soaps, lotion, toothpaste) gmo’s in our food supply and artificial colors that have been proven to be neurotoxins, fluoride in the water, and lack of sunlight and fresh air – these kids are all jumbled up.
SO please, have grace, send love, give encouragement if you see a stressed mom who’s child is melting down in Target. Read ingredient lists. Learn what is in your food, your water. Become educated about the world we live in and support others doing the same. Take time to learn about initiatives such as GMO labeling, and reducing the toxins in your home.
Because it does matter.
These are our people. This is our planet. And we’re screwing it all up under the guise “that’s someone else’s problem”.
We work our jobs, take care of our kids, go to college, do homework, all the things that society says we must do. But we missed all the important stuff. We missed empathy. We missed personal responsibility. We forget to care about what we eat and trust a mess of politicians to do it for us. We must learn to care about our world and our people – all of it.
So please, the next time you think to yourself “that kid needs a good swat” or “that mother is doing a terrible job” consider to yourself that perhaps that mother is trying desperately to heal her child. Maybe she hasn’t slept in weeks. Maybe the child hasn’t either. Maybe someone gave her sensitive child a sucker filled with artificial coloring and high fructose corn syrup without her consent (happens all the time at banks and grocery stores) and the child is having a hard time processing. Maybe what they both need more than anything is understanding. Compassion. Respect.
Perhaps that Momma Bear is a warrior, studying late into the night, getting her very own personal online medical education with no goal other than to save her children and the children all around her.
Create your Sunshine Life – by sharing the Sunshine with someone who really needs it.
We haven’t had cable TV in about a year. It just was an excessive expense with the accident, and the chaos so we cut cable and occasionally rent a redbox or find a movie or documentary at the library. Which means, we don’t watch the news. Yes, that’s right folks. WE DO NOT WATCH THE NEWS. Proudly.
Now of course, if you know me at all, you know I’m an obsessive researcher. I research everything from vaccine statistics to healthy eating, leaky gut, nutrition profiles and genetic abnormalities (not to mention I could hold my own in a conversation with top neurologists about CSF leaks!). I research water shortages in California and kickstarter campaigns with salt water filtration systems and crazy impressive solar power. So it’s not that we’re out of touch with the world. We’re out of touch with the fear mongering.
Recently, my husband had this brilliant idea to get an antenna ($8 Amazon.com) so we could pick up local programming, the occasional guilty pleasure. Greys Anatomy or some fun cooking show. We were totally and completely unprepared for the wild advertising, consumerism and fear mongering. HOLY COW. You don’t really notice when you watch it every day, but after a break and some perspective it’s appalling!
A new drug to help with occasional depression but side effects include kidney failure and death… but look how happy we are now! New gadgets and gizmos that no one on this planet actually needs but it’s being shoved down our throat as they next thing to make life easier and it’s only $19.99. All I can see is how many will soon be in landfills once people realize it’s just one more gadget for their kitchen to find space for and use once a year.
The other day I turned on the tv to watch a documentary with the kids and in the two minutes it took me to switch over from tv to dvd, some daytime talkshow (like The View-although I’m not sure that’s what it was) was showing clips from YouTube about some baby laughing when its dad coughed. THIS IS DAYTIME TV? With all that is happening in the world, with a new 17 year old winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, with all of the amazing inventions to save the planet, with all of the beautiful wonderful things in our world – you are using TV time to show me silly clips of someone’s baby from the internet??? Even my 5 year old son looks up at the TV (as they replay the clip for the third time) “ya, ya, we got it. This is ridiculous mom”. My thoughts exactly. What a lazy, greedy, excuse to sell commercials and take up TV time.
As someone who spent a good portion of her career in corporate marketing and advertising, I have a fairly good handle on the how’s and why’s for television commercials and the subtle techniques used for a “win”.
Don’t even get me started about Ebola. Does no one else think it strange that there are no positive public service messages to strengthen your immune system? Wash your hands? Get enough sleep. Consider a daily probiotic (proven to increase strength of the immune system). Ebola doesn’t kill everyone it comes in contact with. Survivors typically had a strong immune system. No. It’s about creating fear. How scary it all is. How many people have died. How fast it is spreading. How the CDC has everything under control. No wait – maybe they don’t. It’s no big deal – but it is deadly. It’s a roller coaster of emotions that the public is being drug through. And that is as scary as anything else. What about some confidence, strength, education, leadership?
