Tuesday, January 16, 2007

As a part of my parenting revolution, I've taken a long hard look at myself, my strengths, weaknesses, my goals, and my purpose. I am nowhere near where I want to be, but through the tears of introspection and soul searching, I've clawed my way back to the hard but right path.

And wouldn't you know it? I found encouragement twice- smack dab in the middle of my children's homeschool.

The first astonishing moment flew from the page straight to my heart from our family read aloud- The Wilderness Family by Kobie Kruger. It's a true story of a family who lived on nature preserves in Africa to protect the wildlife. At this point in the story, Kobie, who raised a tiny lion cub named Leo, struggles to let go of her now full grown lion.

"So I would wake up at night, feeling sad and restless. Leo loved us and needed us. How could we even think of abandoning him? I paced the house, tyring to think of other solutions. We could all move away to some remote wild place where no other people ever came, and live there happily ever after with our lion.

But how would we live?

We could establish Leo in some remote corner of the Kruger Park (one of the nature preserves)- where no one would know about him- and we would visit him as frequently as possible, often spending days camping with him in the bush.

But how would he live-unable to hunt and unable to fend for himself? Unlike the Save Valley(the preserve far from Kobie's home Leo was scheduled to move into) that had as yet no lion population, Kruger Park had lions all over the place- wild lions who would defend their territories against interlopers like Leo.

It seemed stranger to me that the lion, powerful as he was, should be the most vulnerable of hand-reared orphans when reintroduced to the wild.

During those long sleepless night I would often think back to the day that Hettie (Kobie's oldest daughter) had first gone off to university. We still lived a t Mahlangeni then, more than six hundered kilometers from Johannesburg. We took her to the airport at Phalaborwa, and as her ariplane started taxiiing across the runway for takeoff, I wanted to run after it, shouting for it to stop and bring back my child. I wanted to explain to the pilot-and everyone else- that it was all a mistake. She was just a child of the wilderness, unprepraed for city life... she would feel so bewildered, so lonely, so lost.

But who would listen? Who would understand?

After she left, I couldn't sleep or eat properly for many days.

And then , when Sandra's (Kobie's second daughter) turn came the following year, I thought I was better prepared for it, having already been through the whole trauma once before. But harsh experiencecs don't make you stronger. They make you more vulnerable.

I decided that the only way I could prepare myself for the eventual parting with Leo was to rely on my belief that happy memories made the future bearable. And so I set about collecting good moments with Leo to add to my memory's repertoire. I also check my diaries to make sure I had recovered all the good memories of the past."

The second moment of encouragement came while Wise One read poetry from his language art assignment.

What is Once Loved

What is once loved
You will find
Is always yours
From that day.
Take it home
In your mind
And nothing ever
Can take it away.
Elizabeth Coatsworth

The sand sifts through the hourglass at a breathtaking pace concerning the days with my children spend beside me. I intend to make the most of it.

1 comment:

tonia said...

oh, those are good! That lion one especially. Thanks for the encouragement today.