Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Do not read any further if you are looking for literary excellence...

I just know that your day would be incomplete without a weather report. The sun is shining.

Today is Dawn's birthday, so pop on over and say Happy Birthday, and it is also Morning Glory's Woman to Woman forum, and the topic is "Facing your parenting fears". There have been some great discussions this year and it is always so interesting to hear what everyone thinks. For those of us who are a trifle more "seasoned", it is great to hear what the younger ones have to say, and how attitudes have changed.....or not.

I haven't got the time today to say a lot. (What??? You have been back and forth to this post for hours!) But what I will say is that you never stop being a parent. Never. It doesn't matter how old your children are, they are still "the kids". Your babies. In your heart, that is. If you refer to them as such, you will get a look that would fry tomatoes at 40 paces.

Mine are 30, 26 and 18. My babies. Fears? Of course. It comes with the territory. I have the utmost confidence in them. It is just the rest of the population on the face of the earth that I am not sure about. I often wondered if I was a good enough mother. If I had done enough. Made the right decisions. Chosen the right schools for each child. How do I parent sons? Was I too strict? Did I listen enough? But that comes when they are older. Hindsight is always 20/20. I didn't have the time to worry when they were younger. Then, you just got on with it. As I mother, I lived in the moment, and didn't agonise over the "what ifs" all that much. I was 22 when I had Andrew, so I was young. I think that made a huge difference.

It is when they leave home that you get to know real parenting fear a little more intimately. My son was on the Underground in London that morning when the bombs went off, and he phoned me to ask what was going on, as they were stuck. By the time I discovered what was happening, and tried to call him to yell "GET OFF THAT TRAIN AND WALK", he was in the tunnels. Now thankfully, he was fine, and his train was not involved. Me? I aged 40 years in half an hour. I can't keep them safe all the time. I raised them to fly, and indeed they have done just that. And I am the cheerleader in the front row. Chewing her nails to the quick at times.

I think that one of the most important things facing new Mums today, more than it did my generation, is going to be teaching their children how to calculate risk. In an age where risk is legislated out of just about anything, the biggest danger to the young ones of today is where and how do they learn how to calculate risk. Without it, a generation will be raised who are not aware they will be called to calculate this for themselves. They will assume that they are always going to be safe. I don't think so. You know, we even have councils cutting down lovely old trees in parks here, in case children climb them and fall. Playground equipment is so safe that no-one wants to play on it. One school even banned the bubble blowing stuff (like washing up liquid) as the burst bubbles leave a wet spot on the ground that children could slip on. Give me strength. There is no more spirit of adventure.

When my children were small, the "blame" culture did not exist. If they got hurt and broke their arm, hospital doctors did not automatically assume terrible things. Nor would we, as parents rush out to find someone to blame. Accidents happen. Thankfully, mine never broke anything, but sure, they had their bumps and scrapes and sore heads. They also learned how to avoid repeating their mistakes. They ran around barefoot, and went rockpooling then ate icecreams without me using hand sanitizer to clean their hands. A bit of sea sand never hurt anyone. They ate fruit picked from trees. I could write a book about the risk factors in life. But that is enough for now.

It is now 4 hours after I started writing this and the heavens have opened and it is pouring. Throwing it down with vigour.

I had to pop in to school for a while to drop off some fabric samples, and stayed to chat to my friends at break time, have coffee, and teach my ex-boss how to sew a few things. And to look through some of the coursework folders. I miss them all. I think they miss me too. The people I worked with and the kids. Those girls, my girls, still matter to me, and I so want them to keep believing and do well. And I miss the chaos of lunchtimes with dozens of kids coming in wanting to make things. Sigh. It is not my business any more, but in a way, I wish things had been allowed to stay the same for another year for me to see them through their GCSEs. It does make me a little sad. No. A lot.


I can't look back. Something challenging is out there in my future. There are times when I think I have had enough of the challenging bits, and then I think..... life could get boring without them. I am a work in progress, as I have said. Many times. Ad nauseum.

So this is yet another random hotchpotch of things today. I seem to have a bad case of verbal you know what. Coffee... I need coffee......


Barbara said...

Yes I did go to Bicester. I bought in the Cath Kidson shop and the Kipling bag shop. On the whole I was disappointed to my last visit which was soon after it opened.
At that time there seemed to be many more shop that are not there now that were cheaper and I remember buying all my christmas presents there. This time it seemed only disigner label shops.
I missed shops Like Price's candles and Denby pottery.
My son-in law and my son were inolved in the chaos of the Bomb stuff on the underground. Both of them went into work a little later that day and had they not, they could have been involved. It was afternnon before I knew they were safe.
I like reading yur ramblings.

Penless Thoughts said...

I sooo agree with your comments about the children and "safety"! I wonder how my 4 survived, sleeping on their tummies, riding in a canvas car seat in the front seat, climbing trees, playing kick ball in the street, etc. etc. Kids today are not creative and are too regulated. In MY OPINION.

Morning Glory said...

Your observations are so sensible and I agree with you. I've wondered the same things about taking risks and personal responsibility. They need to learn where the boundaries are, if they are to learn about safety.

Morning Glory said...

p.s. I added your link to Mr. Linky.

Jen said...

I love your candidness! Great post, and oh so true!

Lei said...

What great thoughts... especially about teaching our children to calculate risk. What an articulate post. Thanks Linds!

Angela said...

What a great post today! Thanks for being open by sharing your insights with us on teaching children to calculate their risks and to plan for the unexpected.

Have a wonderful evening to rest and relax.


Susie said...

It's true, our children are always our "babies" and mine also get "that look" when I say it.
Mine are sensible it's the rest of the world doing something to them that I also fear most..

meggie said...

Yes, so true! Once a mother, forever a mother. And also true, that you never stop being concerned over you babies. Then the Grandchilren come along, more love, more worry!
I enjoy your meandering posts Linds.

Isabelle said...

I'm sure you're a lovely mum. It's obvious from the photos.My present (and indeed for some time) worries are about the children, or at least indirectly so: my lovely but seriously depressed son-in-law - who's the most brilliant person I've ever met, but who has hardly worked this year - and my other daughter's boyfriend, who is trying not very successfully to be an actor. I just wish he'd give up and do something more ... well, salaried. And not in London. The actual daughters are fine, but I'm beginning to believe in arranged marriages...

Ah well. Keep going. Breathe in and out. And all that.

Best wishes to you too.

At A Hen's Pace said...


Thank you so much for your words today. I grew up on a farm, climbing trees and operating heavy equipment and climbing on rusty old scrap metal piles, and I've noticed that I am much less prone to worry about safety issues than many other moms I encounter. Sometimes I worry that I'm not being a good mom or something, but your words really encouraged me!