[blank]Raising children, for anybody, anywhere is a wonderful adventure
that demands more of you than any professional role could ever do.[blank]
[blank]When they come into the world, before they even blink or take their first breath they are already carrying our projected image of their future life. It is natural for a parent to wish the best for their child and imagine the ideal, the impossible even.
Nobody has ever leant over a newborn in a cradle and said “I’ll bet he’ll grow up unhappy”; or “Looks like a failure to me “, or “reckon he’ll grown up mean”!
When we gaze at a baby we feel sure that their future life will hold happiness, success, beauty and harmony. We may not imagine them, or even wish them, to be multi-millionaires, or a future president of the country, but we do like to aspire for the best on their behalf.
As they begin to grow into toddlers, young children, teenagers we happily accept that maybe they are not top of the class, or do not have the perfect silhouette, or can’t sing in tune … hey! that doesn’t matter at all, we just love them more and more.[blank]
[blank]Then they get through their study years and start out in life as young adults. And we start over. It can be hard to stand back and say “this is your life honey, I’m sure you’ll make all the right decisions, you just go for it”.
It can be hard to drop our role as advisor and guide, to face the fact that they are allowed to do what they wish with their own life, and that actually in whatever their chosen domain may be, they probably know a bunch of stuff already, that we know nothing about.
As mum to four ‘children’ aged between 16 and 23, I find myself an ‘active spectator’, watching from the sidelines as several of my offspring start their own lives .
A bit like when I used to watch my girls in their horse-jumping competitions. I could help them prepare the pony, I was allowed to grease the leathers, and adjust the bridle, to polish their boots even, but once they crossed the start line they were out there on their own.
What they made of their competition was between them and their mount. I could shout, encourage, hold my breath, gasp from behind the wooden fence, it didn’t make any difference: it was their performance, their ambition and their call.
I’m not sure why I am writing this today. Maybe because I’m spending so much time on the phone with daughters and sons living their first real adventures. I am so flattered when they ask for my opinion. So delighted when they call just to say how things are going. So pleased that I am still invited to be part of their young and exciting lives.[blank]
[blank]I never had any specific idea of how my children would live their adult lives, I guess I just wanted them to be happy.
I don’t really mind if they work in an office, or if they get their kicks protecting the Amazon forest, or if they decide to risk their savings and start their own business and go it alone.
Life is a learning curve, for children and for their parents. As our children learn to find their own way, so we learn to decipher each new direction and in the end I guess, it is all about love…. and trust
So tell me please, how hard or easy have you found it to watch your ‘little ones’ take flight? If you are happy to share your experience, I’d love to hear how it went for you.[blank]
Thank you for reading me.
All illustrations by one of my favourite impressionists, the French 19th century artist Berthe Morisot[blank]