I was never a ‘baby’ person. Other people’s babies were lovely sure, and nice to cuddle and pass back, but I never craved a baby. A child on the other hand was a different matter. For many years before I had my own, I knew I wanted that to be a part of my life.
Someone to watch over, nurture and marvel at. Someone to surprise me with their funny tricks, and to teach things to.
The truth is, the teaching is thoroughly in reverse most of the time. My kids have taught me so much, and this year has been a REALLY big one on so many fronts, mostly because my kids are getting to be so much bigger. Independent. Capable. Big.
This morning I read this post, which made me laugh for all the right reasons, and brought one of my biggest lessons from this year back to me in full technicolour.
I have always believed that I may be their mother, but that doesn’t make me their dictator. It’s a dance between what they want, and what will work for their own benefit/happiness/growth/safety. I listen more than plan. Almost everything is open for discussion – if only to say why it’s NOT going to happen. I flatter myself that they are rounded individuals with a balanced view and uncommon consideration, because they are part of the process. But there are times when we all need to check ourselves and ask if what we are doing is right.
It was a shock to realise, for instance at the beginning of the year, that my eldest would be going to high school in a year, and didn’t have basic skills such as crossing a main road on his own. We drive most places, and walk together too, but I rarely just send him off to play in the traffic, so when a classmate’s Mum suggested they walk home together one day a week crossing main roads and letting themselves in for a few hours instead of doing after-care I was confronted with all sorts of fears and trust issues. Big ones.
They were fine.
And responsible. And better for the freedom and trust.
When we came to making fairly major decisions about schooling for high school years, and our best option would involve an early move, I stressed majorly about the sadness that might bring. There were tears at first, more than one heart was shaken. It took a well meaning reminder that we are the grown ups for a reason, and his life experience was too short to be part of making such hefty decisions to give me the strength to make the decision and deliver it, but it was an important lesson to me that we might be in all this together, but someone has to be the bad guy for good reasons sometimes.
He is fine.
And there has been excitement in the change, which was unexpected for all of us, and has so far been brilliant.
Somebody wants to go to a concert and can’t. There has been heartbreak there, but it’s just not possible, and I’m getting better at not feeling bad for saying no, and accepting that the consquences also bring gifts of patience & trust & knowing that with more planning things might be possible. The difficulties don’t have to be all ours, and it’s OK for them to learn to ride and roll with them too.
Crikey – the GROWTH! The freedom!
I am sure the teenage years will bring dramas and high emotion. Risks, and deceptions discovered, and boundaries stretched to the limits (which is how it should be) but the gifts in parenting come unexpectedly and a firmer heart is one of them. Never thought I would say that, but there you go.
And there is the knowledge that a tree that bends and moves with the wind will grow stronger, and be more resilient. And a happier adult too, because troubles will be easier to roll with. At least, that’s been my experience.