I came across this video of Maya Angelou talking about the effect her grandmother had on her during the years that she was mute:
I thought of my own grandmother who believed in me, who forgave me, who would pray for me, and who loved me.
This is a love letter to my children, an intention for right now, next week, next month, and the years we have together. As I get anxious about my level of preparedness for this upcoming school year, I will read this letter to them. As I get caught up in lessons and feel guilty for falling behind, I will read this letter to them. If I lose sight of why I have chosen this path, this path to keep them with me at home, I will read this letter to them. If I forget that it is ok for us to move slowly and deliberately, I will read this letter to them.
To my children,
As I prepare for this year of homeschooling, I am brought back to the here and now. I want to love you in a way that liberates, that frees you from fear and doubt during this time of growth and uncertainty. This isn’t limited to the school year. I can’t separate homeschooling from our life together. I am both teacher and parent all the time. To teach you, I need to understand you. Understanding you is to love you.
I want to hold on to you. I want to take you in my arms and under my wing and teach you what I think you need to know. I want to tell you what to do and what not to do. I want to protect you at all costs. I want you to never suffer. I want to keep you near me. I want to control your rhythms so that they are in accord with mine. I want to check off my to-do list so that I feel confident that you are not behind. I want it all to be easy, with the path laid out.
But it doesn’t matter what I want, what matters is what you deserve.
You deserve a love that liberates. You deserve a love that sets you free: free to discover who you are without worrying about my approval or my disapproval; free to leave and to return to me as many times as necessary before you can be comfortable following your own path; free to explore this world with the faith that I will always welcome you home; free to learn at your own pace without a deadline. You deserve to be accepted. Period. You deserve to have a mother who finds her own joy, her own passion, and her own wonder for this world so that you may find the same for yourself.
You are my greatest teachers. My job is to not get in the way of your blooming by keeping you in the shade. I am here to keep your light, your birthright, from being extinguished. I am here to break open the dam of preconceived ideas and limits so that life may flow freely through you.
You are remarkable people that I enjoy getting to know. It is a privilege to be your mother AND your teacher. The gifts I have received are beyond my wildest imaginations.
You liberate me.
I love you when you are next to me cuddling as I read to you. I love you when you are miles away and all we have are text messages. I love you when you are lost. I love you when you are scared and nervous. I love you when you want things just so. I love you when you need your space. I love you even though you keep changing. I love you even when you don’t want to be near me. I love you when you think I don’t understand. I love you even when I say no. I love you when you make mistakes. I love you even when you have a life separate from me. I love you when you need to keep some things for you and you alone. I love you when you hug me randomly, a gentle reassurance that I am still right here.
I love you as you are. Right now, next week, next month, and the all the years I am blessed to be your mother.
100 scribbles…hurriedly writing the here and now.