I think what I will miss most is my daughter’s laugh. From her first laugh out loud moment, I remember feeling I never wanted to miss that. I dreaded when I’d have to send her off to school. I didn’t want to miss a thing with her development. I knew that in school, her teachers would miss or dismiss that laugh, maybe even find it disruptive and punish her for it in some way. Thank God for unschooling and divine appointments.
I was unschooling Jaiela (pronounced jay-la) before I knew what unschooling was or that it had a name. I was simply living and learning alongside my baby girl and enjoyed every moment of it. I was shocked when a woman, after watching our 2 children play together at an educational booth (at an expo of some sort), came to me and said, “You homeschool her, don’t you?” I had no idea what she was talking about and was astonished to learn that she was doing it, it was legal and I had this option as well.
My husband thought it was a phase when I came home with a bunch of books about homeschooling that day, and declared, “This is what we’re going to do!” My mother told me I was going to make her granddaughter stupid. My daughter was in a teaching daycare when I told my grandfather my plans. He said, “Get her out of there quick and do it.”, and I did. At 4 years old, when she would have been about to head to kindergarten, I quit my full-time job, took her out of the school-ish daycare and never looked back.
I have done my best to be the type of mother to her and my other children that I would want at any given moment. Not knowing how to do what I wasn’t taught, presented challenges along the way but it has been nothing short of amazing. My children have taught me far more than I believe I have taught them. Growing alongside them has enabled me to reclaim various simple aspects of childhood that I missed, things like getting muddy, playing in dirt, running, hiking and wearing t-shirts that weren’t dressy enough, right out the front door.
Today, I sit in my oldest daughter’s living room and type this. My children and I will travel home tomorrow and leave my daughter for the first time.
Others have said they feel like she is theirs. They feel happy and proud and sad, all at the same time. I don’t feel the sadness at this point, just happiness and pride. I would love it if others could take up all the sad on my behalf so I don’t have to deal with that. I am grateful that I have had her for 21 years. She could have left sooner, many do.
It all happened very quickly. She was offered a job out of state and needed to start 17 days after the offer was made. She was on it. By day 7, she traveled here and visited several apartment complexes that she’d researched and narrowed down. By day 12, she moved into her new apartment. On day 14, she purchased her first vehicle and was ready for work on day 17.
My sister jokingly asked if my daughter had a sugar daddy she was hiding somewhere to get so much done in such a short span of time. I told her she has 2 things, favor and financial savvy.
My daughter was accepted into an apprenticeship program that only 15% of applicants get into. She worked for 7 months and saved up all of her tuition money. She put aside money for buying us all Christmas gifts -this child bought me almost $70 hiking boots! She set aside money for when life throws that curveball and she saved a chunk of money to use for the inevitable move she knew was coming at the end of her apprenticeship program.
The company that hired her, did so immediately and because they aren’t actually affiliated with the apprenticeship program, she wasn’t offered the typical 6-month apprenticeship but a full-on position in the company. This was a clear case of favor and opportunity meeting the prepared.
I am so proud of her. I am excited to see where she goes and what she will accomplish because she has some serious plans for obtaining financial freedom. So far, she loves the job. The people she works with are silly too, which is right up her alley. I am going to do my best as always, to enjoy this new phase of our relationship. I couldn’t be happier or more proud.