Down with the fear mongering. Don’t drink the kool-aid. Fear makes people stop thinking. It makes people stop trusting their own intuition. It gets people to hand over their power to someone else as it’s just too overwhelming to decide ourselves.
Lets lift each other up. Find strength, education, confidence. Talk to those whose opinion you value, and have an educated conversation, debate is ok – you don’t have to agree – the goal is to learn. And keep learning. Trust yourself.
Raise your vibration. How about believing in miracles? Faith doesn’t cost a thing.
Create your sunshine life. Ditch the fear. Be your radiant self instead. Learn something new that is beautiful about our world. And for heavens sake, turn off that fear machine.
xoxo ~ Clover Sunshine
aH homeschooling. Wowzers. Talk about brining your “A” game every day. Being your best, your brightest, your most tuned in. Let’s face it, in the corporate world there are days you can skate (particularly higher up the ladder). If you’re not feeling well, or hungover, or fighting some personal demon you can close your door and work at 50% capacity for an hour, or a day…
But homeschooling? Oh, these wee ones don’t take any crap. There are ON from the moment they wake. And if I’m not filling them up with a project or an idea or a book, they get listless and bored…and the fighting… it’s amazing how two little people can find so much to fight about!!
I find myself wishing, how do I teach them to meditate? I mean, they aren’t the type to sit quietly and watch mommy and try it themselves. So what can I do?
Yoga. Boom. Rockstar moment.
But how will I get them to stand still and pay attention and enjoy it??
Bookmark this! The kids LOVED it. Two days in a row. This morning they requested morning yoga. It’s the perfect length to get some morning energy out of them and get them out of a fog. The lady is beautifully silly and brilliant. Afterwards we made waffles and they were clearer, more interested in projects, less wiggly.
If only this old body would let me participate!! How I’m dying to stretch with them.
Now, on to Super Heroes. With a 5 year old boy in the house, our life has a lot of superheroes in it. So we are all going as a superhero family for Halloween. Great fun and a wonderful way to introduce sewing (and bedazzling) to keep those little minds and fingers busy! Project for today: Logos to go on our marvelous capes! Yesterday we went to the craft store and picked out the gaudiest, sparkliest felt we could find!
I’ll do my best to remember to take pictures. It’s not a strong point.
While I was making waffles I was thinking about superheroes. That as adults we can get a bit addicted to superhero complex and start being complacent in our life, waiting, searching, looking for someone else to save us. A new Neurosurgeon with an answer. A test result in black and white to give us the answer to aches and pains. A lottery ticket in an old forgotten purse that is the winning jackpot. Someone, somewhere, save me. We all have our trials, our pain, our desperate moments. I have found myself lately praying for … someone… something … to just ease the pain. To just make it all better. I doubt I’m completely alone.
And it struck me, I’m wasting all this time praying and asking for the wrong thing. To the wrong person.
When I was young, I was so successful. I had no college degree. I was a young twenty-something, climbing the corporate ladder. and I never once prayed for “someone” to help me. I knew with every cell in my body that I could do it. That I could make magic. That I could change the world. Despite that EVERY single PERSON told me it was impossible without a degree. It wasn’t. I was Unstoppable. I can’t tell you exactly when I was too exhausted to believe in myself anymore with such fervor and passion.
So, from now on – deep breath – I pray to the Divine, God, ArchAngels, and the Ascended Masters when I need help or love or direction. I trust myself to receive the messages and take the steps. I have faith that I can do it, I will have all the help I need, and I will STOP second guessing these precious messages when they come.
We are going to be our own Super Heroes around here. I daresay that the absence of desperation, hopelessness, and sorrow (which isn’t abundant, but it does sneak through a crack on occasion) will start to create a magical space. And the best part is, it doesn’t matter I I’m right or I’m wrong. Love, Hope, and Faith are always a good option.
Create your Sunshine Life. Be your own Super Hero. If only for today. Look to no one else to create your magic for you. Believe in your divine ability to move mountains and change the world. ~what could it possibly hurt?
