There are two children in this family, but sometimes by these posts you could think there was only one. The one who demands more time and attention. The one with all of the needs, that sometimes take over the other, more mundane requirements of a family. The squeaky wheel.
We also have a quiet wheel. A kid who has not given us a moment of trouble since the day he was born. Hang on, that isn’t strictly true- we had a day when he was about a month old called Black Sunday. I remember it well because there was stupid car racing on the telly, and Nathan wouldn’t turn it off, and the kid somehow got overtired and cried and cried and just WOULD NOT SLEEP for a whole day. That one day, I thought he might never sleep again. For those moments, I feared that this may never pass, and that my life would always be like this, with a crying child and a grumpy husband, that I would be pacing the house juggling the two of them forevermore. Then he fell asleep and it was all over, and I learned that he was the type of child who thrived on routine and structure and in knowing what was coming next. So I never varied from the predictable again.
So this baby who was soothed by schedules has become a boy who is independent and knows his own self. He knows what he likes, often before he even tries it, and he can be tricky to coerce into things he has already made up his mind about. So of course, because I am the mother and I worry about things that have not even happened yet, I try to modify that, to make him more open to change, to try new things, to do be okay with spontaneity (even though deep down I suspect it has “its time and its place”*)
That child also came on the bush walk.
His challenges were different to his sister’s. He found the actual activity easy, but he soon tired of the sameness that is the Australian bush. He said he felt like we were just walking around in circles, and that there had better be a good reward at the end of this trip, because the journey sure was boring. I almost laughed aloud at how similar we are. As his sister and father were looking up down and all around at all of the different trees and plants and trying to spot wildlife, we were stomping ahead, intent on ‘getting there’. For us the joy of the journey was in the arriving. We have a lot to learn, my boy and I, from those other two. (Remind me sometime to tell you the story of the Woolomi Lighthouse.)
Once we ‘arrived’ he immediately got prepared for the fun to start. He had seen a rope tied to a tree that someone had left behind, and he was keen to swing into the rock pools. I said to go ahead and do it, mainly because I didn’t think he would.
So I sat back and watched his preparations: testing the rope for strength and then for fastness. He then did three or four practice swings, swinging out over the water, making sure he had the distance right, the grip on the rope sufficient. He did things that I wouldn’t have thought to do. I asked him what made him consider all of these variables. “Standard safety checks, Mum,” was the reply.
Oh. Okay then. You would have thought it came with a manual.
Finally it was time for the real deal.
Got the camera on Mum? Check.
In video mode? Yes Liam, I said check.
Okay, here we go then.
I held my breath a little, still thinking he wouldn’t really do it, but holding it just in case he did, and cracked his head on the rocks or something, not wanting him to do it, yet really wanting him to dare to do something outside his comfort zone.
I didn’t video it.
He gave me a foul look (that I suspect I will see some more of in the years to come) gave the little sigh that leaks out when you have to deal with idiots, and prepared to do it again. For fun? No, for the camera. I pretended for a while that I still wasn’t getting the shot, just to make him do it over and over. All of the videos are almost exactly the same. He swings the same way every time, drops at the same moment, surfaces, and gives me a thumbs up. Mission accomplished.
Pretty much how he does his life.
When did you last do something that takes your breath away?
Are you trying to change someone’s ways because you think they could be better?
*A quote to run your life by right there: from the character, Alison, in “The Sure Thing”, sometime in the 80s.
Also: I would have loved to have shown you the video (which I did take) but I can’t figure out how to import it over here. Feel free to enlighten me WP nerds.
…From The Ashers