Moving On

12th May 2018

Encouraging Children in the Outdoors

It had been a long day and I still had stuff to do.  There was a report to finish before the next morning and some enquiries that needed attention.  I was staying in Scotland for a few days and keeping on top of other stuff was proving even more tricky than it usually does.  I did escape for a few hours on my bike while I still had daylight and then the plan was to get busy on the MacBook as soon as I got back.  

I rode back to the car and saw there was a notification on my phone that I had missed a FaceTime call.  It was from the youngest of the Peak Mountaineering juniors and I immediately knew this was significant.  As loving as he is, a message or call from him while I’m away always means either he wants something or something has gone wrong.  He is a teenager after all and I think that is the way most of them operate.  Either way, there was only one way to find out.  

Once back in the land of WiFi at my accommodation, I got back to him on FaceTime.  His smiling face showed me this was more that he wanted something rather than I was going to hear there had been a problem, so I relaxed a little and waited for more information.  After some preliminary chat about his day and what had been happening (I ask questions and he answers), he knew the time had come for him to ask his favour.

It turned out that there was an application he needed to hand in at school the next day and he wanted me to check it over tonight.  I can’t deny this wasn’t the best news I could have heard.  I know the application will need more than just a check over and I also know the other report I have to do is going to be several hours work.  

Inwardly I sighed a little, but outwardly I kept smiling, tell him it is absolutely no problem and promise him it will be checked and back to him by the time he is up for school tomorrow.  It would certainly have been great to have more notice but he doesn’t plan ahead too well and he finds writing things like this very challenging, so if he asks for input I know he definitely needs input.  It is very important to me that he feels supported and comfortable enough to keep asking for my help and so I grab a strong coffee and settle in for a long evening.

One of the people I am staying with had overheard my conversation and laughs at the situation.  Dan isn’t known for his tactful approach and says, in no polite terms, that I should have told him to ‘do one’.  I smile at Dan just as I’d smiled at junior -  I just don’t see it the way he sees it at all.

This junior I am describing is actually 15 now and for those 15 years I have seen parenthood as a privilege.  Looking back I can’t deny that I went in to it rather blindly, but it has been an amazing rollercoaster journey that I wouldn’t have missed for the world, but I have always had in mind that at some point the journey will change direction.

A wise colleague had shared a gem of wisdom with me when the first of my boys came along.  She said I should treasure every minute because, before I knew it, they would be grown up and have moved on.  At the time I could hear her words but never imagined I’d be looking back with those years gone in what now seems to be the blink of an eye.  Anita, how right you were!

As I see my big strong teenage boys I do sense things changing.  They don’t need me to do many of the things they have needed in the past because they have the skills and independence to do it for themselves.  They can look after themselves (most of the time), entertain themselves and they have their own circle of friends.  They are on the cusp of not needing me.  Soon I can visualise the time when they will have left us and moved on to a completely independent existence.  They will have learnt to drive and be able to decide how late they stay up.  They will shop for their own food and travel without us.  We aren’t there yet, but it is coming.

So, I feel privileged when one of them needs my help and I don’t care if it comes at the worst possible time.  As a parent I want to feel needed and I relish the times that I do.  I also want my children to always feel supported.  It was what I signed up for and I dread the time when it will end (although hopefully they will always need us for something?!).

So, I burnt the midnight oil and the application was in his inbox by the time he crawled his way out of bed at the last minute to get to school - I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I even got a smiley face text message which I think meant thanks. 

Posted by Paul