Dan & I are the ultimate non-conformists and I’d like to think we are raising our kids to be the same. I want them to experience the road less travelled, the freedom of living without societal constraints, the joy of waking in the morning to a completely unscripted day. That is truly living; what most of the people we know do is exist. They wake to an alarm clock, wake their kids, hustle them out the door to school, go to work, eventually pick their kids up from the sitter, or race to a sports practice, do homework, make dinner, watch TV and then do the same thing all over again the next day. They live for Saturday and Sunday. T.G.I.F. is pasted all over their Facebook wall. These same people are always complaining about how busy they are. How different their lives could be if they chose a different path, if they took a long hard look at their lives and really chose to live off the grid.
For us, it wasn’t an all-at-once realization, it came in waves and with each decision came a welcome easing of our lifestyle and each time we shed a modicum of normalcy, it made it that much easier to do the same with the next opportunity. By far, the hardest and the one decision holding us back from ultimate freedom was the decision to homeschool. Dan knew and had basically made the decision that we were going to embark on this whole new lifestyle that would bring us closer than ever before; however, I was still holding onto a few ideologies that were holding me back. What about socialization? What about friends? School sports? Surprisingly, I wasn’t worried about my ability to teach my kids, I’m their mom, it’s what mom’s do 24/7. Surprisingly, I wasn’t worried about curriculum and scheduling and all that real life stuff. Thankfully, the things I was worried about were complete non-issues, that I realized as such on the 2nd or 3rd day. After making the decision and committing to it for the long haul, regardless of how hard it was on any given day; after making this commitment everything fell into place. We were free. For us, homeschooling is a multi-faceted blessing. Yes, we do it to stay close and connected. Yes, we do it to teach our Faith. Yes, we do it because we can teach them and they can learn more, better, and faster at home than at any private or public school. And, we do it because it offers us a lifestyle so drastically different than the one 99% of the population subscribes to.
Surprisingly, many large families share many of our values. I wonder if somehow it’s not the lifestyle persay, but more a calling, a conviction to follow Christ. As Catholics, we are called to educate our children. “Parents are the first and the most important educators of their own children, and they also possess a fundamental competence in this area; they are educators because they are parents.” Pope John Paul II. It took us awhile to fully undertake all the educating, but better late than never (one of my favorite sayings, btw). Life is difficult, even for, or maybe especially for, non-conformists like us. Oftentimes, life gets in the way of living, however, it is my goal everyday to remember that Christ doesn’t simply understand our pain and suffering — he lived it. As we enter this Easter season — a celebration of the promise and hope of resurrection for all of us – I am particularly mindful of the suffering and sacrifice that led the way to the resurrection. If we, as Christians, can understand the meaning and purpose of His Passion, we might better be able to live despite our own struggles. I can’t say I’m always able to stop myself in the middle of a particularly large pity party and say, “Hey, Susie, get a grip. Jesus suffered 1,000 times worse and never once took pity on Himself.” Though I can say, when I do, the suffering usually ends rapidly. It’s the times when I allow myself to go down a dark road that somehow I find myself in dire straights and I’m praying simply to get to where I started. It’s funny how thankful you are for the little things you were only hours ago disregarding, when you are fearful you may lose them! The knowledge that it can (and very likely will) get worse unless I buck up is very motivating!!
I can tell you, I’m incredibly thankful for the husband who is my light, my soul mate, my provider and my protector, the children who have made my life have unequivicoble value, the lifestyle we are so blessed to live, our home, our beautiful mountains and rivers, our quest for never-ending adrenaline rushes and for the undying flame inside every one of us to live a life completely and thoroughly devoted to God. I’m thankful we don’t have to keep up with the Jones’ because we are Kellogg’s. That crazy, adranaline charged, never content with the status-quo family that goes with the flow, tries to duck the punches and live life to the fullest. Life is not easy when you take a different road than most, but it sure is a lot more exciting!!
God Bless All of You this Easter Season, May the Grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, be with you always. xoxoxoxo