Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Like the Honu

We have some special places our family likes to spend time at, playing and exploring.
What makes a place special, is that, no matter where it is, or what we end up doing, everyone has fun for hours.
Waiakea Pond is definitely one of those places for us.
Sometimes we come to feed the ducks and watch the Nene Goose swim.
Other times we come to run along the shoreline, play Follow-the-Leader, and hunt for hidden bird eggs.
One Sunday afternoon, while we were traipsing over the bridges that look like rainbows, we stopped to see a great, big, sea turtle, or Honu, swimming just beneath the surface of the water. It must've come in from the ocean, to enjoy the calm of Waiakea Pond. We stopped to stare down at it, in awe, from the top of the bridge. Honu's are very sacred to the people of Hawaii and are protected by the Hawaii endangered species laws. It is illegal to hunt, harm, touch, or even come close to a Honu, hence they are protected and secure in their environment.
This particular Honu was gliding so peacefully beneath the bridge that nobody even noticed it was there. It swam right past families and children playing along the shore, and right past fisherman casting their nets into the pond. It was staring straight ahead, slowly paddling its great, big flippers through the water, unanxious by everything surrounding it. To me, this Honu looked so carefree and happy, that I found myself lost in a trance as I watched it. Time seemed to stand still for this Honu and me. I continued to stare, and stare, totally captivated, until it disappeared into the deep end of the Waiakea Pond.

Our family had a busy week ahead, as usual, but also had a trip to Kona planned for Saturday. We don't get to Kona too often, since it is 2 1/2 hours away by car, but we try to go as much as we can to visit our favorite sandy beaches and the LDS Temple. I had thought about my captivating Honu encounter throughout the week, until it, too disappeeared into the deep-end of my thoughts, as we were planning our trip to the other side.
This particular week had been really difficult for me, so I was especially looking forward to going inside the Temple. The Temple is a place where I can sit peacefully and feel close to my loving Heavenly Father. It is a place where I can pray, and meditate, and receive answers to my prayers.
Although I won't go into too much personal depth about the things I was struggling with last week, it basically came down to feeling isolated and lonely as a homeschooling Mama. As the day for public school In Hawaii was approaching, and many of our friends were sending their kids back to school, I started feeling overwhelmed with the social expectations to send our kids to school, plus consumed with thoughts about following my own dreams.
This seems silly, I know, because since when do I care about social expectations? Ha! But, we happen to live in an area where homeschooling support is hard to find, and furthermore, I can get caught up in the dramas of my own mind.

Last week I had been reading this woman's parenting blog, where there was a post about how wonderful it is to finally get her last child off to kindergarten, and finally get live her own life! She was praising all the Moms out there for putting in all that hard work of raising their young kids, and then encouraging them to start using this time now to catch up on their own goals and dreams. In a lot of ways it is wonderful advice and I couldn't agree more! There is a time to sacrifice and raise young children, and a time to spend more time on us; it isn't really possible to have it both ways! There are a lot of moms out there who look forward to this time, and I commend them for all their hard work!
However, as a homeschooling mom, it doesn't end. When everyone around you is placing their kids in school and getting on with their lives, you are still as busy as ever, still sacrificing in a lot of ways, still spending your time and energy towards raising and teaching your children at home. For me, this is what I want to do! I don't see homeschooling so much as a sacrifice, but as a chance to enjoy, and serve my children; to give them an amazing opportunity to be educated and to thrive in a loving and liberating environment. Yet, it still gets hard for me when I feel alone in these thoughts, and I admit, I need a little more mental support here!
So this past week I started to question and ask myself what I would be doing if I wasn't homeschooling our children? My mind started spinning as I got caught up in all the possibilities for my own life. Would I go back to school and finish my degree? Could I get certified as a Lactation Consultant? Could I take classes I've always wanted to, like watercolor painting, ukulele, or computer logistics? Would I have more time to surf, more time for Zumba, more time for running, and writing on my blog? Would my house be cleaner, and more organized? Would I have more time for friends? Could I get a part-time job and earn extra income for my family?

Yes, is the answer.
If I sent my kids to school, I could do many of these things, and more, and pursue the dreams I have for myself.

