As the Christmas holiday came and went this year, I took a look at my wall of cards and realized, quite sadly, that not one was from a homeschooling family. For many reasons, I didn't send any cards at all this year, but I admit, that even if I had, I probably wouldn't have sent any to any homeschooling families.
Homeschooling is a lonely business. It takes thick skin most days. I have had my share of tears over not feeling a part of any solid group. We don't fit in. And although it is okay most days, there are days when the feeling of "different" is overwhelming. It may be admirable to be taking the road less travelled, but it is just that, less travelled. Less travelled roads have fewer companions.
This "school" year has been particularly hard. The group of homeschoolers I thought we had connected with and started down the long road of friendship with purposely excluded us from a group. This has been painful for me, as I try to diplomatically explain to my boys why we aren't joining certain activities their friends keep bringing up. Each time I think I have made peace with this group of parents, some new trigger comes up and puts me in a full-fledged anger attack. I remind myself to breathe. I try and step back and see the bigger picture. I do yoga. I go for fast and long walks or hikes. I sign my boys up for activities where I know there are no homeschoolers, hoping to develop new friends. I try and vibrate these people out of my life.
I am still in the process of figuring it all out. I am not there yet. I hope by writing about it, I can move forward and beyond this anger and hurt that has been lingering for months and months. I know there are homeschooling families out there that are in need of friends and support, and I don't want this toxic situation to keep me from being open and ready to see them when they appear. My instinct is to withdraw and avoid, but that is not in the best interests of the boys. And this is not how I want them to see me deal with adversity and conflict. I have been forced to change in many ways since becoming a mom, but this may be the biggest challenge yet. Open my heart, find forgiveness and peace.
Quote from the Dalai Lama: Be kind whenever possible; it is always possible.
“I believe that the very purpose of life is to be happy. From the very core of our being, we desire contentment. In my own limited experience I have found that the more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being. Cultivating a close, warmhearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. It helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter. It is the principal source of success in life. Since we are not solely material creatures, it is a mistake to place all our hopes for happiness on external development alone. The key is to develop inner peace.”
I am ready to move forward. I am going to let the Dalai Lama help me.