One year ago today, I was in a car accident. For the last 365 days my husband has tirelessly supported us in so many ways.
He has physically held me up during the never ending dizzy spells, held my hand during a hundred appointments, and paced waiting rooms during a dozen procedures. He managed all of the little yellow bottles (and their side effects) and been my memory, my balance, my reminder of hope.
He has played several thousand games of “I Spy” and “who am I” with our kids, learned to cook gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, preservative free, and managed balancing all of the nutritional needs of our household. At the end of a long day, he summons the energy for a walk to the park and adventure hike with the kids. For a solid year he has done all of the laundry, cleaned the house, paid the bills, mopped the floors, bought the groceries, while I laid in bed unable to help in any manner.
He does this while working a full time job, and spending many, many nights awake supporting our insomniac and nightmare ridden children.
Even as we think that my body is healing, I’m hit with sudden and overwhelming recurrence of symptoms which makes me bitter and angry and frustrated. But somehow deep down this amazing man finds patience and grace, even knowing this triples his workload, he has never resented it.
Confession – I’m not always all bright and shiny. SHOCKER I know. I try to only post positive, but there is a reality that exists. You know, real life?
I love Brene Brown. Do you know Brene Brown? The Queen of Vulnerability. She does this amazing TED talk on the Power of Vulnerability… have you seen it? Oh you must. Here’s a treat:
So AnyWay… yesterday was one of those no good, very bad, terrible kind of days. I’ve been waiting for 3 weeks for an appointment with a new Functional Medicine doc to discuss my ongoing health issues. The list is long, and this guy is good, and honestly I just need someone to HELP me. I did it, I broke down and reached out for help. And I documented all of my symptoms in my handy dandy journal. I was patient. ME, patient! And I showed up 15 minutes early with my notebook and my water bottle and I was PREpared.
The poor guy never knew what hit him. In his defense, it was 8:45 am. I’m sure 90% of his week consists of sore throats and hormone related questions (he specializes in hormone therapy) what he didn’t expect was some all natural chick showing up, smelling like Frankincense with a notebook filled with rather scary neurological symptoms! I didn’t know how much time I had, so I just sat down, shook his hand and opened my book and started listing them off. Followed by what is helped with daily turmeric, what is affected by standing up, what my scans show… He looked PETRIFIED. As he physically started to lean away he gently told me that he doesn’t think there’s much he can do. There is so much damage… this is beyond his expertise. He can recommend and refer other practitioners… but I shouldn’t hold my breath.
Well Great. Just great. Here I go placing all my hope in some strangers hands and he just dropped it like the giant mess that it was. So I cried. And Cried. And Cried. Then I heaped on some self pity and thought about how terrible it all is. And my kids have the never ending tummy aches, and we’re always a little hungry because… THATS WHY PEOPLE EAT CARBS AND GRAINS! They fill you up. Makes me want to kick Monsanto. If they just left the food alone it wouldn’t destroy us so… Ok. You get it. I was in a ripe mood.
And then a girlfriend messaged me and asked how I was doing. And I let rip… nothing is good, everything is bad. She asked me to tell her 3 things I was grateful for. No judgement. No garbage. Just clean. What are you grateful for? And it spun me around.
I sat down to read my son a comic book (which I detest, they are so challenging to read…) and the inside back cover of the comic book had a photo of a child in a super hero costume and a caption. I read the caption and it was from a mother of a 9 year old boy. The child was born with Down’s Syndrome and at age 2 was diagnosed with Autism as well. At 9 the boy is non-verbal but loves when she reads him comic strips so she sent a photo in, requesting they print it on the back page.
REALITY LIGHTENING BOLT. Or as the famous and lovely Glennon Doyle (Momastery) calls it, Perspectacles. Really, am I daring to feel self pity when this beautiful, strong, courageous woman is out there living her beautiful messy life? Now every time I feel frustration that picture comes up in my head and I think of his mom, and I send her a prayer.
