homestead happenings: passionate
We’ve been studying the solar system ’round here, and last Sunday when I was snuggled up with Col on my friend Melanie’s couch watching a NOVA special on the Universe, I felt so grown up, or at least like my baby was so grown up.
~making solar system models at homeschool co-op~
My heart still caves in on itself when I reminisce about chasing 2-year old Col around Open Gym every Friday while Rosie slurped milk from her pouch on my chest. Wasn’t everything so uncomplicated and straightforward then? I’d chat with other moms trailing similarly fast toddlers with similarly exposed, milk-packed breasts, our orbits intersecting for brief moments by the trampoline. We’d discuss nap schedules as if they were the most confounding thing motherhood would ever throw at us.
Luckily, the scrim of nostalgia is too thick to recall the morning after the all-night nursing rager, or the way boredom circled my head like a flock of hungry vultures as I read the very hungry caterpillar for the 314th time.
Which is to say, despite how I loooove babies, I love this growing up too. How—while I’m wringing my mind over missed naps—the kids shed cocoon after cocoon, becoming these long-legged people gawking over the 4 moons of Jupiter, strung like pearls around the glowing pendant of our largest planet.
It’s so exciting, this sharing of interests with the kids; knowing the kids look forward to camping trips as much as we do; or that we all trust that books bring happiness. Yesterday Col was right by my side helping me dig jerusalem artichokes out of the cold November mud (Rosie was supervising in impractical shoes), all of us marveling at the dozens of knobby roots emerging from the soil like clowns from the proverbial clown car.
Somehow it seems more important than ever—now that the kids are old enough to take notice—that Dan and I follow our passions, that we show our kids what we love, even if just to model the worthiness of falling head over heels in love with something. Even if it’s turning kitchen scraps into compost or spying a herd of elk in a secret valley. Perhaps especially those pursuits in which doing them is its own reward, unconnected to money or notoriety.
:: Dan has resurrected Sunday morning winter drives with Daddy, which entails packing the kids up at 6am, stopping for a muffin and driving quiet highways and country roads looking for wildlife. Nobody minds hustling out of the house at dawn, perhaps because Dan always operates under the premise that there is something exciting out there.
:: We went to the woods this weekend to celebrate the conifers and cut boughs from the 10 native species for our nerdy version of a Christmas tree/garland/wreath thingy.
~ into the snow for subalpine fir~
~Ponderosa pine, photo shot by Col~
:: Dan and Col skinned two roadkill bull snakes to apply to the back of Dan’s newest bow (for waterproofing). Rose opted out of the project, though had the skins been slated for fashion, she may have felt differently.
:: Meanwhile, in the gender divisions that can happen ’round here, Rose and I retreated upstairs to make salves (arnica and pinyon).
:: Col and his buddy Mathew have been hunting snakes in the soapwort patch near our house. They’re pretty confident that a battery will lure one out of its hole. (For the record, they did see a garter snake in the soapwort, summer 2010).
They’re pretty good about conceding failure.
:: There is little more exciting than tossing kitchen scraps in a pile, and then forking out sweet-smelling, friable compost a year later.
:: Slipping compost into the greenhouse bed.
:: Studying the solar system along with the kids has been amazing, even if my head has exploded several times in the process. And as much as I love understanding seasons as the Earth’s little bellydance around the sun, tilting her hips this way and that, I can’t help but wonder what shape the world would be in if women were given the trillions of dollars allocated to space research. Two year paid maternity leave? Kick-ass public schools? World Peace?
~solar system class, guest taught by my parents!~
I love seeing how our kids orbit the large worlds of their parents, as I once wrote about here. Ultimately they’ll find their own galaxies to explore, but perhaps seeing your parents engaged and enthralled is best modeling we can do.
From Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne:
“In most things, the exceptional is not what we truly want for our children anyways. What we want for our children, truly, is engagement.”
What have you and your family been loving (together or separately) lately?
*ps: thanks for your words on chores and allowance. I always love hearing from you.