Looking for milestones? I am sure we could find one everyday if we thought hard enough. However, for me there are two in particular that have taken place today. Firstly, our eldest son Ewan started secondary school. For the remaining days of his summer break, we have been preparing for those steps into independence. Yes, the steps I am sure many mothers and fathers will dread, and yet know, that these are rites of passage that every child needs to take. Catching a bus. Going swimming. Walking into town. Going to shops. Paying for goods. Crossing roads. Talking to people…..the list goes on! All this on their own, or if lucky with the odd friend or two, who are equally finding their way in the world.
What does this bring for parents or guardians? Sleepless nights. The thought processes. The thinking ahead. The million and one possible outcomes of these seemingly simple scenarios. In short let’s face it ‘Worry’, with a big fat ‘W’! As guardians of these precious souls, we are excellent at thinking about ‘what might happen?‘ Believe it or not, we are highly trained navy seals in this very activity. I suppose it is inevitable, seeing as for 11 solid years we have ‘thought‘ for them and ‘done‘ everything. Been one step ahead as it were. Now though, almost taking us by surprise, these small individuals (because they still are!) begin tackling these situations – with gusto!
Embarking on an adventure of a lifetime, they will make their own choices, now becoming decision makers and standing on their own two feet. During these small preparations for Ewan’s first steps into autonomy, it has made me think back to when I was his age. And I remember loving it! The excitement, the wonder and that feeling of complete freedom, allowing us to go anywhere. That journey, taking us into teenage years, then young adulthood, where confidence swells and the world really does feel like your oyster.
This young boy of mine, it turns out is just like me (I guess the apple never falls far from the tree).
He reminds me of ‘me‘. The ‘me’ which was so thrilled by experiencing the world, and the girl who had quiet passions and ambition. I think for a long while , especially since giving up work to look after my children, I have been guilty of slipping into a world of safety. I believe that has happened subconsciously because we want to create a safe universe for them. Alongside safety, has sat confidence, which in my case has decidedly taken a back seat.
And so they say our children teach us, which is the truest of true. Here is my child reminding me that it is OK to take chances, to go on adventures, to ‘have a go’. Thank you my boy, for you have awoken ‘me‘ again and a sparkle has been ignited inside , that I feel is here to stay. That tingling, which you feel deep within your tummy, wriggling to get out and explore.
But adding to this, it is the second milestone which has taken place today which really compounds this feeling. You see my father turned 80 years old.
And you really don’t look it Dad!
He too is a man who takes on adventure all the time, walking out independently and taking on those high peaks in the Black Mountains of South Wales. Feeling free, taking paths of his choosing, confident in his independent solitude…..regardless of age.
So from the young boy to his grandfather, their resolute self determination, is there to not only be admired, but to encourage us all to go find our own adventures wherever they may be. I believe if we all took a look at the people around us, we can all be inspired to do the same. Adventure is out there! Now who’s going to hold my hand?