The Reality of Family Life on the Road- Rain for the Limping Soul- Philippines
It’s raining outside. Since twin Michele Fox from El Paso told me once that she liked the rain, I thought, “Oh, that’s an option?” for I always thought you were supposed to complain when it rained. But she liked it, so back in tenth grade I decided to love it too. I love precipitation sprinkling, misting, pounding, slanting and slapping, whirling, with dramatic booms and clashes, and pitter-pattering. I especially adore when it rains and I take the time to watch it, listen to it, converse with it. The rain always has something to say, something to wash away, something to purify. Like Gaia’s water cycle itself, the rains come to remind us nit-witted simpletons of the never-ending cleansing and washing away that happens in our bodies, minds, and souls. We’re learning every day, even if we’re stubborn and resist it.
She reminds me to stop and note that I, too, am a part of this natural world, that I too am rain.
And so, it is with great joy in my heart that I share with you that it’s raining here in MoalBoal, Philippines, and all that stuckness from the miserable Country #12 Contest post and the detailed family misery in When You and Your Family Are Falling Apart has washed away. Like the rain. We thought we were homeless again, and now we’re not; we thought we were spiraling into perpetual lostness, and now we’re not; we thought we were sick of being the nomadic family, and now we’re not. Have a seat friends. I’ll boil the water.
Working Through Confusion
Since the last time we’ve talked, Kobi and I have talked and talked and talked those all day, late night into the wee hours, and even one that started at 4am type of talks . Copy, paste, repeat, determined to work through this one in our minds, then in our hearts, then in our behaviors and actions, in our decisions that create our reality, and then lastly, deep in our souls. That’s a load of work for “the two of us, deciding what to do.” The little song below I sang in honor of my friend K who is going through a ridiculously long rough patch in her family life. We all have choices, and mine are very blessed and simple compares to hers, but still, we felt this stuck to a life we no longer wanted to live. We’ve known it for a while in The Nomadic Family No Longer Nomadic but it slapped us so strong, so blindingly, that we remained mute, deaf, and dumb, dazed in the glare of our own inability to put our lives together.
And then, clarity slowly seeped in. Then, we figured out (again) the formula for success for our family, we figured out how to create a long-term and short-term life plan that deeply satisfies the needs of all five of us. That’s sweet beans! I realized that, as a mom, I will give up on insisting that they do studies, will forfeit on eating meals together, will let them play on plugged in entertainment all day, and will allow them to eat crap for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if (huge IF) I get to put my kids to bed lovingly, with the attention and quality parenting they deserve, and not in the disgusting alternative to barking at them to shut it before I freak. When they go to bed when Kobi and I are already exhausted, we don’t put them to bed, but get crazy watching them kill each other, and then help. But, when we exercise some discipline, and put them to bed early, we get to enjoy the lovely two-hour, yes, you read that correctly, the two-hour night time routine we all adore.
Our Nighttime Routine
7:00 in bed, no more ‘but I just forgot,’ and ‘oh, mommy, please five minutes’ IN BED at 7 o’clock, means 7 with two zeros behind it
7- 7:45ish get into the bedtime mood, read quietly, talk, lego/play quietly, color in bed, sometimes they do a head start of their lessons
7:45ish- 8:30 lights off, flashlight on. We read to them books that we feel will add character, creativity, and imagination to their souls. We read books we are passionate about so that we a- learn with the kids and b- are inspired and enthusiastic to revisit and share it with them. We have done books Kobi and I adored in our lives or stories we always wanted to get around to. So, we read a chapter book aloud, with translating most lines and tons of discussions and side conversations inspired by that line or word that triggered that childhood memory that I share, or that is relevant in their lives. Real vocabulary building, plot and character development shared, bonding over a story, teaching morality and life-lessons and open-mindedness in a unilateral discussion. My favorite part of being a positive role-model in mommyhood, and when it’s Kobi months to read, his.
8:30- 9:00 scratch backs, cuddle, and sing each kid two songs of his choice. If we have time, we do healing mantas about loving ourselves, inspiration, learning, or growth. Good stuff that amazing childhood memories are made of.
9:00 good night, but no errands they forgot to take care of and silly stuff, good. night.
Then, Kobi and I have an end to the day. Whoever is reading in those months their book put the kids down in total love and with deep affection. We have time for ourselves afterwards and go to bed usually earlier than later, and start the next day early, and not dragging ourselves out of bed with an alcohol-less emotional hangover.
The Reality Of Family Life On The Road
We live a life of exceptions. We met this amazing group of adorable Korean girls who adore the kids and were invited to dinner with them, there’s a cool festival, or it’s hot as hell all day so you only venture out of the a/c close to dusk. We’re on a plane, train, or bus all day, or studies dragged on forever and we have to get out and do something fun. The movie’s starts at 4pm or we come home from a fun day out in a good time for showers, dinner, and bed to whoops! discover that we have nothing at home to make food with. And so, we’re constantly stretched by beautiful temptations that take us way out of our plans and into something magical and serendipitous.
