The thing about this raising children business is that we can't live their life for them. When the chips are down and their little faces are creased with worry or sadness, I just want to step in there and take over the reins. Pull that great steed called Life up and say 'whoa there Life, whoooooooa'. But I can't.
My mantra of 'I won't worry unless they worry' only works if I'm not worried. Maxi spent last Monday at home with a 'sore tummy'. I know what makes a tummy sore: frangled nerves. Because he always struggles with change (new school year, new classroom, new friends, new everything and, worse, no best friend because Elliot moved away at the end of last year) we decided to humour him. He stayed at home in bed, for the whole day. LOML was on duty. He let him out of bed for 5 minutes at 'recess' and 10 minutes at 'lunchtime' and the rest of the time he was bored out of his brain.
On Tuesday he skipped off to school with a trio of stuffed rats in his pocket, 'just in case'. In case of what, I'm not certain, but I think they were there in case he didn't have a friend in the playground. Made my heart and my bottom lip wobble. The fact that he was skipping in, the fact that he'd come up with a solution to his worries all on his own - all that was lost on a worrying mumma. My boy, he struggles. Or maybe it's me that struggles.
We can prepare them, we can love them, we can smooth their shirts and fluff their hair, but we can 't live it for them. We send them out there day after day into a world we know can often be cruel and indifferent. We try to focus on all the bright lights and the kind gestures and the fun, the games, the simple joys. But the fact remains, we are as uncertain of their path as we are of our own.
We can't live it for them. We can't even live it for us half the time. So I'm trying really hard to stuff my pockets full of rats and be happy that they're in there.
What worries you most about your babies out there in the big wide world?
[Image by Charles Gullung]