It’s been about 2 and 1/2 years since I began my walk down the Waldorf homeschool path. My children have never been to preschool or regular school. I am it. And I have learned so much! During these early years, from birth to age 6 or 7, Waldorf offers a different focus than what Good Girl is trained in. Much of what my path has entailed is working on Love and Warmth.
Up until recently, Good Girl took this on herself. She made Love and Warmth a to-do list item. She read about it. She put reminders up around the house. She tried to eat well, drink enough water, get enough sleep…all so she could be more able to provide Love and Warmth. But Good Girl was missing one essential element. Love and Warmth FOR ME. How can I possibly provide Love and Warmth to my children if I feel none for myself?
And this morning, as I took a deep breath and tried to help a panicky five-year old manage her feelings in a dark room without waking anybody else up, I realized what gritty work this has been for me. The things Good Girl was doing only scratched the surface. And frankly, Good Girl’s strategies don’t work on things like love. You can’t tell yourself “Love her” and then magically FEEL love. You can’t say “Be more warm” and voila, warmth just emanates from you. This fall I have delved deeper in to my SELF, questioned my beliefs, my reactions, taken a pause, observed myself in action. It’s like I’m on a dig, going deeper and deeper to find the well within me, where love and warmth flow. It’s dirty, back-breaking work but I’ve started to taste a bit of this natural spring that I do believe we all have inside of us. Slowly, slowly over time, I am letting love and warmth bubble up. It is in me. I am a mother. But there were boulders, tangled roots and loads of dirt in the way. One by one, Good Girl and I are tossing the things that don’t serve us aside (like angry words and short tempers) and learning how important love and warmth is in raising the next generation.
In the past, I struggled with how to shape my days. I was just discovering the tip of the SHOULD iceberg and I was constantly torn between things I thought SHOULD be done and these new concepts I was learning; love and warmth, rhythm, connection. I worked it over in my mind over and over. And one day, as I was looking at a graphic from one of my cookbooks, it hit me. In this food guide, it outlined 4 boxes that should be the mainstays of a healthy diet. Then there were smaller triangles of foods that were to be had in moderation. In my diet, I had the two flip-flopped. I was eating the triangles as my mainstays and sprinkling in the big boxes (for example, I was eating LOTS of cheese in my meals and only have small amounts of veggies). I realized that in my days, I was making the triangles of my life (things like returning phone calls, running errands and marking things off my to-do list) the main course when things like Love and Warmth and time in nature should be the main course. So I created this.
And as you can see, Love and Warmth is at the center. I’m pretty sure that having Love and Warmth for my children, myself, my family is top priority. It trumps all else. I look to this on days like these (when the dishes are piled in the sink, the bills are piling up, the sleep is never enough) and think that as long as I can reach for love and warmth, our day has been a success! Good Girl is not so sure, but I’m winning her over day by day.