We’ve barely been to the park all winter until this week. He’s learned to climb while I haven’t been watching. Higher and higher he went, more and more daring his stunts, testing the apparatus, using it in ways it wasn’t built to be used. Fearless while I sat quaking, wanting to rush forwards and stand beneath should he fall. I let him explore. Watched him test his limits, which are too far for me to want to think about but I found that he does know when its too to high or too difficult and he will stop on his own when it gets too dangerous. He knows how far is too far. Its how they learn after all. About trust, strength, danger, defeat and a whole lot of other stuff in between.
I remember three years ago, a similar view. Watching a chubby little nappy clad bottom as he struggled up every step like it was a small mountain. My, how he has come along (two at a time, in leaps and bounds) but he still climbs with the same determination. His mountains are much higher these days and they’re only going to get higher that’s for sure. Who knows, perhaps one day they will be mountains.
As I watched him, I thought of all the little, day to day things which I worry about him and I wondered whether I really need to. Look at him! Boisterous, confident and full of energy, just look at him go! And just as I was turning this thought around my mind, he came over to request “little pushes on the kid swings”, and that’s what its all about at the moment. He’s discovering his independence and I’m taking a big step back into the background but every now and then I take a little step forwards again for him. And yes, I will continue to worry about those little things. That’s what mothers are there for isn’t it? To take care of the little worries for him so he can put all of his energy into climbing a little bit higher.
In the midst of the madness that is half term, J and I found ourselves with an unexpected day in which we had Nothing Much Planned and spent a lovely day together at home doing just that: Nothing Much, letting the day take us where it wished, moment by moment.
A day filled with the secretive making of things,
helpful painting of things,
and excited baking (and eating) of things.
We collected eggs (four!), planted roses (me) and blew lots and lots of bubbles (him). We had hot chocolate and marshmallows by the fire and made a shooting range for the Nerf guns before he went to Nana’s for tea.
A wonderfully slow, leisurely day at home, just the two of us.
My son once walked into the middle of the road in front of a car. He was two years old.
I only took my eyes off him for a moment, but a moment is all it takes for a child to walk off the kerb. I didn’t see what happened in the few seconds between looking away from him, and looking back again, but suddenly, my boy was in the middle of the road. And a car was speeding towards him.
In slow motion, I was aware of every thought passing through my mind, realising every scenario which could unfold from that point. I saw the shock in the driver’s face when he was there in front of her and her relief when he was gone again.
I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I had got there a few seconds later than I did. If, instead of stepping onto the safety of the pavement clutching my little boy, I had in that moment been watching my worst nightmare unfold in front of my helpless, outstretched arms and wide-open scream. What if I had been a little further away, what if he had walked out when the car was that little bit closer to him, what if I hadnt looked back around until it was too late?
Thankfully, I can go on wondering and I will never know. For that, I am so grateful.