Squishy? Living in the Unschooling Moment

I’m playing the writing game, the unschooling version.

“Your word is squishy.”

“Squishy?” Squishy and unschooling… what’s the connection? Think! Think!

I know!

In the garage is a plastic storage box, and at the bottom of that box is something very squishy. Little pudgy fingers loved to wrap themselves around it and squeeze. Big ones did too.

When I first saw that hot pink squishy ball I couldn’t resist buying it for Gemma-Rose. She didn’t really need any more baby toys. She’d inherited so many from her older siblings. But I bought it anyway.

Gemma-Rose is now ten years old. That squishy ball has been packed away in the garage for a long time, because we have no more babies to play with it.

I saw a young baby at Mass last Sunday. She opened her rosebud lips and gave her mother a warm, wet, squelchy baby kiss. My heart flipped over as I remembered my own babies doing this. I almost wished I was younger, and I still had a soft baby bundle snuggled up under my chin. Just for a moment I yearned for the past.

I have a dear friend who taught me a very important lesson. “I love being who I am today,” she says. “I also love my children exactly how they are right now.” Yes, she doesn’t look back, yearning for babies. She’s too busy to do that. She’s busy appreciating what she has right now. She lives in the moment.

I often think of unschooling as living in the moment.

I try not to look back. I have made lots of mistakes and yes, I do think about them sometimes. Perhaps I even wish occasionally I had done some things differently. But I’m aware that every experience, including the disasters, has taught me something. And I do believe God can fix up those mistakes, and fill in the gaps where I have failed. So there’s no real reason to dwell on them. So I just glance back occasionally and smile at the memories.

Similarly, I don’t look forward, except to dream a little, but certainly not to worry. God will take care of the future just as He takes care of our past. All we need do is trust.

Yes, our business is here in the present moment. We need to embrace life, enjoy and love each other as we learn together. We have to unschool without fear.

I look at my four at-home daughters. They are all growing up so quickly. It won’t be that long before our unschooling years together will be over.

One day there’ll be no young girl fingers stretching over the keys of our piano. 

I won’t stand outside music examination rooms with my heart going thump! thump! Later, we won’t celebrate the results with a special morning tea and bouquets of delicate roses.

My husband Andy will be my only running partner. The Team will have disbanded. 

There will be no more Elvis fashion shoots.

No more novel writing together.

I will no longer be arranging picnics to the lake…

or reading books out loud, or tucking up girls into beds….

But that’s the future and not today. Today I am enjoying my daughters to the utmost. We’re living an amazing unschooling life. It feels good, just like a squishy ball.

Yes, today we’re living in the moment. 

You can also find me on my Stories of an Unschooling Family Facebook page!

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    • Hwee
    • September 21, 2014

    I love this post, Sue! A very timely reminder to live in the moment.

    1. Reply

      Thank you, Hwee. There's lots to be grateful for in the present moment if only we stop and look around, isn't there?

  1. Reply

    Nice thoughts!

    1. Reply

      Thank you for sharing them!

    • Vicky
    • September 22, 2014

    I wonder if lots of people have these thoughts in their middle years, Sue. It seems that we need to have things to look forward to and to expect good things to keep happening. It's easy during the baby years when there's always exciting things going on but maybe we have to rediscover what excites us when life gets less busy again, do you think?

    It was nice to see how much fun you're all having 🙂

      • Vicky
      • September 24, 2014

      I was just thinking, this morning, about how lovely the post-baby years are. Going out for morning tea is relaxed, the younger ones are still entertaining and the older ones are so much fun to be around. It made me imagine how lively the grandchildren years are likely to be – lots of laughing and lots of variety. I guess some children move far away but the get-togethers must be awesome.

    1. Reply


      Maybe I was a bit apprehensive about the middle years before they actually arrived. But I have been surprised. My life has certainly not become less exciting as I've got older. Actually I have had a lot of opportunities I never could have imagined. I guess God keeps us busy even when we no longer have babies to lavish our time and care upon.