Kobi and I love flexibility and carpe diem our lives so we say, “Come one, just this once!” or “This is so cool! She has a new friend to play with, clearly, we’ll let them play,” or “Orazi’s best friend is on Skype from Israel,” or…. and there lies the problem. When we were in all of those unreal HPL 5-star plus hotels, we let them enjoy the freedom, and likewise when grandmother calls at bedtime, and when we’re somewhere new, and… you get it. But, what you don’t get is that the endless freedom, the not knowing what’s going on tomorrow, the being put to bed without parental affection (which for our kids translates as abandonment from your love and that which lulls me to sleep), all of that creates kids who fight, whine, can’t handle life. It is not fair to deprive them of their deeply instilled life-line routine of acceptance and love in a constantly changing world where the five of us create the only long-lasting social support network.
I speak for our children alone. [Note: This is not an invitation for those of you who know perfectly how to raise your perfect children and openly give unsolicited advice to others. I don’t care how you parent or what you would suggest. This is my blog and I’ll cry if I want to. I want merely to share, and get support. I’m not looking for anything else. So, as I often tell Kobi, “Don’t offer any suggestions, just listen,” so just listen, OK?]
I speak for our children in our family at this time in our lives- total freedom does not work for us. It leaves us all bitter and confused, and pretty much dysfunctional. We love order and knowing and feeling pride in seeing long-term results. We adore cuddling with our kids and giving them our undivided attention and love in a routine (that granted, begs to be broken, but none-the-less places great time in all that we value most and want to pass on to our children). It is not easy to thwart off all temptations and we don’t. There are endless possibilities to break what works for us. I would say we put our kids to bed in the ideal manner, I wanted to give you a percentage but I can’t. Maybe Kobi can guesstimate it for you, but I can’t.
What I Can Tell You
What I can tell you is the following:
- We love doing studies as well-rested, relaxed, fun-loving parents with well-rested, calm, curious, genius children who deeply love and take great pride in their education.
- We love enjoying all that life has to offer and at the same time, work very conscientiously towards meeting the framework that keeps us sane.
- We see that when we go to sleep in our loving way and on time, we wake up differently, and the entire day is starkly different. (Kobi and I are both night owls who thrive on 2-3 am nighters, but that doesn’t make us good parents, at all.)
- I am so grateful that I have a partner who is willing to stick it out and talk and talk, and try again, until we find North again and work through it. He lets me read him some of my articles, like How To Regain Sanity When You and Your Family Fall Apart, and deeply respects me, and listens. Sweet child. This January 5th, we’ll be together for 20 years. God, I was lucky that the angels brought me this guy, and that I listened.
- I love it that we’re settled in for the rest of our time in the Philippines! Next:Malaysia, Nepal, India, Israel.
- We’re ready to stop being nomadic, to go home, and give each kid his own room, friends, cousins.
- We plan to travel every summer unless we get home and feel this huge itch to travel again, in which case we’ll only go and settle in communities with alternative schools and do small trips from there, but have a home-base and friends and school that our kids have as a basis. Our homeschooling days, after so many years back home and on the road, are winding down.
- It feels really great to know what you want, to have that clarity, for you take a deep breath and feel your heart warming the entirety of your chest because you know, you know, and that feels amazing.
Thank you for allowing me to take you from muck to miracle. I know very soon (maybe in an hour) I won’t know again, but right now, I do. Tonight and last night and the night before, we put our kids to bed in the Klaf tradition, and it feels good. We’ve been diving for the last three days (activity out of the house does us good too!) and have spent lunches playing games again (which we haven’t done in a long time).
So, I see that this could go on and on, but no, friends. Despite the temptation to keep sharing, it is 10:13 pm here in MaolBaoh and the other four members of my family are asleep. We woke up at 4 today to swim with the whale sharks and today, at lunch, Kobi and I shared the same thought at the same time (we do this type of telepathy a lot. I guess it comes with the territory). We both want to start waking up at 5:30ish in the mornings and see how glorious the days feel like that.
I’m going to see the alarm and see how self-discipline works for us. I’ll let you know. And please, don’t be scared to comment, I’m just learning to be clear and a bit aggressively so when I need to. I don’t want any suggestions. Save it. Just be a friend, the type that listens and shares their world without any superior I know the answer insights. Cuz, frankly, I’m not interested in your clarity regarding my life. I’ve got my own magic ball and right now, this moment, she’s working just fine. That is the code word if you read this all, so use it in the comment and you know the routine.