OK. Time for Metta. I know it’s a long post… but I gotta tell you about Metta before I log off. Tosha Silver turned me onto it in her amazing book Outrageous Openness. For the sake of brevity – it’s the practice of sending love and prayer to others. So I found the prayer and posted it near my desk. And now every day I sit in quietness, breathe, and say the Metta prayer for everyone I feel that needs it. One at a time. My husband, my children, my parents, the lady who checked me out at the grocery store, some angry person that cut me off, the woman with the super hero non-verbal child. I say Metta over and over and over. And I imagine that it’s a rainbow of peace and love that it some small way may brighten their day.
And then, I feel peace.
Create your sunshine life with a touch of vulnerability, perspective, and Metta.
Today, has been a particularly hard day. I don’t think we’ve had more than 4 hours of sleep a night since the Super Moon started messing with us. Our kids are so sensitive to the moon. Any big moon is sure to send us out of control for a day or two, but this one really left it’s mark! And to add insult to injury, my son was up vomiting all night, so we really, REALLY have not had sleep in days. I still cannot sit up or stand for more than about 3 hours without pain, and sometimes, I feel like there is just not a single drop left in my tank. I wonder how I can possible take any more?
(I felt like kicking this guy in the teeth because
whoever said this never had a spinal fluid leak or a modified diet
or hypersensitive kiddos… I digress…)
I ran to Costco this afternoon, and when I got home I reached under the sink to grab something and saw a brown bottle of hydrogen peroxide. Amazing how the smallest signals can send you into a memory, isn’t it? Peroxide made me think of my home, and growing up, and the magic brown bottle bubbling on a recently grazed and bloodied knee. And I smiled at my life.
I felt overwhelming and intense gratitude that I’m a mom with hydrogen peroxide under my sink. That I was cleaning out my fridge so I could place a big fresh shopping trip filled with meats and vegetables. I was grateful to be able to stand up long enough to do it myself. I think it’s the first time in a year I’ve been able to stand long enough to shop and put my own groceries away. Actually, I know it is.
For a moment I was washed over with gratitude for my life, exactly as it is. Pain, mess, sleepless nights. I felt glad it’s exactly as it is, to be dancing in my kitchen alone while my wonderful husband has the kids out for a bike ride before bedtime. I stopped wishing and wanting and pining for the life that I used to have, or I used to think I had, or I used to think I wanted… and I just fell head over heels in love with exactly where we are right now.
I felt like my chest would split open with joy. And of course, when they came home there were the tears and drama of bike crashes and brushing teeth, but I took it in stride. This is my life, every dirty little corner, and I do kind of love it. Exactly as we are.
Of course, I keep my gratitude/manifesting journal close and have plenty of conversations with the Universe about the humble changes (sleep, standing, eating a variety of food mostly) I’d love to see in the near future. But for now, in the midst of chaos, I love it here.
You know the saying “when god closes one door…he opens another”. I’d be happy if we could just leave one closed for awhile and take a breather. I feel like I’m in back to back marathons. I haven’t even been able to sort out top from bottom in order to post… so here goes.
My beloved gallery has sold to wonderful to new owners. It’s been a gradual process of letting go and sending love. I spent 7 years growing, planning, loving that little art gallery it seems like it’s embedded in my DNA. Letting go. It’s an art. Finding out your life plan isn’t unraveling in the way you thought it would is a bit of an adjustment. I say a daily prayer for it as part of my mindfulness exercises. I think it helps.
My neurosurgeon has cleared me for awhile anyway. No more surgeries, the leak is most likely sealed and I’m in high pressure rebound. That’s the good news. The bad news is that I’m still in a lot of pain and strange and mysterious symptoms, so it’s time to (open another door) find a D.O. – here I’d be happier to just CLOSE THE DOOR on the whole situation and have a miraculous healing miracle rather than starting fresh with a new specialty … yet here we are – . Apparently the time isn’t quite right for healing, and I need more practice in surrendering to the greater plan.(surrender is not exactly my strong point).
On a positive note… Unschooling is going beautifully. It seems as though we have all settled into a more relaxed pace. We are working together, listening to each other, and finding more time for peace and laughter in our day. What a blessing. I’m grateful each day. I think a major part of it is not having the morning school battle (with sensory issues – getting up early, putting on clothes, eating food in a hurry just causes more pain that it could ever be worth – then doing it all again at bedtime meant we spent hours each day in battles over hurrying to complete sensory activities). The kids are eager for learning time and reading books. For me, it feels like a daily victory. Complete and utter gratitude. I feel like the Divine really has my back on this one, and I’m reassured it’s the best direction for us, at least right now.
