One of the biggest changes I have made in my life since becoming a parent is slowing down. I have vivid memories of always driving too fast in my late teens/early twenties because I was so busy! Often working several jobs, going to school and balancing time with family members and friends, at the time I felt happy and it was probably what I needed then, I am so glad I don’t feel that way anymore.
Living overseas has really helped in this area of our life. Even our first two years of parents when we lived in the UK, I felt like I had to do, do, do. It feels quite natural slow down here in a new city, we know less people so there are fewer obligations. I guess I could be running around like crazy trying to meet people and make friends, but now I trust that it will happen when it is time. I make an effort but also relish in our slow, slow days.
This is an aspect of unschooling that I really love, allowing time for children to move at their own pace, which is often much slower than ours. Every time we leave the house I am grateful I am not on a time constraint to get Little T to school on time or myself to work. It is not always enjoyable to wait for him but I am glad I have the opportunity to do so.
Waiting can reveal such wonderful things. We recently visited the Abu Dhabi Children’s Library, an amazing place which deserves a post all of its own. On our last visit I noticed that Little T waited patiently as I gave my details and held up his hand to receive the wristband children are required to wear to visit. This is a big change to our prior 4 or 5 visits. Before he refused to interact with the staff at this check in and would not consider wearing the band. Observing this I made accommodations for him, for the first visit I held the band and stayed with him at all times. On future visits, he began to allow the band on the back of his shirt, and then this time it was his choice to allow the staff member to put the band on him. It really does seem like a tiny thing, but I noticed it and I am sure he did as well. He was given the space to make decisions for himself and to come around to it in his own time. By respecting his opinion I was putting our relationship first, which is what is most important for us.