Our first teatime of the year

It’s strange with only two kids. I’m used to lots of kids, spilled sugar, milk dripping off the edge of the creamer, poetry books strewn across the table. With just the three civilized older homeschoolers (older mom and older kids), things were annoyingly organized, the silences between poems a little profound. I felt a stab of sadness – where have my babies gone?

But a strange thing happened as we began to page through our poetry books and read to each other. All those years of many kids, of trying to read over a nursing baby or noisy toddler, the habits of poetry as a natural part of our lives… well they led to today. Liam (14) and Caitrin (12 on Friday) were engrossed in selecting poems. We must have read twenty. Not only did we read them, but their comments! Clearly they are the youngest of five raised on poetry the way some kids are raised on cartoons (which are also great!):

Oh Lewis Carroll. I remember when I memorized “How Doth the Little Crocodile.”

In co-op on Monday, no one in my class had heard of “Jabberwocky.” Not even the teacher!

I love John Donne.

Oh me too.

Judith Viorst! “When Hanna Moves Away” is so goooood.

Give me the purple poetry book. I love it.

Over and over, they had to read the poems aloud and remember all the times we’ve read them before. At one point, I had to explain why other people didn’t read poetry the way we did: “It’s because a lot of people are intimidated by poetry. They don’t know that you can begin with rhymes and jokes, kids poems and limericks. If they started there, they’d ease into the adult stuff without noticing… like you have!”

The quiet became a soothing space of memories, sighing, reading and sharing. The tea comforted. The table became a feast of words instead of food. And by the end, the transition to biology and math, freewriting and Greek was seamless. Together we sat at the table and tackled the subjects slated for today. By noon, we were finished. It occurred to me how many days when they were young that I longed for a quiet, stress free morning of homeschool.

Today, I received that gift. It’s made all the difference. Fall feels a little less lonely and sad.

6 Responses to “Our first teatime of the year”

  1. Hope says:

    Oh how nice to hear! Thank you for sharing this. Mine are still young (10 and 4) and I am feeling rather insecure about what I’m doing. My fingers are crossed that one day I’ll be in a similar situation. 🙂

  2. Paige says:

    Wow, that actually brought tears to my eyes and inspiration to my soul. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Paula says:

    Your post has reminded me to enjoy where I’m at–homeschooling a 11 and 9 year old with a 3 year old in the mix. Very soon my little guy will sit and listen, but then I will miss those noisy interruptions.

    Thanks Julie

  4. Gaynor says:

    Thanks for your inspiration in so many ways, but especially poetry teas. We are still in the noisy interruption and spilt milk stage and I can’t imagine ever reading John Donne – thank you for reminding me that it will happen, and that I will miss these times!
    Hope your Fall continues to feel less lonely and sad..
    with love.

  5. Jennifer says:

    You’ve made me so eager to begin our school year! I’m hoping for great poetry teatimes with my 13 year old dd this year, just have to get organized after the hurricane evacuations. That tends to throw a wrench into the works!