If I were Captain Von Trapp and I had a whistle, I’d blow a short sharp trill and my children would come running. They would line up, oldest to youngest, feet together, arms at their sides, eyes straight ahead, shoulders back. I’d blow a long note followed by two short ones and the young lady at the head of the line would step smartly forward and announce, “I’m Felicity. I’m 24. I’m the little big sister.”
But I’m not Captain Von Trapp and I don’t have a whistle and Felicity doesn’t even live at home any more ...
But imagine that line, that line of children extending from oldest to youngest. It will be a very good way of introducing my family to you.

Yes, at the head is Felicity, daughter number one who left home six years ago. She lives in Perth which is right on the other side of Australia, about as far as you can travel from here, without leaving the country. Needless to say, we don’t see her very often. Next time we meet up she will be Felicity-the-bride as she marries her beloved, Graham.

I blow that imaginary whistle and a tall, bearded young man with closely cropped hair steps forward. If you are lucky you will see a most heart-warming grin. This is Duncan, I’ve-just-finished-my Bachelor-of-Arts Duncan. He is 22. Most people believe he is shy. They are all mistaken.  I would say he’s reserved. Just get him talking about movies or film making…
Peer closely at the line. You will notice a big empty space next to Duncan. The space is a four-children-sized space. Yes, these are the babies we lost before we even got to meet them. It is a sad yawning gap.

Next is Callum, 19, cheeky grin, charming, my Sons, Scrapes and Love son. He is going to make a wonderful, friendly, compassionate nurse… as long as he stays focused!

Trill! Trill! Trill!

“Imogen. Sixteen. Musician. I want to be a doctor.” The first of my Speed Angel Sisters, confident and capable.

“Charlotte. Thirteen. Just give me an egg box and I will make you anything you desire.” Needlewoman, knitter, crocheter, creator extraordinaire.

On the floor is a photo. This is Thomas’ spot in the line.  "Thomas, how are you doing in Heaven with God? I guess you're all grown up." Now you wouldn’t think that a child who lived for one day would have much to say, would you? But the funny thing is that Thomas always seems to make his way into my stories. He says, “I’m part of the family too, Mum.” He adds his special touch to my stories and to our lives.

Another empty space and then Sophie, ten years old, beautiful big eyes, kind-hearted, everyone’s friend.
Yet another space.

Then: “Gemma-Rose. Seven years old. Why can’t I cook dinners and use the sewing machine? Sigh! Sigh! I know I am the best hugger and kisser but I want another job too! I want to be bigger.”
 A final empty space, a sad way to end.
And that’s all. There lined up is the Elvis family: Felicity, Duncan, Callum, Imogen, Charlotte, Thomas, Sophie and Gemma-Rose and seven unnamed babies.
I feel rather distressed about that. Yes, I have to face the fact I didn’t give those most wanted children a dignified burial or even a name, except for baby number 15 who I think of as Anthony Plunket. Do you think they mind? Do you think they feel unloved? No, I think they understand and forgive their mother, who found everything too much to deal with. But I have been pondering… I have been wondering:  what names did God give them? … Perhaps it’s not too late.

Oh yes, I almost forgot. You haven't met my beloved, my Dean's Medallist of a Husband. He is a primary school teacher which is rather a funny thing for an unschooling father to be!
Introductions have been made. We have moved to the table, the long wooden table, the unschooling table. The kettle is on and Sophie appears with a huge double batch of Erin-chocolate-chip muffins. Come on. Sit down. Where shall we start?
Noreen is asking, “What is unschooling?”
“Ah!” I reply. “It means different things to different families.”
But I know that isn’t very helpful.  “Look, next time we meet, I’m going to start at the beginning. I’m going to tell you how we began our homeschooling adventure.”
Will you join me? I very much hope so.

Post a Comment

  1. Hi Sue,

    It's very nice to "meet" your family! I am looking forward to reading more stories!

