Friday night I had a dream, involving my mother. Given the recent flavor of my dreams involving her lately, this was not a pleasant dream, but certainly cathartic (at least for dream-me.) Like the other dreams of late, this one revolved about the same theme: throwing the truth in my mother's face, forcing her to deal with it, and be damned any emotions or opinions she may have on the matter.
Going back the last nine months or so, and this truth has involved the boys not going to Sunday School, reminding her that I won't hold lip service to a religion I don't believe in (just because of that whole damnation thing, like some people do *cough-cough* *hint-hint,*) and that she's not allowed to treat my younger sister the way she treated me when I was my sister's age. Last night, though, was about my husband's and my decision to homeschool Atticus.
The dream was short, just a brief, poignant, flash. My mother stood before me, but slightly back. I was stressed, argumentative, and, to put it bluntly, not to be fucked with. I told her that we were going to homeschool the boys, that we needed to do what was right for us, and that what was right for some people was not right for everyone else. That was the whole of the dream.
I awoke, went about my haphazard morning routine (it can only be haphazard with four small children and a husband pacing about, lost in thought...) Eventually, I remembered something critical to the day.
"Jason. I just remembered something huge!" I blurted out, turning to face him with a look of horror. He stared at me, a questioning look on his face. "My mother is coming over today because it's supposed to rain and she has nothing better to do." Then, I remembered my dream.
Of course, I had not even hinted at homeschooling to my mother, though she has been questioning me for weeks about what school Atticus will be going to, do we have a school supply list yet, and if he is registered or not yet. Awesome as I am, I had deftly diverted the conversation every time (though this is easy enough to do: remember the four small kids? Yeah, one of them always does something incredibly cute or incredibly naughty when this conversation comes up, he he he...) Today, though, I knew she would press for information again, and as we would be face to face, it would be harder to change the conversation.
But, I was doing well enough until I left the room. Then she began questioning the boys (because that's how she manipulates me and my family: she tries to plant the idea in the children's minds, thinking that it would be too hard to tell them no, unfortunately for her, though, she hasn't caught on that a: neither Jason nor I am that stupid, b: our kids are ours and thus have similar interests, and c: both Jason and I believe firmly in parenting which means we're not against telling our children no, especially if it contributes to the likelihood of them growing up happy, emotionally stable, and able to take care of themselves.) Atticus looked away, pretending to be distracted by what he's doing, but Titus, a tad more confident, looked straight into his grandma's eyes, smiled, and said, "No! We're being homeschooled!"
My mother, shocked, says, "No, you don't..."
"Yes we do!" Titus cut her off.
I had walked back into the room at this point. My mother glared at me, knowing I had heard the entire conversation.
"You're not really...?" The look of oh-my-God-you're-crazy, paired with disgust, was unmistakable; the woman was more than appalled.
"But what about socializing....?"
"We're signing them both up for martial arts. And swimming lessons. We're still looking for what else is available here." (We've recently moved. New city, new county: much that is different.)
"But they need to be with other kids...."
"They will be."
"I'm taking karate!!" Atticus chimed in, running over to me, smiling. He hugged me and I smiled back at him. My mother held one arm across her chest, her hand covering her mouth, and she looked away, astonished that we were doing this and that any kid, especially her blood relation, could genuinely want this and be so excited about it.
The conversion ended. The room was silent but for the sounds of the children playing. I can't help but wonder how soon until the rest of my family finds out. Only two will question: my grandmother and my aunt (who is my "godmother," hence she is entitled, no, required to oversee and manage my life.) And they will be easier to deal with; only my mother has the ability to squash my confidence and make me doubt myself.
Yes: I'm working on that. But... she's my mom. I know you, dear reader, whome ever you are, can relate to that. Have patience with me, I'm figuring this out as I go. Such is life. Do what you can, when you can.
Throwing the Bones