      I really enjoyed the baby years but I am also really enjoying these years with my older children. Because of this, it seems probable I will really enjoy my grandmother years (I hope I get to be a grandmother!) or older years too. There seem to be joys at every stage of life.

      Children moving away doesn't sound very good but yes the get-togethers will definitely be awesome!

      And there's another reason moving from stage to stage is okay. I always have a sister who's only half a step behind me to share it all with!

  2. Reply

    As so often you mirror my own sentiment. I had the joy of holding a newborn baby in my arms yesterday at church. And I longed for those days. Tje Owlets took pride in still being more children than the family with the newborn, and I smiled and told them that every child is a gift from God. And that I would rejoice with the family, if the had even mpore babies and yes even if they had more than us (still missing 2 they are). Always be happy about the now. I am happy about my children as they are now, myself not as much. I'm feeling old – no rather middleaged, which is worse, as Charles Ryder once said.

    1. Reply


      It is a blessing to have friends at the same stage of life who understand each other. We can grow older together.

      It is difficult when we realise our families are no longer growing in number. Other families are still enjoying babies but these delights are no longer available to us. But yes, at the same time we appreciate what we have.

      I love watching my children develop and grow. I wouldn't want them to stay small forever though I'd have liked the baby stage to be just a little longer! But me? I feel old too sometimes. That's not quite right. I don't feel old but I am looking older than I like. I can't reconcile outer appearance with my inner feelings.It's hard but I'm working on accepting who I am. My children don't seem to care about me getting old so maybe I'll just stop worrying!

      Charles Ryder from Brideshead Revisited… I'd really love to see the mini-series again. It's been years since I last watched it. Perhaps I should read the book.

    • Chris
    • September 22, 2014

    Aw, how beautiful. I love it…I feel I know your kids at this point and it's amazing how they are growing up right before us, here at your home on the web, Love the sentiment. so true, so true. Bittersweet.

    Also, enjoyed seeing your gorgeous home….backyard, piano room, the girls sitting around writing. What memories.
    Thanks for sharing, Sue…I'll see you soon.


    1. Reply


      I was looking back through some posts and I was amazed at how much the girls have grown since I started blogging. Yes, they are growing up on the Internet! Bittersweet describes it perfectly.

      I love seeing other people's homes, imagining them in their own environment. I guess our homes tell people something more about us. You can see I love pictures of Mary and hanging mobile-type things in my windows! I tried putting up curtains but I took them down because I prefer having a good view of the garden. There are a lot of trees and bushes outside and I like to look at them especially when there are birds around.

      Thank you for sharing my post and photos!

  3. Reply

    Wonderful, and such a good reminder to savor every moment of today, right now.

    1. Reply


      Thank you! Savouring every moment… oh yes! Sometimes we rush through the day and miss all the delights. I love to just sit and observe and store up the memories!

  4. Reply

    I've just read Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry. It really spoke to me as a mother and it goes along with what you've said here. Hey–you always share your reading, so I'll pass this along to you. I found Hannah Coulter on the lists at The Well-Read Mom Book Club. This is a book club for Catholic moms. I'm not able to participate in a group right now, but the reading lists are good! http://www.wellreadmom.com/books/year-of-mother-books/

    1. Reply


      Thank you so much for the book recommendation. Oh yes, I love hearing about good books, as well as telling others about my favourites. I have bookmarked this one and will definitely read it. I must follow your link too.

  5. Reply

    p.s. the needlework in the background of the first picture is very pretty! Did you make it?

    1. Reply


      That is Thomas' cross stitch sampler. I stitched it for him during the months after his death. It gave me something to do while I thought and prayed. I wanted to make Thomas something special. If you'd like to share a story about the cross stitch, you could read my post called Perfection. Thank you for asking about the picture. I love sharing it and Thomas with everyone.


    2. Reply

      I'm a cross-stitcher, too, though I've given them up in favor of knitting while so many little hands are around getting into things. I'm glad to know the story of this piece and that it has such a significant meaning. Off to read the story now. Thank you.

    3. Reply


      Thank you for visiting my other blog and reading my story!

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