  2. What a delightful and beautiful family Sue!! I'm so glad you started this blog as well, can't wait to hear about all your adventures together :) Many blessings, Meredith

  3. Oh how lovely!
    Thank you for the von Trapp-ish introduction of your beautiful family, and thank you for including your heavenly children (I mean the ones who are there in heaven; they are all heavenly in the sense of delightful and dear!). No, I don't think your saints mind not having earthly names. The Lamb gave them their real names straight-away, don't you think?
    What a beautiful beginning to your new blog...Congratulations!

  4. Thank you Willa, Meredith and Suzie for visiting my blog and meeting my family. How kind you all are! I hope you will add to the discussion as I continue our story. God bless you all!

  5. Suzie, "The Lamb gave them their real names straight-away" - what a beautiful image! Thank you. I love that thought and it's very consoling. God bless!

  6. hello sue. i'm new here and look forward to getting to know you better.

    pax Christi - lena

  7. Enjoyed meeting your family; we too have an introvert who appears shy but really comes alive in smaller settings when comfortable.

  8. Thank you Lena, for visiting my blog and meeting my family. You have an attractive and interesting blog. I popped over and got absorbed in your stories. Perhaps we can share our homeschooling experiences? Please stay in touch! God bless you!

  9. Hi Erin, I wonder which of your children is the introvert. They are all so different, aren't they? Some more different than others and it can be a temptation to wish they had been made using the more usual mould, or even to try to change them. But every child is so special and individual. I think I want to write something about this in the future! Thank you for coming back and leaving a comment. God bless!

  10. I pray for you and yours.

    God bless.

  11. Thank you, Victor for stopping by and meeting my family. Prayers for you too! Another 'Anonymous' comment! Sue

  12. I'm looking forward to hearing more about your journey, Sue, and, also, picking up some tips from you:)

  13. You are going to feature in my first story, Vicky. Do you remember how you and Barbie were my first students? Picking up tips? Yes, from each other. Let's share!

  14. Sue,
    Great family pictures! To be honest with you I have no idea what unschooling is but I know it has something to do with homeschooling which I'm very interested in. Looking forward to your posts!

  15. Thank you, Mary. So pleased you hopped over and visited my new blog. I love sharing with you! I'm still have trouble posting comments. I'm going to be Anonymous again! Sue

  16. Dear Sue,

    I too was the bossy oldest sister, with three little sisters to teach, but I have to say I have no idea if they learned a thing from my school.

    I love that your babies are all remembered here...yes, they are named in heaven: the Lamb gave them their real names straight-away. Thanks for that, Suzie.

  17. Amy - " bossy oldest sister"- we're definitely twins!

    I'm really glad I shared the story of my unnamed babies. I was a bit hesitant, just for a second, thinking I sounded like an awful mum, but everyone has been so full of empathy and love and comforting words. Being honest opens up doors though it feels risky!

  18. Sue! The very first story I read was about Thomas and the picture of him is beautiful and yes, heartbreaking, but I can see how he makes his way in this world, as well as in Heaven. If I were to name the others I would say God would call them Michael, Glenn, Kyle, Sean, Aubrey and Jean. I don't know why, I just sense that. Glenn came to me second and is my father's name; it works for a boy as well as a girl, as do the rest of them. Your family is exquisite and charming and I look forward to reading more of their exploits! I, interestingly enough, am an only child, so it is fun to make the acquaintance of large families! Truth be told, you have a marvelous family; not all large families are fun. Talk to you soon, and many thanks for sharing! Mary xoxo

    1. Mary,

      You have met my family! Actually this post is a bit old. I should have updated the link:


      The problem is children grow and change so quickly, and stories go out of date!

      I'm going to write your names for my children in my journal. They seem rather special to me. Do you have a 7th one?

      I didn't plan to have such a big family. I had my own very definite ideas about my life until one day I realised I'd lost all control over it. Oh to be at the bottom of a pit of despair and know I coudn't help myself. That wasn't a great feeling. I thought I'd better put someone else in charge of my life. It took a lot of letting go. I really am a stubborn person. God's doing a perfect job! (Though we are far from perfect.)

      So great to chat. Thank you for being interested enough to read some old posts!


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