this week i have spent several days visiting my children's school for portfolio share. it has been an interesting and emotional week. i feel there are many changes in the air... school ending and a new baby coming soon being a huge part of it of course. it is also a time of decision making. what direction do we want our family to head in? we have had a lovely experience at school this year, but also many challenges. we have met so many wonderful people in the community, which i'm so grateful for. now comes the time to decide of it is right for us though. we haven't made any final decisions but i can say i have come to realize how much i have missed my children this year. i feel like my time with them is so limited and hurried, and i've never had to experience that before. i never thought i would consider homeschooling as a long term commitment but as i weight the positives and negatives it is starting to look more appealing. there are never any easy answers, and sometimes it is amazing how the answers to the same questions change over time and how the questions themselves begin to change too.
after my daughter's portfolio share on wednesday i had some time to kill before pick up. i didn't feel like making the walk home and then back again so i decided to stop at the zoo. i have never been there by myself! it was nice. i mostly sat and watched the gorillas being fed. they have had quite a few babies born here. the mama i am most familiar with has cared for twins and has another baby who is two. she is very protective, never letting the baby out of her sight or even her grasp. she will calmly eat an orange while holding onto him with the other hand. he spends most of his time on her back. the zoo keeper told us she was the same with the twins, which was more difficult to do. she often held one by each hand until they were around three years old when they the first finally broke free of her grip and went off to explore. at this point she knew they were ready.
the newest mama is the one pictured above. she has a one year old daughter who is the tiniest little thing. watching her, i was surprised how much freedom her mother gives her. she runs around on her own to explore already... climbing into a hammock, sitting next to the silver back as if it was no big deal, riding on the backs of other gorillas and climbing a high rope without assistance or fear. her mother was often close by but seemed unfazed by these explorations, only gathering her up when she was ready to move on. the contrast between the two mothers surprised me. being familiar with the first mother, i guess i had assumed that is how all gorillas must mother. i was wrong. they each have their own personality and technique, often influenced by the way they were mothered. each mother seemed calm and comfortable and both babies seemed the same as well. neither way seemed better... just different. i am realizing how many ways there are to mother your children... even each individual child can have different needs. i have always known this of course but i guess i have also over-thought the importance of these choices. they can seem hugely influential and overwhelming. i am beginning to see that it is perhaps better to approach it on a more intuitive level though... to let go of over-thinking everything. there can be no perfect right way of mothering. maybe there is only doing what feels right in the moment and hoping that your children and you are getting what you need. i certainly haven't figured it out but it always feels good when you find yourself in these moments of changing your perceptions. i'll let you know how things go.