Before I had kids, parents always told me how fast time flies “when you have kids”. I could never understand that, because I’ve always lived a busy life where time pretty much sped by anyway.
Well, they were right. I have never seen a year go by so fast nor have I seen anyone actually grow up whilst looking at them.
When reflecting upon the last year, I realise that my babies are not the only ones who have grown. I have too. That the challenges I face as a parent and person continue to be thrown at me, and for the most part I’ve been able to meet them head on.
Not always with dignity, mind you.
Take, for example, the first few weeks of school. Wow. Who would have thought that meeting a whole bunch of new adults would have turned me into a nervous ball of anxiety at the ripe old age of 42? Facing all those old fears…
Will my children like school? What if the other kids don’t like my kids?
What will the teachers be like? And more wincingly, How will I fit in to those little groups of women who all seem to know one another already? What if they don’t like me? I even worried that I was never dressed well enough, and being a renovator at the time, that was a pretty fair assessment. I remember being horrified at my own mother for turning up at school in her painting clothes, when all the other Mums wore pearls, so I haven’t exactly evolved in that aspect!
All the old anxieties of my own childhood came flooding back to bite me on the backside in that first month of school, and even writing about it now fills me with embarrassment.
Because I can now have a good look around me, 10 months down the track, and marvel at how well-adjusted my kids are at school, how caring their teachers are, how wonderful all my friends are in a close-knit community where even the most casual acquaintances light up my day as I pass them in the street when they say hello or give me a wave.
None of my fears were ever realised – they started in my head and stayed right there.
Thanks to the teachers for being reassuringly parental to my kids AND to me; thanks to an enormous group of kind, like-minded and thoughtful parents who have been so supportive with their friendships throughout a busy year and thanks to my husband for turning so many sausages at community events!
Most of all, thanks to all the children at school, mine included, for teaching me that just by being yourself, you will always attract like-minded people to you and discover your tribe. After all, the kids had to face all of the same issues I had at the beginning of the year, and so, so, so much
They’ve met lots of different people and made new friends, managing conflicts and injuries – emotional and physical. They’ve learned how to read and write and count. They’ve learned how to share, pick up after themselves and have respect for each other. They had to learn how to sit still for long periods of time and pay attention. They’ve learned how to eat their lunch quickly in order to get more play time and how to play a whole bunch of new sports and games. Most of all, they have had to learn how to live without their Mummies.
My own kids have also had to adjust to life with a working mother, who shares her time between her family, (the puppy!) and her computer. And who struggles with the balance. Every. Single. Day.
So, now you can see why I’m so ashamed at my anxiety and fear at the beginning of the year. If our children can learn all that in a year, then I can learn that I will always find people who are like-minded and authentic.
At least, I think I can. I still sat here and counted on my fingers how many years until High School when I’ll have to go through it all over again…
Sigh. Back to the drawing Smart board…
A nurse and counsellor by trade, Caylie Jeffery has had many adventures and experiences that have made her into a strong, independent, and interested woman. Being a mindful parent in a world that loves to turn children into mindless robots is her biggest challenge yet, and she is determined to instil passion about life, books, art and people into their hearts and minds.
Caylie has a blog where she writes familiar essays about subjects that catch her breath. She is establishing herself as a freelance writer, and is an emerging author of children’s stories, teen adventures and creative adult non-fiction.