And then we come to methylation. Attention: for those mom’s of challenged, special, high needs kiddos THIS IS FOR YOU! We had a genetic test done from 23andMe.com several months ago but never really finished the analysis. After some recent flare ups for both kiddos it caused me to dig into the wild and overwhelming world of methylation and detox genetic pathways.
Let me give you a little visual example of my light reading: Now DON’T Freak out. 🙂 (learn more about methylation here)
I have to read it several times to fully assimilate all of the information (strange I know) It’s a lot. it’s a whole new vocabulary. But you know what else it is? Ladies and gentlemen, this is HOPE wrapped up in a confusing little package. This is healing. This is what it looks like for the mothers that have healed their children from ADD, Autism, and host of other nasty little words. And you may have heard that these are “incurable ” conditions. But I don’t buy it. If there are mothers out there who’s non-verbal children start to speak (after only two months of protocol), and there are people that spontaneously heal from terminal cancer – then I tell you what, it CAN be done. There is an answer for all of us. It’s just how deep down the rabbit hole we are willing to dig.
As I’ve always been described as… tenacious.. I’d go to the core of the earth, digging with only my fingernails to find a healing solution. Hmm, maybe I need to pray about that more, release and trust and let that go.
Is anyone out there here with me? I’m reading books and studies and starting to grasp, but I’d really love to geek out about it with someone else… We are on a modified version of the FODMAP protocol (we can’t have nightshades or dairy, in addition to the rest of the program) currently, and it has helped some, but we can’t eat ANYTHING so the kids have actually requested the GAPS diet in an effort to regain some of our diet. Do you know about the GAPS diet?? Can you imagine a child requesting nothing but chicken broth and chicken soup round the clock?
How their little tummies hurt daily. It’s enough to drive a momma completely insane. And with that, the door to the full GAPS protocol has been cracked. Do I have it in me to step through the door into the next adventure?
Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.
Create your sunshine Life, just keep stepping through those doors as they open and surrender to the Divine plan, regardless if the road doesn’t take you where you thought you were headed. Maybe the destination is worth the trip.
After much debate, prayer, tears, anxiety, and hope… I have decided to … HOMESCHOOL.
I totally know. Only crazy people with TONS of energy and a the patience of a real life saint choose to homeschool. I’m mediocre in the patience department not to mention I currently lack full physical and mental capabilities. So why, oh why, would I choose to do that… NOW of all times?
A combination of reasons really, but probably not what you’d think. We had to let go of Montessori, basically as we just can’t afford private school while I’m not working, and to be quite honest it didn’t really work for my son although it was a blessing for our daughter. Anyway, I was resigned to public school. I researched our local school (which ranks really well in test scores – by the way). Again and again we were told that this is a really good school, we’ll be happy here.
So we went to the “new family intro night”. It was held in the school cafeteria, kind of what you’d expect, fold out picnic tables, commercial grade tile, principal and top staffers there to talk and meet the families. A couple of things struck me.
#1. This was really, painfully boring. The lackluster powerpoint presentation, and monotone speeches made ME feel restless and it had only been 40 minutes.
#2 – there was no natural light. Where were the windows? And when will it be over?
#3 School starts at 7:30am. WHA?
#4 The principal asked the kinds if they like Whattaburger and Chic-Fil-A? They screamed yes (except for my kids which looked at me with total confusion) He proceeded to tell us that we’d LOVE the school lunch program! (folks you couldn’t make this stuff up…)
#5 They had asked us to bring the children to orientation but only two coloring sheets and about 4 crayons per table suggested perhaps these people were not familiar with entertaining children for an hour? The kids in the audience began to get louder and louder and energy levels started to peak. A glance around the room showed children were starting to vibrate.
