My first baby turns eight tomorrow. EIGHT. Each year I swear the number seems as heavy as can be, but man oh man this one feels big. We seem to have left behind the unpredictable moods and outbursts of yesteryear, and entered into the reasonable golden years of childhood (with one anyway)! All of a sudden, requests to set the table, help out a brother, or get ready for bed are met with an anti-climactic, “O.k.”. Or at the most, a half-hearted, “Oh man” “Mo-om,” or “Just a little bit later”? Who is this eager to please, easy to live with fellow?
As much as I love the new dynamic around here, I am also keenly aware that this too is fleeting. Its easy to miss time passing when you’re in the thick of melt-downs and power struggles, but in this new light, I realize we only have a few more years of this innocent childhood to savour before adolescence throws us back into the angst ridden storm. Of course I knew that the fog of baby, and early childhood would pass, but I don’t think I ever really believed it until now. As an added bonus, this knowledge makes it much easier to take the younger ones’ shenanigans with a grain of salt.
The next few years with big kid promise to be ‘EPIC’ ( his expression du jour). At this age, he can swim, skateboard, and ride a bike. He is reading, creating, and joining his first baseball team-there is a lot of fun to be had! The best part though, is that he is open to our guidance and still welcomes snuggles-at home anyway.
What will we make of these tender years? Now more than ever, I feel a great responsibility to make a positive impression . What do we want him to leave his childhood knowing and feeling?
The answer will be different in every family, but I think it is worth asking. For me, this means:
- Putting family at the centre of our lives. This is one of the main reasons we homeschool-though not the only way to achieve this goal. I want my kids to know and love each other deeply. I want to spend time engaged with them in their favourite pursuits. I hope that in doing so, not only will we have a lot of fun together, but that they will want to continue spending time with us as they get older.
- Knowing that they are loved, unconditionally, and are free to be their truest selves.
- An unquenchable curiosity, passion for learning, and adventurous spirit.
- Kindness and compassion towards all people, creatures and the earth.
Of course we strive to model these values in the day to day, and often come up short, but I think it is helpful to clarify and hold them close while we still have our kids attention.
Lets not bear the weight of this alone though! These golden years are just right for welcoming mentors into our children’s lives, especially when homeschooling-we need breaks too! We are grateful to have found a naturalist program that puts community building and mentorship high on their list of priorities. Is there something similar in your community? Are there Family members-aunties, uncles, and grandparents in your lives that can act as mentors to your children? A trusted adult who shares a similar passion with your child? Welcome them into the fold.
Above all, no matter what the age of your kids, remember that the days are long but the years are short. Make the most of what you’ve got!
Heres to a new chapter with my sweet boy, let the adventure begin!