Family Faith by Selina Venier
IRONICALLY, the three of them seem to have “ants in their pants”.
My children are all taking the well known saying almost literally and in unison.
The irony is in the fact their ages differ by a decade, at least. In common they have an uncanny ability to ensure I go greyer by the day.
Master Seven Months has decided to cross the barrier from babyhood to toddlerdom and dive headfirst from any contraption that formerly kept him contained.
Those who have children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews can, more than likely, remember that moment when you stopped and thought, “Hang on, you couldn’t do that before” or “How in the world did you get over there?” with a cheeky expression peering back.
It doesn’t matter if it’s the pram, the change table, the cot or his previously well loved floor mat, Master Seven Months has decided to well and truly develop his adventurous spirit.
My Rosaries have equally stepped up three notches.
At the same time, the Misses, aged 12 and 11, have voiced no end of requests to dive head first into more independence.
“Can I ride by myself to school, Mum?” I heard for most of last term, followed by, “(Such and such) does?” as if that aids the cause.
My mind flashed to when I was their age and something similar would have likely hospitalised my mother.
It then goes to the day in Year One when Miss 11 turned and said, “It’s okay, you don’t need to come in with me.”
“Hang on, you couldn’t do that before” and “How in the world did you get over there?” I had thought even then.
I smiled but felt teary and marvelled at the passing of time.
Mind screeching back to reality Miss 11 was quick to list the benefits of my staying home to recuperate from being up many times with her brother the previous night.
My answer was still an emphatic “not today” mostly because I delight in full participation in the morning farewells to the school gate.
Eventually however we compromised – she could ride not to school but from school and we’d meet half way, at the local park, and then return home together.
It didn’t happen every day of the term, just often enough for Miss 11 to feel more “grown up”.
Each time I saw an independent sparkle in her eye, the kind that makes you want to hug your child into tomorrow, remembering all their yesterdays with such fondness.
My curly-haired little girl was still there but she’s becoming a young woman, I thought.
I sat in the park watching her play after school, again marvelling at the passing of time.
Miss 12 was there too, playing alongside her, and Master Seven Months was doing his best Houdini impersonation.
I thanked God for still allowing the girls to be children and enjoy outdoor play and imaginative games, as they often do at home too.
I thanked God Master Seven Months was so full of curious energy, just as an imminent toddler should be.
I asked God to protect them daily because when I’m not with them or can’t be, He is. And that’s exactly the reason I can sleep at night.
It’s exactly the reason I’ve said yes to both the Misses extending their independence these holidays and riding that little bit further.
It’s a stretch for me as a parent to trust, I admit it, and by that I mean to trust the world our children are thrust into.
There seems to be a fine line between allowing your children to gain independence while teaching them what is wise and prudent.
There’s also a fine line between independence and waiting for the right time.
So bring on the toddlerdom and teenagehood in unison.
With God, I’m greyer, but ready.