I feel like my posts have been so negative lately. I’ve shared my struggles and my solutions, and I’ve tried to do it in a way that shows my hopefulness and joy.
And I suppose part of it could be the season. There’s something about autumn that draws me inward towards introspection and it just seems more difficult to post here.
But there’s also just been this feeling of something missing. A sense of nostalgia. I miss the way things used to be.
Way back in the day, when the internet was brand new and all, there was a list on yahoogroups called WE_HS. The list is closed to posting now, but you can actually join and read the archives here. It was a lovely list, filled with lovely women and I am finding myself wondering what happened to them, those dear sweet mothers who shared their lives and ideas so freely when Michael was just a wee baby.
The mothers in this group weren’t perfect. They weren’t trying to convert anyone or live up to anyone’s expectations or present their lives as anything other than what it was. We encouraged one another, shared with one another, lifted one another up. Every Christmas I decorate my tree with ornaments that came from the ornament swap. These were not picture perfect, but ornaments made lovingly and thoughtfully by mamas just like me who likely did it with babes in their arms and little ones lending a helping hand. We were not so much interested in playing “Steiner Says” as we were in finding Truth and Beauty and Simplicity and applying it to our lives. There was less of a sense of living up to someone else’s vision and more a sense of striving together to do what was best for our families. I remember (still, over 10 years later!) one mother saying something along the lines of “I am not devoted to Waldorf or any other method; I am devoted to my child’s heart.”
Not only was this all back in the time before blogs, but it was before the Official Waldorf Community (henceforth known as the OWC, LOL!) accepted that there even was such a thing as a Waldorf homeschooler. For real. Homeschoolers weren’t accepted as “real” Waldorf educators, because everyone knew that real Waldorf education had to take place at a Waldorf School, run by the OWC. We had a real sense of outrage about it, too, but we journeyed on together, each facing one another with a unmoving trust that every single one of us was doing the best we could.
Ideas were shared, adapted, and shared again. People didn’t get angry if someone “stole” their idea; they were happy to have helped. People didn’t flounce when things didn’t go their way; they stayed and talked it out.
We didn’t have any gurus back then, either. We worked together to interpret things the best we could. We didn’t club one another over the head with Steiner quotes or accuse each other of “not being Waldorf enough.” There was no claim by one person that their way was the only way, their idea was the best idea, their interpretation was THE interpretation. Sure we had the occasional person show up just to tell us we were all going to hell, but it was basically a good, safe place.
Maybe I am just getting old and cranky.
I am just REALLY missing this sort of space lately. I miss the days of a neutral, safe, loving community. And that isn’t to say the groups out there aren’t wonderful. There are some incredibly talented and wonderful people sharing generously of their time and their knowledge and their ideas. And there are some voices that I love– Carrie’s Parenting Passageway and Kara’s Rockin’ Granola are just two that come to mind. But I am just missing those early days so very much. I feel like this beautiful style has become less about following my heart and knowing my child, and more about a rat race and keeping up with others.
So, that’s what has been on my heart and mind lately. A nostalgia for the old days, and a wistful sense of missing those mothers who went before me. Elizabeth, Lucie, Claudia, Dianne, and all you other fabulous mothers– I miss you and hope you are doing well.
And thank you.