“are you sleeping?” a series of 9 short works on sleep in the august 2013 issue of harper’s magazine
restlessness by heidi julavits & motherhood by sarah manguso seem most relevant here, however i enjoyed them all. i also loved insomnia by rebecca solnit.
my children are now 5 and 7 – i am currently sleeping 10 to 12 hours a night – so are my kids – we have been doing so for 2 years – i truly believe i am still making up for the 5 years that i did not sleep – and the girls are simply sleeping as much as they are supposed to now – these two pieces of writing speak to the entirety of that experience – placing the years of seeking and yearning for sleep in some sort of beautifully coherent nutshell – the other 7 pieces offer a nest for this particular metaphorical nut – thank you to harpers for including the sleeplessness of mothers – it is not something anyone can prepare you for and yet camaraderie is so important – from one mother to another (fathers too), i hope you enjoy these as much as i did….xo
these were the sticky-ribbons my family chose to add on to my name badge for the homeschooling conference. all attendees were expected to wear these purple shoe-laced placards around our necks all weekend to identify ourselves as folks who are allowed into the magic walls of all that was hsc. “first timer” was purple, “runs with scissors” black. jason chose for himself “first timer” and “insignificant other”. this is very far from the truth, but he loved how it validated his place in-line in the realm of my finite ability to attend the needs of others. this is a never ending joke between us, so he found his choice hysterical – and i agree it was the only one for him to chose given his sense of humor and unending flexibility. the girls both chose “princess” and viv added “glory” to hers, while ida chose “celebrate diversity” – appropriately a rainbowed ribbon. a very fun thing to do upon entry and immediately got us into the vibe of what was in store for us. immediately our fears of all that might be present at a conference full of homeschoolers from up and down the state began to lessen.
we walked into the main auditorium to listen to the introductory key-note speaker…we sat down in the back at the long tables where the girls were able to set up with their paper and pencils, or if they chose roam around and turn cartwheels. the woman speaking was quinn cummings. we had not planned on a morning of stand-up comedy, but that is what we got. she succeeded at breaking all the barriers down and bringing all of it into a laughing light. afterall, homeschooling is about having a good time, right? we all laughed together about all of the common difficulties we face as homeschool parents: no alone time, critical notions from others (how will your children get socialized? how will they get into college? how will they get a job? i could never do that….how do you do that? are you insane?, etc) , challenging our own ideas of what education looks like – de-schooling ourselves, family dynamics – how several individuals learn to live together and respect one another without harming one another, etc…. she also talked about her own personal story and how they came to decide to home school. all very fascinating and fun to listen to. i especially liked her response to “so, how did you write a book while you were homeschooling?” her answer was simple – she was an insomniac – i loved this for many reasons. she was not offering a formula for “how you too can lead a life like mine” – in fact not one person did this the whole conference. the parents who decided to share simply offered their story for what it was – a story. the whole idea is that you can figure it out on your own – the important thing is that all members of the family are considered equal and empowered to live and learn as they wish – including the parents. the main principal being safety. it was all of our job together to keep each other safe. everyone learning to acknowledge the needs of the others and make time and space for all of it. the rest was an experiment in progress – a shared journey.
(to be continued…i just reread this beginning of this post which i wrote almost a month ago! i realize it might be another month before i write out the rest of our hsc experience which was full and lovely, so i will post this intro now!)