Finally, blissfully, it was over and time for the tour of the school. The kids were beyond excited to see a new school and their very own classrooms. Montessori only had 4 rooms in the whole school and this was a complete K – 6 school ! As we began to walk the halls I felt a tightening in the back of my jaw and throat. Like the one you get when you walk by the stack of tires at Costco… chemicals. Oh well, it will be ok. Then we enter the Kindergarten room and my heart fell. Where were the bright colors? The happy room? WHERE OH WHERE was the natural light? A room for 20 kindergartners yet it was filled with a half dozen computer monitors and dark chairs on dark carpet (yes carpet), and dark lockers in the corner. The fluorescent lights flickered above. There was no joy in this room. No light. No plants. No color. How could I get excited about this? How could I ask my 5 year old to spend 7 hours a day in this tiny dark room?
Exploring my daughters 2nd Grade class showed no improvement. Each class was carpeted and had only one tiny window. Everything in the class was dark – navy or black. Why do the fluorescent lights flicker so? I mean – have you people see One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest? I mean, seriously. Have you?
By the time we got to the gym (also carpeted , also without windows) and the playground (wood chips in a parking lot- no grass or dirt) I started to realize this wouldn’t work for us. It isn’t about religion, or test scores, or socialization. It’s about Environment. Do you know how depressed I felt after 2 hours? I don’t care if you taught my kid to be a quantum physicist (which is really quite cool) I wouldn’t ask anyone I know to spend 7 hours a day without color or sunlight. Not to mention starting lecture at 7:30am in a small dark room. My gosh, if that were my job I’d be miserable. And grumpy. And my kids are EXTREMELY sensitive to environment, electronics, chemicals, sunlight.
So now what? Um. I’m learning. I’m reading books and blogs on Montessori at home, Unschooling, and child led learning. I’m also working on structure, plans, and strategy. I’m overwhelmed but powering forward. (by the way, I do know proper English writing style but I prefer blogging as I speak so please refrain from any grammar lessons – I’m too fragile to take it with grace!)
There are many, many public teachers in my family and my life. One of my best friends is an amazing teacher at a public school. I have the utmost respect for these people and I don’t judge the system or kids in the system. I just don’t feel like it’s the best solution for us. But will I be good enough? Will I do good enough? Oh, the doubt that bubbles to the surface. In fact, I haven’t even told most of the people I know because I worry.. they’ll judge me. I worry they’ll ask a question that I can’t answer.
But really, my kids are 5 and 7. And I’m pretty smart. And I know what they need, what they are interested in, and how to keep them engaged. I know I’m doing the right thing. I do. I just caught myself worrying what “everyone” will think.
And then an angel came to my door today. Dressed as the Time Warner repair guy. Our internet has been blinking in and out for weeks so they finally sent the big guy to check out the source. He showed up while we were working on making cards at the kitchen table, and eating lunch. My house was not clean. There were flip flops flung and legos on nearly every surface. The pillows of the couch constructed into a fort for Transformers and Legos to fight off the intrusion of teddy bears. My skin glowed warm with embarrassment as I led this stranger into our home. The shame only grew stronger as we walked outside into the yard and found random undies that had been discarded in a flower bush after a sprinkler session one hot afternoon and I could see that the leaves must be raked and the grass around the edges had grown long.
We went back into the house and the kids were wild and excited to show off for a stranger. Jumping on couches and distracted from the project. I kept trying to redirect them, break up the fist fights before blood was drawn, put back on task of addressing an envelope, reminding them to clean up their mess. Between my shame of a messy house and my exhaustion trying to keep the kids on point and have a meaningful conversation with a stranger (not to mention I realized I hadn’t laid down in a couple of hours and my head was starting to spin) I was kind of a wreck.
Finally, the blessed internet was fixed and I could go back to homeschool focus. I had broken out in a sweat and stood defeated in my messy living room as the Time Warner man shook my hand and told me to have a nice week. As he walked out the door he turned out, looked me the in the eye and said “I really appreciate the way you are raising your children. I see a lot of people with their kids, friends, family, and work and you’re doing an amazing job.” Of COURSE, me being me, my eyes welled with tears. I stood 5 feet from this stranger who had just spent the last hour witnessing my messy house and wild kids and he left me with a compliment.
His words ring over and over in my mind. I’m doing an amazing job. Amazing? Really?
Well thank you Universe. I needed that today. I really, really, really needed that.
Create your Sunshine Life – follow your intuition when it tells you to compliment someone. Don’t hold back. Give the love. You have no idea what it could do to someone’s day… or week… or life.