Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Year I Got My Daughters Back

friendship bracelets

I am convinced that God has given me this year for a higher purpose.  It seems less and less likely that the purpose is to education my daughters and more and more likely that the purpose is to repair the relationship between my daughters.  
I never realized my daughters were lost to me.  How could I have been so blind?  My theory is that for so many years they left my care at 8:30 in the morning, went to two different rooms, with two different adults to guide them through their day, with different sets of friends and different rules and procedures.  They came back together at 3:15 when the school day ended full of stories about their day spent apart.  We would walk home, usually with their friends and went straight to homework, lessons or appointments.  Dinner was the first time since breakfast, 10 hours ago, that we were together.  After dinner came showers, some tv time and bedtime.  In a 24 hour day we spent perhaps 5 hours together.  
No wonder now that they are sleeping in the same room, sharing a common group of homeschooling friends, sharing in some activities, sharing in helping out around the house, sharing lessons, travel time and meals together, they do not know how to relate to each other.  Grace, being the oldest has always set the tone of what she wants to do, when she wants to do it.  But since she came home to a home learning environment already established by Lilah, the result is friction.  
Today Grace and I had a wonderful talk.  She had a lighbulb moment.  Something happened outside while she was playing with her neighborhood friends.  She was told what to do.  She was not asked for input.  She felt quite put out.  When she told me how much it bothered her, she looked at me in awe.  “Mom, that must be how Lilah feels when she says I boss her around!”   Tears immediately welled up in her eyes.  A moment of empathy.  A moment of clarity.  Hopefully a moment of true change.  
I went to Lilah, who was taking a self-impossed break by hanging out in the shower stall, and relayed this to her.  She is not sure her sisters words can be trusted.  For some reason, I really feel like Grace grew up a bit this afternoon and I think what happened with her friend could be the catalyst for real change.  I know Lilah does not have any real reason to believe this but I hope that through the power of gentle reminders, open lines of communication and unconditional love, both girls will come together.
Right now I know their lessons are important.  I know they will grow in mathematics, language arts and sciences.  Right now we are taking more of an unschooling approach which is a far cry from the Classical Method I thought I would be using back in January.  However, I am learning that to help my children grow, I have to be flexible and change along with them.  They need the ability to do their lessons when they feel they have the most energy to give to them.  When we need to talk something out, we need to stop, and talk it out.  When words are spoken that are lacking in kindness and respect, I need to model how to speak with kindness and respect.  
It seems very apparent that this year is not really about the “homeschooling”.  It is about teaching my girls to become friends again, like they were years ago when I would brag that my two daughters, just 23 months apart were the bestest of friends.  It is about repairing hurts that have built up over the years of living two very seperate lives.  It is about love and understanding, growth and nurturing.  It is about sisterhood and parenthood. 
This is our life.  The four of us, under one roof, living, laughing, loving, fighting, making up, making choices, making mistakes, learning from them.  All the while, learning.


  1. I love this sweet post. I so needed to be reminded of this today.

  2. Very nice. The year is just getting started and already you are all making such great strides!

  3. I have read about how you are trying to work through many struggles, I hope that this is a lasting breakthrough. It truly sounds hopeful.

  4. Wonderful post! My daughters have a larger age gap between them, but I've noticed their relationship changing as well. More importantly, I'm repairing the broken bonds between me and my oldest after years of us living separate lives. We have frustrating days, but it's definitely a welcome change.

    Thank you for sharing!

  5. Beautiful. It sounds like you have made amazing progress already. You know, until you pointed it out to me, I didn't realize how little time most siblings actually spend together. It is sad that we spend more time with co-workers and classmates than our family. That is MOST people. We are so blessed to be able to Home educate.

  6. Jess, I think the most important thing is that you have allowed yourself the flexibility to focus on what is really important. Way to go!

  7. :>)
    You'll get to the destination, but it's the journey along the way is what matters most.
    At least that is what I tell myself...

  8. What a sweet post and the picture on the front is so beautiful. As a mother of 4 daughters I truly enjoyed reading this post.

  9. Thank you for all your support! We are consciously working towards helping the girls adjust. These have not been easy days and my goal is to have both children be successful at home. Hopefully some new parameters we have set up in the house will help them honor each other!

  10. This made me smile... for a couple of reasons.
    One was that it reminded me to Love, Love, Love...
    and Two; I think that so much tuning in (introspection and questioning) can only turn outward as well, so that it (the way you're living) shall look much like Learning and Becoming.

    Unschooling is tough, in that the signs that we (Mamas) are doing well aren't always easily seen, and dropping everything to embrace something else is a HUGE part of it (whether that be deschooling or letting go of attachments to our agendas)... but the good news is that being fully committed to living and growing in Joy means that there is much Joy. :)

    I appreciate the reminder to Love first!


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