Would you rather have never had a broken heart? Or does the wonder of having been in love make a broken heart a worthwhile price to pay. How about sad? Would you choose to never be sad ever? If so then how would you be able to quantify happy?
When I was a fairly new parent, with fairly small, new and shiny children I was very guilty of trying to second guess everything, trying to fix it all in advance of them experiencing it. I wanted to remove all trip hazards, avoid all tantrum triggers, pave the way with rose petals and fairy dust and make it all smell sweet, look pretty and have no dangerous areas at all. When I used to sit over Davies’ cot when he was a teeny tiny baby who refused to sleep during any hours of darkness and my mind used to drift in that sleep addled way that new parents will be only too familiar with I didn’t worry about the here and now. I knew that early parenting is pretty darn easy – you only have very basic needs to meet – your baby will be at risk of being too hot, too cold, too hungry, too tired, too overwhelmed by the reality of the world outside your womb. All of these needs can be pretty much met with a cuddle, a feed, a change and some more cuddling. This was within my control, came naturally and while I would have been only too glad of a bit more sleep I was very aware that this was the easy bit compared to what the rest of my life as a mother might hold. Instead I sat there while the Winnie the Pooh cot mobile played it’s tinkly tune over and over again and Davies finally drifted off to sleep and worried about what happened if he got bullied at school when he was 7? What would I do when his first girlfriend dumped him and broke his heart? How would I feel if I hated the woman he fell in love with and settled down with if she was not good enough for him and of course she would not be good enough for him, as if *anyone* would ever be good enough for him!!!
One of the ways in which parenthood, marriage and advancing years (I am nearly 40!) has made me grow up and mature is in realising that I don’t get to be in charge of other people like that. I have to let go, to allow them to make their own way and that actually my role is to be there to gently support, offer unconditional love and then carry on being there no matter what happens. I don’t want my children to have some wrapped in cotton wool, safe and anaesthetised existence – in the same way as I crave the technicolour rollercoaster ride of life with all it’s highs, lows, peaks, troughs, dips, ups, downs and thrills I want them to have that too. Be scared, be excited, be wild, live in full colour and grab everything there is on offer. Live life every single day and experience it all. Why would I chase all that for myself and deny it to Davies and Scarlett?
It’s funny how when you make a really decisive choice to live a certain way it almost shuts down your right to have your down days. It’s seemingly fine to moan about your kids driving you mad in the school holidays for everyone else but if you home educate them then you lose the right to say ‘actually they are doing my head in today’. It’s okay to moan about your job, the traffic, the queues at the supermarket when you live on the mainland but if you decide to head for some remote island you don’t get to have a bit of a whinge when the ferry doesn’t come or you forget to take your torch with you and get stranded in the village because there are no street lights here.
I still have that tendancy to over compensate, I guess I always will. When Davies tells me he is sad today because he misses friends my instant reaction is to ask him if he wants to leave Rum. When I am feeling teary because tomorrow is my nephews’s first birthday and I still have not met him I instantly start looking at the price of flights and working out ways in which I could get to Sussex for the day. Sometimes you have to suck it up and just accept that this is the sad bit, the moment that makes you cry, the tough times that make the good times all the more worthwhile. If there were no lows then the highs would just be normal and who wants normal anyway.
We made our Christmas cake today, we all took it in turns to stir the mix and make a wish. I know my wish from last year came true… because I sit here still living on Rum writing this blogpost with my family here with me all still happy and healthy and we had a wonderful Christmas 2012. I’ll let you know next year if my Christmas cake wish for this year comes true.