Lately, we have been very engaged in all things domestic -- making yogurt and bread and soap, knitting a bit, organizing the babelet's toys in a yes-you-guessed-it Ikea Expedit.
I find myself drawn in by the desires for some combination of a more homemade life, for a tightly-woven urban homesteadish community life, a life with a larger garden and time to tend to it, a life in which I am not on the computer so much.
Last week, one of my dearest old friends and her family came to stay with us for 5 days or so. She and the girls (age 7, 9, 10) are travelling and home schooling and have been for much of the last year, and when they are at home in Minnesota, they go to a Waldorf school, so the travelling schooling is likewise Waldorfian. I find so much about it appealing -- and so much in tune with what I do and want for our family's life. Calm, beautiful wood and simplicity, no flash cards, plastic only where necessary (those stacking cups are essential!), music that fills the soul, deep learning. Long ago, I peeked into the world of Waldorf, but as a rabbi, the Christianity of it just was not a good fit. I've also since found Montessori so appealing in many ways, though not all.
but this just reached in and grabbed me.
(There are two preschools nearby that I imagine I would want to send Nina to, one Montessori, and one which says it is a mix of Montessori, Waldorf, and Gardner. Both are very beloved schools. These days I'm leaning towards the latter -- though it's all theoretical at this point, as we plan to keep Nina at her playcare through next year. It's across the street with only 6 kids, calm and loving and we can pay for only the hours we need.)
For the first couple of days that Sarah and her family were here, I found myself only envious -- envious of their life on a lake, their school 5 minutes from home, the way that their life works so well. As our time together settled in, though, I was able to recognize that theirs has also been an evolution, not some fantasy of perfection from the moment they slipped on their wedding rings. I know we will figure out a good structure of our life, school for Nina, proximity to the things that are important, and we're not quite there yet for the long-term.
I struggle between wanting to be part of the urban fabric and wanting to have room to run and play. Between wanting to be a part of making urban public schools better and wanting my kids to have a beautiful experience of school. Between wanting to be able to walk to our errands, and not having so many errands. I struggle with the fact that we live in one of the most expensive cities in the country, and I would rather not. I would rather live in a good progressive city in the midwest. But we are here for a while (forever?), as my stepdaughter navigates both homes, and our jobs with good structure for our lives are here.
Plus, though the neighborhood is a bit right-leaning for us (as Sarah would say, no raw-milk drinkers), our house is so good for us right now, and likely for a good while. It has enough room, good light, a garden and yard, places to walk to -- the library, a few restaurants, CVS, a good playground, the grocery store -- and is close enough to the things we need these days. Our neighbors are friendly, and it's a safe quiet neighborhood. I don't know what is next, and I can't see it just yet. I think for now, I'm doing ok at trusting this process, but I'd love company in it. And if you've read this far: I'm curious, for those of you with a yet-to-be realized vision, or multiple clashing visions, how do you navigate it?