SCHOOL.A.TEST

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For weeks I was sitting at night in front of that BLANK WHITE PAGE. Writing has always been my outlet, my tool for reflection. Bringing my chaotic life experience into a story my mind can make sense of was always my way home.

Too tired, too busy, too distracted, too insecure to start to write my way home on that blank white page, filling the canvas with vision, hopes, dreams and inquiry.

Exactly a year ago I stumbled upon a post on huffpost about three questions the Conley family answers at the dinner table each night and it goes like this:

“For the first time both of my daughters are in school, each in different grades and different schools. It's been interesting to see our family of four pulled in four different directions during the daylight hours. While I am grateful for the new ideas and people my children are being exposed to, I am concerned about losing touch with them as they journey away from me. I guess this just sounds so motherly of me, but I'll write it anyways -- I needed to find a way to strengthen our family bond even as our horizons broaden beyond the landscape seen from our front stoop…”

I remember when reading this post my first reaction was to postpone the “being pulled in different directions” in my family as long as possible. In the circles in which I was hanging out in this was the way to go anyway: Postpone the growing up process of children as long as possible, school being seen as the number one factor of many negative developments in a child’s evolution.

I wrote a post on school inquiring into many subjects back then. The vagabond heart beating fast and furious, the wings of the heart expanding, ready to take off and find MY PLACE FOR MY FAMILY as I was always dreaming to live by the sea in an extraordinary place living this extraordinary life of laughter, fun dance and exploration I was used to.

Let me use those 3 questions the Conley family asks each night in this blog post to reconsider school and life:


How were you brave (today)?
I was brave to take a chance and get everything organised for the Weis family to take off and travel for one more year even though Lea was due to go to school. I was brave to confront all parties involved. The school gave their ok, we found a subtenant for our apartment, we lined out a rough route filled with excitement, friends and loads of free time and free choice to find out our next step.

How were you kind (today)?
I was kind to myself. With a healthy dose of egoism I meant to fill up my adventurous self with experiences, sunsets, kirtan nights, walks at the beach, exploration of different school types and projects, precious moments of togetherness with friends and trainings I was longing to do since I was pregnant with Finnja. I was kind to hold my mother’s promise to show my children the greatness and vastness of this gorgeous planet and expose them to a free and open way of life. I was kind to hold space for meaningful togetherness with my family.

How did you fail (today)?
I completely missed. I missed what is important and right for Lea. I read the signs wrong. My plans did not work out. I had to make a decision on that whole school reality in spring. I had no clue what growth spurt and intellectual evolution my daughter would undergo in 5 months. I completely underestimated how many genes would get switched on and how
much curious consciousness would arise in her.

Progressively Lea got more and more upset, irritable, generally imbalanced and unapproachable for me, she’d barely talk to me and if so in a tone that was at the edge of what I can bear as a mother. There were only triggers left and I had a child in front of me that felt so far out of reach that it hurt my heart.

And the disenchantment set off:
I thought I’d give this time to her as a gift. I wanted to give her the colours and the taste of world straight into her experience. But that chapter was simply over for her. She was ready for HER NEW CHAPTER. She didn’t sit me down to say: “Ok mum, stop. I want to go to school.” It was just obvious in her every behaviour that something is significantly off and we need a change. So we went through the options again:
* Homeschooling:
I realised very early in her life that homeschooling is not an option for us. It doesn’t work for our individual mother-daughter-connection.
* Take off and go to Portugal:
I had sought out a school in Portugal (the story forest) which I wanted to get to know as I heard amazing things and I was still dreaming about leaving at the sea. But I was just not brave enough to leave my whole family support network, clients and friends.
* Take her to the Montessori school across our old apartment. But they were full.
* Just stick to the plan of traveling and trust that she’ll find her way and cooperate. But that didn’t feel right

And suddenly it was now!

I wanted to be prepared for this so badly. I wanted to celebrate her first day of school. I wanted to have her own very unique school bag ready, I wanted it to be a ceremony and most of all: I wanted to be one with the situation and fully convinced that the school we’ve chosen is the right one, on line with the concept, in line with our life plans.I wanted to be settled in a home which is our cozy place were we get together, I wanted my carrier to be adapted to the significant changes a “stable in one place” lifestyle would bring.
I so love to be organised and have things fall into place.

And suddenly it was now!

And I was non of it. I wasn’t convinced, I wasn’t prepared, I have not found our home, my carrier is still tuned to the “go and travel the world” lifestyle, the general puzzle pieces of my life are still a great big pile of creative chaos, we didn’t have a celebration, I couldn’t make it a ceremony.

And suddenly it was now!

6:15am alarm goes on. The whole family with sleepy eyes, slow breakfast, choosing an outfit. My little one being bright spirited as always uplifting the scenery with lightness and humour. My husband being the time keeper making sure we leave the house timely to be punctual in school.

7:15am we’re out the house, in the car, driving to Neustadt. Waldorf school it is. This is were we registered. This is were our heart said yes when we visited, this is were our head said no because it couldn’t imagine logistics of commuting.
11:45am school’s out.

Lea’s eyes are sparkling with joy. She likes school. That’s what she needed. She needed a frame. A commitment, a non-negotiable set of rules. A routine in the morning, a responsibility, a challenge, a duty. She wanted to be part of something bigger. Not MY bigger, HER bigger.

I was scared. I was scared of how school would take over my life. And I was right. It did take over my life.
With a child in grade one and a toddler at home MY time minimised to zero. I painfully stretch myself beyond my limit… and from there I grow. Into a completely new perspective on life.

Again.

Appreciating grandparents, extending my capacity to ask for help, experiencing the most brilliant and satisfying teamwork with my partner, lover, husband, co-parent Pascal aka rock in the shore. Conscious of how these daily challenges can easily distroy the spark of a relationship. Tuning into the aliveness and wilderness in my being to not let the school reality take over.

Lists with things to get, pencil case to sew, bags to pack, school break snack to prepare in order to be equipped for school. Laundry, groceries, child care, bed times, homework, timelines for work, promotion, teaching, new concepts, workshop preparation, administration and accounting and being visionary for the coming years.

F*** that.

I will continue to fail every day making sure one thing: to feed spirit. Because I’m here for love!


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