Updated: Feb 7
I started too late.
My path to holistic living was weak, at best, for most of my adult life. I mean, I preferred to eat organic food, and I tried to manage pain without OTC stuff, but that was pretty much the extent of it during my 20s.
It wasn't until my 30s that I really started paying more attention to the way my family was living, and by then my sons were past the super-formative easy-to-shape age. Having kids at 18 meant survival- off brand fruit snacks, Lucky Charms, and PBS kids.
But it wasn't a total loss.
My daughter was around 2 when I signed up for herb school, and she is the most profoundly affected by growing up holistically. At the time, I was suddenly and thoroughly immersed in a different culture. Smudging, tinctures, nose rings, weird clothes. ENERGY, man.
And it came home with me.
I never forced it, but I think over the past decade my newish habits have seeped slowly into the lives of my children. This is, again, most evident in Heidi, who decided on her birthday that it was a good idea to smudge the area she and her friends would be hanging out in prior to their arrival. At 12, nothing I say is important or cool, but I see glimpses of growing up Earthy. She, who thinks nothing of shooting some echinacea tincture into her mouth with a shrug and a brief grimace before walking away. She, who has been keeping salves for sleep and stuffy noses by her bed for years. If we ever can't find something skin related- it's probably in Heidi's room. When she was 4, she loved stuffing flowers and grass from the yard into spray bottles and jars to make medicine and perfume, like Mommy.
With the boys it's different, because they weren't introduced to this lifestyle till much later in life. But Gabe will still come into my room looking for the Goldenseal salve instead of Neosporin. He's always game for whatever teas I suggest for him. He's down with baths. When I started this journey with herbs I was able to relieve him of his horrible eczema and asthma. That was a HUGE deal for him, and I think knowing this has made him value the power of 'Mom's weird stuff'. And my eldest, Tim, will ask me questions about teas or plants when it applies. Turns out he's a big fan of chamomile. I find it interesting how the level of intensity is affected by how young they were when I started.
If I could do it again, I would have liked to incorporate natural, holistic living much earlier in my children's lives. I see the benefit of having them grow up empowered, empathic, and enlightened. My kids understand why you let a fever run its course, know why you need that water to flush things out, and reach for the honey
when they feel a cold coming on. My kids will actually vocalize that they need a salad or 'something green' when we've been on vacation eating trash. And yes, we talk about poop. A lot. But breaking down those barriers of what our society considers taboo or 'weird' is important. They need to know their bodies, know what is normal for them, and when something is off, both mentally and physically.
I like to think growing up this way has changed their perceptions on how they view our world, and their place in it.
These are all elements of healing.