Sunday, September 11, 2011

Counting Peaches

As many of you know, I’m a homeschooler. Er, I was a homeschooler.

Last year, my son chose school - brick and mortar school with homework, principals, and fundraisers.

I was sad that our homeschooling adventure was coming to an end, but I must admit that my son chose a wonderful school with devoted faculty and administrators.
And although the course load has been demanding, sometimes overwhelming, he has made a pile of faithful friends, and learned much about himself. (That's him in the above photo, with his zipper pants, at his school's art show.)

As for me, I was left to reinvent my role in the family, and to re-examine my personal goals.

By spring my son was successfully navigating his way through his first year in school. I, on the other hand, couldn’t seem to find my way. I continued to bumble along, wondering each day if my actions had been fruitful, if I was making the best use of my time.

On the first day of spring, alone in the yard, I noticed our little peach tree suddenly full of tiny peaches, still with purple-pink flowers attached. The next day, I stood by the tree again and began to count them. After having counted six or seven, I scolded myself for wasting time in so obsessively frivolous an occupation. But then, I imagined myself a child, counting the fruit buds so I could tell my mother. I imagined her surprise, eyes opening wide as I triumphantly told her, “There are 51 new baby peaches on the tree! Did you know that?” She would say no, she didn’t know that, and would praise me for counting so well, for being so clever in noticing the beginning of spring.

Standing by the little peach tree, this seemed reason enough for me, now at age 48, my mother dead for 20 years.

I stopped scolding myself and continued counting . . . 29, 30, 31 . . . many more still to count, when I imagined a different voice in my head. It was my 14-year-old’s voice, with an accusing, “What DO you do all day while I’m at school, Mom?”

I heard myself answer, contentedly, “I count peaches.” And hoped I would actually have the courage to do just that.

(Excerpt from article originally published in California HomeSchooler, a publication of the HomeSchool Association of California.)

1 comment:

Aunt Jan said...

What a great riff on what happens when we separate a little from our youngest... loved it. ~AJan