I keep asking myself if we're doing the right thing for Felix. Homeschooling, travelling the country. With no real plans of when we'll stop. No fixed address. No piece of land to call home. Homeschooling suits us, suits him, he loves the freedom he has in his education and his unlimited potential. We'll travel for perhaps a year or two. It's difficult to say.
I won't ever forget the sound of his sobbing the night before we left our home for the last time. He and I sat under a full moon on the bridge suspended above our creek. The creek was his playground. His classroom.
Our home was part of who he was, I know we were always meant to spend a chapter there with him, for him.
They say your children are your greatest teachers. I have to agree. His appreciation for nature influenced me to see it for more than I ever had, having been caught in the rat race of the city for the previous 18 years. While I knew our surroundings were beautiful, he opened my eyes and my heart to a depth of appreciation for Mother Nature I hadn't known, a side of me I was yet to meet.
He'd make you walk bare foot so you could feel the softness of the soil or into the icy cold creek water telling you it really wakes you up. He'd show you rocks and make you really see each line or marking and envision the story it told. He'd have you imagining the life of a certain tree and why it's trunk twisted the way it did toward the sun through a gap in the overhead canopy. He'd save bees from drowning in the smallest puddles and ensure their life was extended even for a few additional moments. He would befriend the smallest lizard and carry it in is pocket during sunlight and put it to bed beside him in a purpose built habitat. He treated his only surviving chick as a house member, allowing her privileges usually awarded to humans and ensuring her safety by carrying her on his shoulder as he went about his day. Our 4 year old Bull Arab was introduced as his brother and treated accordingly.
The love for his surroundings on those 60 acres was immeasurable and taking him away from that felt cruel. There was a 6 month lead up to leaving. From putting the home on the market to the final day of settlement.
It's been almost 7 months since we could no longer call 168 our own. The creek belonged to someone else from 1pm that day. Our bridge, he and his Dad built it, it was no longer ours. The kitchen bench, his Dad made, we'd surround it daily with neighbours where Felix would laugh and share stories or listen and feel loved, we could no longer meet there. His bedroom filled with containers homing insects and lizards, crystal and creek rock collections, it was empty. Our lounge-room where music played from sunrise to bedtime, the three of us would snuggle or dance, it was silent. Our home, all that he knew, was sold.
That chapter, that season, it was over. And the guilt set in.
Childhood is fleeting. We really don't get long with them before they leave home.
In this short season with him, I hope we get it right.
I only have one child. I'm learning about motherhood as I go. And so making decisions that go against the norm can be hard. Mainstream school, the norm. Buying a forever home in a suburban neighbourhood where kids play in the street, the norm. Joining a local sporting team and dedicating Saturday mornings to join likeminded families, the norm.
We do none of this.
Thankfully Jason and I are on the same page and both believe that life is too short to not be taking risks and seeking adventure.
We've lived in our van for 7 months. A life so different to the norm.
Felix speaks regularly of our old house. That 7 year long chapter. He dreams of someday visiting the new owners. He wants to show them where he played in the creek. And which room was his. He says he'll tell them about the time he and his Dad built the bridge together.
Although broken hearted as we left our home, not understanding why his parents would make such a decision, he has found happiness in our new season. He loves the tiny space we now live in and our transient life. He is happy. And when I see his joy, how content he is, I exhale. The guilt of leaving our home, dissipates.
I trust our decision to sell. To choose a life on the road for a period. I know in the depths of my being, we chose the right path.
Exploring this entire country as a ten year old, with such wonder and freedom, it's a privilege. And I hope someday Felix looks back on the decisions we made for him with thanks. And doesn't feel he ever missed out on anything, even when we didn't follow the path of the norm.