This week I've heard of two young families where the mothers died in sudden and tragic circumstances. A total of 5 children under 10 will be motherless this Mother's Day. Two husbands are speechless with shock.
It puts everything into perspective yet again. I feel like all these jolts life gives me put my priorities into sharper focus each time.
We only get one life. I don't believe in life after death, any kind of after-life at all. I think life is all the more beautiful and precious for its fragility.
I'm here. My kids are here. I can mother them now, today, this minute. That's all I ever know for certain.
And so the petty questions that ask "but how will your son enter college if he's homeschooled?" and "but does he have any friends?" and "but don't you go mad being with them 24/7?" all seem so pointless, so narrow-minded. Nobody ever says "I see he's happy" or "I see he makes friends so quickly".
I don't give a hoot if my son ever earns more than minimum wage. I suspect he will be a roaring success in some creative or technical field, but if he ends up manning a drive-thru window for most of his life, I will be just as proud because I trust his judgement.
I don't give a damn if a child of mine ever "graduates" from any institution, if they ever get letters after their name, if anyone ever gives them a promotion. I suspect these things will happen anyway, or that they will be self-taught entrepreneurs, but I am not channelling our lives towards that point.
What is the measure of a man or woman? Is it the box-ticking Facebook status update: Dating, Engaged, Married, Travelled, Home-owner, Parent?
Because I know people who have ticked those boxes but are still assholes. I know people who have money dripping out of their pockets, but they walk past a homeless person in the street. All these people "graduated", got promoted, ticked all the boxes. but they are not nice to be around.
So what do I want for my children, this Mother's Day weekend?
I want them to have a kind, supportive mother, and I work on that daily.
I want them to be happy, I work on that daily.
I want them to be healthy, ditto, you get the gist.
I want them to have friends and family around who love and support them.
I want them to be able to walk away from those who do not love and support them as they should.
I want them to fall in love and have intimate relationships with men or women who think they are amazing.
I want them to know the joy of parenting because they will make amazing fathers.
I want them to laugh every day.
I want them never to take life for granted.
I want them to celebrate and be joyful for the little things in life. Like today, seeing their cousin and going to McDonald's for ice-cream and chips made my son so happy after two weeks home sick.
That's all I want for them. That's all that matters. The rest is icing on the cake.
I think unschoolers get it. I think home educators get it. I think creative people get it. I think people who have felt death or loss get it. I hope everyone will get it in time.
What really matters to you?
Niamh the Nihilist.