“Brace for impact.” That is what I thought as Kyle screamed, “WHY DID WE HAVE TO LEAVE SCHOOL?”
And by leave school Kyle is referring to what his parents did to him earlier this year.
This past January, after the boys finished their first semester, we withdrew them from school. We withdrew Kyle from both track and his favorite activity, Ultimate Frisbee. The best he could do is buy and then play frisbee along our way. Because I am not a fan of creating a homeschool curriculum and because the law requires my boys to stay in school, I enrolled them in online school. We ripped the boys out of school because our living conditions were tenuous, and I wanted an opportunity to travel with them before they got any older. As of today, our living conditions are definitely better, but are still tenuous, we have crisscrossed the globe, and we’re not nearly done. . Doing school online has afforded us this crazy, road-less-traveled life, but it hasn’t been without its heartache and frustration.
Case in point: days like today. They are often Mondays, the grace-period-day, before all of the week’s homework is due.
Kyle has been pacing and screaming: “Mom, I hate online school. I can’t do this!” I know his screams do not have as much to do with online school as they do our crazy, current life. “Mom, I need to run. I can’t stand it. Can I run up and down the stairs?”
“Sure. Sure.” I said, “But take your phone. I am worried about you.”
(I took his phone away last night. He gave it to me this morning.) Both boys are behind in school, and today I insisted they finish. I know why they are behind. Last week we checked out of our hotel, moved into a temporary apartment, and the next day, moved into another temporary apartment. We did this all while Dave was many miles away. We were up late and eating off of leftover, plastic take-out silverware. Now, in our current landing spot, we were sleeping on mattresses placed on the hip, urban, loft-style, but nevertheless, cement floor. Adventurous, right? Vagabond – for sure. Nomadic – most definitely. I knew it would not be easy. It has not been easy.
Kyle ran the stairs, came back and continued right where he left off, “Mom, why did you do this to us?”
Fallout. I knew our decision to tear the boys out of school would have consequences. I knew there would be days like today, days when everything seems wrong; when what we have gained seems lost.
“Kyle, just give me ten minutes.” I pleaded, and moved on to the next thing.
And somewhere between 3:43 and 4:30PM Kyle calmed down. He is currently sitting behind me with headphones on, working on his English.
From the other room I hear, “Mom. I can’t. I do not know how to write.”
“Eli, give me a second.” I responded.
I went into his room. “Mom, I do not understand your notes.” Yes. It is true. I helped Eli outline his paper. “Mom, your notes do not make sense. I do not think the way you do.” And in his defense, he is correct. My notes are all over the place, and really, who thinks like me?
I was caught up in fixing when I forgot to listen. Instead of reading what he had written, I jumped in, editing and adjusting. I saw his tears. I felt terrible. I started to read, “Eli, you are an excellent writer.” He is an excellent writer. He is clear, thoughtful and well spoken. In fact, I wish I could write like my son.
“Mom.” I get up, turn around and Eli is standing there. Kyle is now lying in my bed, and thankfully, doing homework. “Mom.” Eli continues. He reaches his arms out and gives me a hug.
Somehow we push through this cold and rainy day. We must. And then things like the following happen. In the midst of stair running, and screams from every corner, Brodie Smith (@brodiesmith21) favorited my Tweet of Kyle and Eli playing Frisbee atin the Bonneville Salt Flats. Because Kyle loves ultimate Frisbee I asked him, “Kyle, do you know who Brodie Smith is?” According to Kyle and Eli, Brodie Smith is the most famous Ultimate Frisbee player in the world. He has over a million Youtube followers, and more than eighty-four thousand Twitter followers. His tagline is, “I throw Frisbees all around the world.” I did not know he was a famous traveling Frisbee dude until he favorited my Tweet. Kyle’s hard edges turned into excitement as I told him. Yes, it is the little things.
Of course this Frisbee neophyte had to respond. I posted another picture of the boys and of course it was a picture of them playing Frisbee in Costa Rica earlier this year. Here is our how conversation went:
— Brodie Smith (@Brodiesmith21) May 18, 2015
Kyle is done with his homework now. Eli is almost finished too. My guess is now that the pressure is off their perspective is coming back. Yes, their lives are different. Yes, it can get really lonely, and online school also sucks. Not knowing where we will land is the killer. In the past twelve months, my awesome sons have also played Frisbee in the following places: England, Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, Hong Kong, The Salt Flats, Northern California, Big Sur andalong the Pacific Coast Highway, Southern California, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Provo, and Costa Rica. And I bet if I asked them now they would tell me it was totally worth it.
And when I ask Kyle if it was worth it, he says, “one-hundred percent.”
I agree, and think, “Who gets to do this?”