Once upon a time, boy met girl. Boy and girl fell in love, married and enjoyed several years of intertwined independence, career success, and world traveling. And then….
Baby Ethan. E V E R Y T H I N G C H A N G E D. EVERYTHING. You’ve heard that kids can have that effect, right? Or experienced it first hand as a parent. This new energy, new life, new child was a force of nature. He captured our hearts and souls and led us to rethink long held beliefs and assumptions, and single handedly jump-started our personal evolutions. In a good way.
With me at age 33 and Jason just shy of 37, we were on the upper end of the typical age range for new parents. The downside of this was that the sudden arrival of an infant into our world was darn exhausting. The upside of our ages was that we had been blessed with many adult years of great life experiences, traveling both domestically and abroad, and experience and success in the working world as well as self-knowledge. Just three years earlier at age 30, I had left a promising career with a private firm in finance to take a career sabbatical, which led me 180 degrees away and down the path of becoming a yoga instructor.
Before Ethan was born, we had long, deep conversations about ideas like the value or lack thereof of the “American dream,” debt-free living, freedom from “corporate servitude,” and alternative lifestyles such as living off the grid or on a sailboat. Even during the early days following Ethan’s arrival, while battling sleep deprivation, endless diaper changes, and groggy night wakings, I remember us having conversations about what the future might hold for our family.
Very early on, Jason brought up the topic of school. Quite impassioned, he informed me that he absolutely did not want our child attending public schools and thought it would be best if we homeschooled. “Whaaaat? Where is this coming from?” I silently wondered. Okay, maybe not so silently. My response was probably something more like this, “What?!?! No way! ALL the homeschooled kids I knew in school were socially inept. No way!” (Sidenote: I knew a grand total of one child who was homeschooled during my K-12 experience in private schools in a medium sized town in the Midwest. Great sample size, huh?).
Between the two of us, thankfully Jason is usually far less reactive than I, and he asked me to just think about homeschooling and do some research. “Ha!,” I thought. “No way will I change my mind on that, but okay, I’ll research.” And then I fell back asleep, coveting the few precious hours of sleep ahead, before the next wake up cry.
But a small seed had been planted that night, and there’s no way I could predict how far it would lead us off the beaten path of our pasts.
To Be Continued…