All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us
An unschooling mom I've known online lost her daughter to leukemia in the early hours of this morning. Not much over a month ago, their lives were going forward as if they had all the days in the world, today she is gone. Our imaginations can only touch the edges of such grief, and then pull back in fear. I can't stop thinking about what this mother is going through.
The brightest light in the whole story is that over the years I've read this mom's posts, I've seen online her experiences with her kids, the joy they lived every day. I can imagine that in the midst of terrible pain, this must be some solace: that every day they had together, they chose joy. That she got to share so many of her daughter's days. Her hopes, her joys, her daily ups and downs, her experiences. That is the biggest gifts of unschooling: the gift of time, the gift of choice, the gift of joy. Time with our kids. Time to build teepees from sticks, back cupcakes, play Monopoly in our pajamas at noon. Choice: their choices, which are respected. Their lives, which are full of choices that they own and make. And Joy, the sheer joy of living a meaningful life that one has chosen for oneself.
I can't imagine losing a child and having to think back over all of the hours they were gone, away from me, in school. Hours learning multiplication tables and how to spell Constantinople. Knowledge that would've come anyway, in its own time. Time that is lost that never comes back. I'm grateful for the choice I have to unschool my kids. Grateful for the gifts that unschooling brings. Grateful that if, god forbid, anything ever did happen to any of us, I would know that we lived every day as if it was our only day, that we spent it in joy.
In Lord of the Rings, Gandalf says "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us". More than anything today, as my heart goes out to a grieving family, is the knowledge that we have chosen wisely.