Monday, July 18, 2011

The view from the patio

coffee and a view
My two biggest fears are that I'll be perceived as a narcissist for seeming to record every fart and belly scratch on a blog and that my children's years with us will slip through my hands undocumented. I seem to be at war with myself. You don't want to be in my head. It's a jungle up there.

I keep this blog as a record of their childhood, my perceptions and feelings about it, our daily lives and what we value. Because in the end, I want our children to know that our family is a place where they are always accepted and loved, as trite as that sounds (another fear of mine), and thereby a soft place to land when the world is rough. I want them to learn what we value and confidently take that into the world with them. We feel that only by being their sole home base in the early years will they learn to be confident in the world. Confidence starts at home. Not in a classroom. Not in a group setting. Not in being properly socialized. In fact, I saw my son's confidence erode when he was in a group setting. He's become so much more confident over the past few months, even in social situations.

One of my other challenges is not to be reactive in how I raise my children. I have lots of opinions about the status quo. I don't believe, for instance, that preschool is necessary. Or even traditional schooling institutions, for that matter. I want to be sure however, that I'm doing what's right for them based on, well, them and not what I don't like in the predominant system of education in this country. I don't want blinders on, but I do. I need to shut the world out to focus on them and what they need. But I also need to take the blinders off to ensure that I see what in this world will benefit them best. I am at war with myself, again. The jungle is quite thick up there.

One of the reasons I write is because I think. A lot. It's actually one of the things I can do that the kids can't touch, disturb (except on those days when I can't really hear myself think), lose, flush down the toilet or otherwise destroy. They can steal my breakfast, but they can't take my mind.

the putting green
I'm not even sure why I chose to start writing this morning. Maybe it's because I'm alone with my laptop and my thoughts on a beautiful patio that my husband built over the weekend. The view is stunning from here. My husband's putting green (yes, he built himself a putting green) and flowers and herbs and my vegetable garden. All my husband's vision. All of it embodies what we value. Hard work, vision, slow and steady progress, doing for ourselves. The restructuring of the side yard was several years in the making. Click here for more photos.

Instead of hiring someone or renting a stump grinder to remove an enormous stump in the way of the new patio, my husband chopped away at it with an axe for a whole year.

Instead of bringing in extra dirt to fill in the raised beds for the vegetable garden, we shoveled in the rich dirt from the previous garden.

Instead of bringing in extra dirt to fill up the holes between the beds, we used the dirt removed from the patio area.

In fact, instead of hiring someone to do it for us, he did it himself and it took over a year to clear and level the area. He did it after a full day's work and on weekends and while doing all that being a father and husband entails.

And, of course, as I wrote those last few lines, I worried that you would think I'm bragging. The jungle is extra thick today. I don't want to brag. I just want to tell you how wonderful my husband is and how much I appreciate the way he thinks. He's the kind of man I want our children to be like.

1 comment:

Stacy said...

"They can steal my breakfast, but they can't take my mind."

Aaaaaaaamen, sister. On the bad days, that's the only thing that keeps me from throwing myself out the window.