It’s August and I haven’t written in three weeks. Whoops.
We had a family reunion in Vermont, and it seems that I never got back into the groove of writing after a week away. Perhaps I’ve been in a bit of a post-vacation funk.
There’s been a lot on our plates– Life decisions to be made, a homeschool year to organize, sibling arguments to mitigate, budgets to balance, lurking unfulfilled ambitions, and the feeling that we’ll never get it all together. To be totally honest, keeping up with the homesteady stuff on top of it all has just felt like one more big chore to complete.
I drag my feet out to the rabbits and chickens every morning, baby in the Boba backpack and shrilly screaming children misbehaving every 56 seconds, or so it seems. The grass is wet and I can’t drag the rabbit tractor without slipping around. I inadvertently step in poop. I open the chicken coop and accidentally let a rooster escape. My son grabs the hose from my hands while I’m filling the waterers so he can make a rainbow. It takes me 30 minutes to do 10 minutes worth of chores.
(A girl and her goat.)
And whatever the heck I’m trying to do, I’m often doing it wrong. I planted lots of stuff in the wrong places this year. I under-cooked our home processed rooster, and over-cooked the store bought chicken. I forgot about the extra rhubarb stocks in the back of the fridge where they lay in wait until they were moldy. I’ve broken 2 dishes in 36 hours. I’m spending WAY more money at the grocery store than I used to and all my self-reliant bragging is coming back to haunt me.
This isn’t always easy. Or fun.
But no one necessarily said it would be.
Today, I’m reminding myself of lots of blessings so I won’t be so tempted to complain.
This land, these animals, the plants from the earth are truly a provision for our family. There’s been more than once I have literally thanked God for having food in our backyard because we couldn’t afford to buy much. And though I’m not always super-efficient, raising our own food is usually a significant savings compared to the grocery store.
The hard work is good for us. It builds character. It reminds us that we’re not always in control of everything. It makes us persevere when I would really rather just sit back and order Chinese every night.
And best of all, I’ve got a loving family to do it with. Even though the kids can be a challenge, they are also an absolute joy. Really, trying to homestead without them would be positively boring. I can only hope that these early years will teach them much about caring for the world around them and being thankful for what they have. I desire that they look back on these memories with fondness.
And then there’s my husband– gardener, farmer, builder, musician, repairman, innovator, motivator, lover, father, friend. He runs the grand majority of this operation, and I am so incredibly thankful for him.
Though it may not always be a barrel of laughs, I wouldn’t trade this life for anything. <3
My little guy is turning four this fall.
Aside making me hold my breath and realize that time is moving too quickly and that he’ll be going to college in approximately
3 months I mean a few years-I mean- oh wait, phew! Not quite yet!- It’s also making me realize that “official” homeschooling is right around the corner. I’ve been trying to line up my ducks and figure out exactly what I need to do to make sure he’s prepared for the next stages of his young life.
I’ve been reviewing our curriculum from last year and searching new curriculum for this year. I’ve been debating about unschooling vs. traditional schooling vs. classical schooling vs. some hybrid of all of the above. What does he really need to know as a four year old?
He maybe should know his beginning letter sounds, how to count to twenty, how to trace some letters. He should know his colors and shapes well. He should definitely know that buses go beep beep and vroom vroom, that horses say neigh and that the chipmunk’s habitat is a burrow, so it doesn’t belong in our kitchen whenever possible.
I think it would also be a bonus if he could learn some life skills- cracking eggs, vacuuming the floors, picking up after himself. Going potty on his own. Putting on his jacket. Taking off his shoes. Watering the garden. Just a few small essential things, really.
Maybe he should be free to try writing sometimes without me hanging over him. Maybe he should make art. Maybe I should let him create what he thinks is beautiful without me dictating it. That it’s good to be silly sometimes. That he should play. Maybe he should feel free to get messy and have fun cleaning up too.
Perhaps he should know that going outside offers a whole world of exploration. That the tree frogs chirp loudly in August. That geese honk overhead in fall and spring. That you shouldn’t look directly at the sun. That honeybees sting and produce a sweet nectar. That a lot of food comes from plants. That dirt is part of summer’s charm, that scraped knees are okay and will heal, that rain helps flowers grow.
He should know that it is good to think of others more than yourself. That you should be genuinely kind to your neighbor. That you should help a friend however you are able. That you should say I’m sorry when you wrong someone, and try to make it right again. He should know that I mess up sometimes too. He should know that I am sorry too.
He should learn about compassion. About making peace. About redemption.
He should know that I want to help him to grow, learn, and mature. That I want the best for him. That I’ll support him in whatever he pursues. He should feel secure to try new things, knowing that it’s okay if he doesn’t succeed right away. He should know that I’ll do whatever he needs to help him succeed eventually. He should know that he is safe with us.
He should know that he is a bright and shining light in my life that I wouldn’t trade for anything. That his smile is the best gift. That his sweet hugs melt my heart. That even when I get frustrated, it’s never to the point of no return. That nothing he does will ever make me love him less or stop enjoying him.
He should know that I love him and his sister and his Dada with a fierce and unquenchable love, more than the whole wide world, always and forever.