As I sat in the Temple, sadly pondering these things in my heart, I thought of that Honu swimming beneath the bridge. It's life seemed so simple, so carefree and happy. It knew exactly what it needed, and lived in the safety and peace of it's own thoughts and dreams. I felt a sudden twinge of jealousy for that Honu; that perhaps he had the better end of the deal, being an endangered species, rather than a confused, human Mom.
I sat there thinking some more, but began feeling more and more upset, until I was in tears. I prayed to God that I could receive the answers I needed today, that I could feel at peace like the Honu. "Whatever I do, please let it flow naturally,"I asked,"Please let it be exactly what I need to feel happy, that I can glide through life in peace and joy."

Pretty soon I was descending the steps of the Temple to meet my husband and children who had been waiting for me outside. I looked down to see my three kids standing there on the grass, running towards me shouting excitedly,"Mom, mom, mom!" Each one of them ran up to meet me, with a great, big hug, and a radiant smile, so happy to see their mommy who was away for a short time! Time seemed to stand still for a moment as I soaked in my children's angelic, little faces.
That view before me was something I will never forget and will be forever stamped into the forefront of my mind. I knew right away when I saw them, that the answer was right in front of me, that my dream right now is to be a homeschooling Mom. My heart confirmed it.
"No", I thought,"I don't want to do anything else right now but be with our 3 young children, spending my time, my energy, my talents, and all the love I have in the world on them." I had never seen this so clearly as I did at that moment, and knew that If I put my whole heart into it, it would prove to bring me the most joy in life.

My heart felt at peace the whole rest of the day. I felt like I was gliding peacefully, and flowing naturally with the plan God has for me. I could feel myself swimming into a calm place again, safe and secure, full of carefree happiness and joy. I could feel my loving Heavenly Father telling me I was still on the right path; that no matter what happens around me, homeschooling our children is right for me.
I felt just like the Honu under the bridge, yet here in the protected and sacred environment of our family's home.


Da Denninghoff's said...

I admire your pure heart. One day your children will grow up and understand all the little sacrifices that you did for them. They will continue to feel your love throughout their life. Currently I home school the girls and it's tough work. We have a lot of fun and they learn a lot, but it's hard work. I'm not going to lie I'm one of those mom's who get anxious for their kids to go to school, however I do recognize the sacrifices, joy's and hard work homeschool mom's do. I'm proud of you Sally. You are very inspiring! There is no greater feeling than to know that you are doing things that are pleasing to the Lord. That you are where you need to be. Thank you for sharing your inner thoughts:)

Cassie said...

Sally, I loved your post. Homeschooling is not easy, that is for sure. We don't get to blame anyone else if our kids turn 18 and can't spell or whatever...we can't blame the teacher for anything,because it is all on us. I have days or weeks like you described. I think it is quite normal to feel overwhelmed about such a big task. But truly the joy that comes from homeschooling is totally worth it. I am having my 4th boy in a few weeks (with Lily, I love her as a midwife) and a book
that has really helped me is Managers of our Homes by Steve and Teri Maxwell. It is a life saver to me. I can't believe how much more we get done with a schedule ( and I still try hard to have a relaxed homeschool approach). And then I don't have to feel guilty about maybe not having one on one with this child or neglecting house work or whatever.
I know Heavenly Father will provide a way for you to do such a knoble thing. He will always come through when we do his will. Pray for to find some homeschooling support and I know you will find it! Good Luck! Your doing a great job on this blog.

Sally Jackson said...

Nita, Thank you so much for your beautiful words. I feel like I am being directed, as hard as it seems sometimes, I finally feel like i am heading in the right direction with this.
Cassie, Congratulations on your pregnancy! I am so happy for you and stoked you have Lily for a midwife, too! She was wonderful at our birth. I am writing down that book and checking it out! It sounds like something I could really use. I really appreciate all your knowledgeable advice about homeschooling. It is worth it, every step of the way! Aloha

Zen Mama said...

When I was teaching I was always so offended to hear parents either overtly or more discreetly say that they had raised their children for the past five years and now it was the school's turn.

Your children are so fortunate to have you as their mother.