Wednesday, July 28, 2010

...but she was THAT mom?

Wow! I have been totally floored by the response to my last post, about my mom. I knew she was That Mom, but I didn't know she was that mom. The kind of mom people want to be like. The kind of mom whose everyday actions make people cry. Because the sad part is, nobody but me ever appreciated my mom while she was alive. She had some mental and cognitive problems that meant she mostly just stayed home all the time, and she was very awkward socially. I was the only person who got to see her shine. Me and my friends. I don't think I ever had a friend over who didn't tell me my mom was awesome. But other adults... well they kinda just thought she was dumb. So hearing so many people say they wish they had my mom, or they wish they could be like my mom, has healed something in me. It's wonderful.

It almost seems like my mom was like Vincent van Gogh, and no one appreciated her work until she was gone. But if I say that, then I'll be calling myself Starry Night, and that's not what I mean at all. I just wish she could've been here to hear people say how cool she was. (She wouldn't have believed a word of it though. She would've just shrugged and said "I'll do anything for my daughter.")

The embarrassing thing though is that I sort of took her for granted. Not in the sense that I didn't appreciate all she did for me, because I did. I just didn't see it as unusual. Having a mom who loved to play Barbies and bake cakes and let me do pretty much whatever I wanted was just normal to me. When I got older and realized other kids got grounded for stupid things, or weren't allowed to do totally harmless things I was allowed to do, I thought THAT was weird. When I tried to get other kids to play in the dirt with me at recess, sometimes they'd say "I'm not allowed to get dirty", and I'd look at them like they had three heads. I was always like, "Don't you have a washing machine? That's what they're FOR!" I couldn't conceive of the idea of clean clothes being more important than having fun. (I realize now that they were probably going somewhere after school, but still. Birds fly, mosquitoes buzz in people's ears, kids get dirty. It ain't rocket science.)

So anyway, everything I wrote in that post just seemed normal to me. I keep rereading it, trying to see where the magic is that makes even unschooling parents see it as special, but I don't. It all seems like the same stuff you guys do! Maybe it just looks different through a kid's eyes. Maybe your kids will take your parenting for granted, too - in a good way. In the "this is just how you should treat kids" way. Hopefully the number of kids who grow up that way will keep growing and someday eclipse the number of kids who grow up saying things like "My dad always beat the snot out of me and I turned out okay." I always feel like a judgemental asshole when I say that conventional parenting, all of it, seems like child abuse to me, but well... if you treated your spouse that way...

I guess I just wanted to say that I think all you unschooling parents are awesome, and if your kids ever seem to take what you do for granted, take heart - it means they see adults treating kids well as no big deal, just the normal state of things. And that's a very good thing.

7 comments:

Frank said...

Bonnie, to steal from Don McLean's song, you are a starry, starry night, flaming flowers that brightly blaze. Never doubt it.

hahamommy said...

I sure hope my son *does* grow up thinking this is the way Mamas are... thank you for sharing her with grown-ups who woulda liked to know her <3

~Katherine said...

Oh I just love this post, Bonnie. Well I love a lot of things you say.

Karl and I were just having this conversation yesterday. He wants to invite his friends over for hours and hours just so they can play. And by play he means the DS and the computer and the Nintendo 64 not just the playclothes and props, the Lego stuff and the board games! The stuff his friends get in trouble for being on "too" long a time. Karl doesn't understand what the big deal is. We just visited his cousins (5 of them) and the only ones allowed to play were the two boys who well under 5 years old. The others had chores? Which if not performed gladly, fully and perfectly would deduct from the envied playtime that Karl can always indulge in SANS even chore 1.

Bonnie said...

@Frank and Diana - Thanks so much <3

@Katherine - That's sad. Video games to me were always a sign of how loved I was, because I knew it wasn't easy for my family to afford them. I don't think I could've gotten that feeling about them if they'd been something I had to jump through hoops to earn. Also, I am sure I'm preaching to the choir but you totally can't even do anything in a video game in the amount of time most parents give their kids on them! What's the point in buying them then? Sheesh.

p.s. bohemian said...

Ditto to what Frank said - beautiful song for a beautiful Spirit and thank you again for sharing your mom with us.

Lisa Cottrell-Bentley said...

I think this post is even better than your original one. Very touching! It's also very thought provoking. I definitely see a correlation of not seeing these things as amazing and assuming the unschooling way of life is just the way the world should be... None of us wants our kids to think we are "above and beyond"--we want our kids to assume our love for them is just the way it should be.

Thanks for writing these!

Anonymous said...

I don't know about that, Lisa. I'd like our kids to think we went above and beyond. -geri
:-/