There is something truly wonderful about these short, dark, cozy winter days.
That's not my usual tune in February, which is far and away my least favorite month for exactly the reasons above: the days are short, dark, cold and devoid of beauty.
Unless, that is, we choose to find it. To go after it. To create it.
It has been a season of learning and discovery for me. Or, perhaps more accurately, a season of uncovering, dusting off and remembering truths I used to know and have forgotten.
Life is too short to live even one month devoid of beauty.
Beautiful things are happening in our house. In the midst of chilly winter days, our hearts and minds have been ablaze with a world of words. We've delighted in the simplicity and hardships of life a hundred and fifty years ago through they eyes of Laura Ingalls. We've smelled the kitchen in the Ingalls home, we've shared their trials and worried over whether Pa would make it through a blizzard.
It has been wonderful to spend our days together, over a pile of legos or a coloring book and a cup of cocoa, sharing stories of heroism to feed our imaginations. To explore, at our own pace, music, poetry, art. To study Latin. To revel in history and ancient cultures. To sing through math and geography.
These are the blessings I get to surround myself with during our long winter days indoors.
There are so many moments that I am excited and inspired on this wonderful, bizarre journey where the children never get on a school bus and the house is never clean.
One of the very most gratifying things - like, ever - happened recently.
My big girl learned to read. Not to sound out, which she has been able to do for a long time. Not recognize a sight word here or there. Not read a short sentence or stumble through a long one, full of choppy hesitation.
Read. All fluent and grown up like, from a book with chapters in it that she picked up and purposed to read... and then she did.
It was pretty amazing.
I know that all children will eventually learn to read, so it isn't the act itself that filled me with such emotion it actually brought me to tears (although the thought that my baby is a reader is pretty incredible. Why does time move so quickly?!).
No. It's the thought that I was fully present for each part along the way, offering encouragement and soothing frustrated tears and even offering a (hopefully) gentle push when it was called for. That this is the first of so many hills we will conquer together, side by side. That I have the privilege of watching her struggle, keep trying and succeed. That it will be me to help her through the next challenge (tomorrow).
Her proud, happy face tells the whole story of how she felt about it all.
I forget sometimes how foreign and unnatural this way of life can look from the outside, and how the I'd never have the patience for that!s and but what about socialization?!s can role in and mount up so powerfully against something that is truly so simple. Not easy, but simple.
And so, so worthwhile.