I carry a tight bundle of questions and concerns about raising my young children without their late father. All the worries have spun into knots held deep within.
In the past few weeks I have felt some of the knots loosen and unravel.
Yet again, I have been overcome with relief as different people have supported and loved my children.
The first few knots started to unravel on our recent spring ski trip with my boyfriend, Darren and his two children. I was hesitant about our four day holiday. I did not feel like I could support my kids on the slopes because I am only a beginner skier myself. I have a history of dislocating my knee caps and hence I am very tentative when I strap my legs into skis. Not the best attributes when introducing your children to the snow. Also, my son is cautious of most sports and new experiences. (related post). I anticipated that it might be hard to encourage him to leave the ski lodge, let alone put on a pair of skis and participate in ski school. Darren and I agreed that if my kids and I ended up just tramping in the snow, tobogganing, building a snow man and catching a chair lift then that would be okay. Anything else would be a bonus.
As expected, on the first day my son was reluctant to try anything. My kids and I spent some quiet time just the three of us playing in the snow and becoming acquainted with our new environment. Darren and his children who are all experienced skiers made the most of the amazing conditions.
I went to bed that night hoping that my children would try a half day of ski school the next day. Would they have a go? Or would we be reading books, playing board games and throwing snowballs for the remaining three days?
What unfolded was an astoundingly fun three days of skiing. Darren and his children patiently encouraged and supported my children and I in trying new slopes and challenges each day. They understood our caution and our fear. What’s more we were comfortable in sharing our fears and trusting them.
One moment was particularly special. My son was determined to try a more challenging slope with Darren’s support. I waved to them as they climbed on the chairlift and crossed my fingers. I was pleased that my son hadn’t used the light rain showers as a reason not to try. While I waited at the bottom I wondered how they were going and to my astonishment saw a rainbow appear. I knew then they would be fine. (Rainbows uncannily appear at poignant times for my family, friends and I. Rainbow Connections)
When my son got to the bottom I could see that he felt empowered, relieved and pleased. He told me that he had seen the rainbow too.
On our last night, the six of us congratulated each other on a successful holiday. My mind drifted to Darren’s guest blog about building Stepping Stones of friendship, acceptance and trust with my children. He has certainly done that over the past six months. Without all the stepping stones we have put in place, our ski holiday would not have been such a success.
A week after skiing, my children went away for two nights with my in-laws camping in a caravan. Usually I also go and camp in an accompanying tent but this time I stayed at home. As my children excitedly packed their belongings, I wondered if my absence might be an issue for my daughter. She is often anxious when leaving me. She was fine.
While she was away we spoke via FaceTime and she was a bit teary but they were brave tears. She and I both knew her wonderful grandparents would give her a big cuddle and maybe a lollie or two. Besides there was too much fun to be had playing in the lagoon and a big bike ride with Grandpa was planned.
Another knot unravelled.
Maybe my children will start spending more nights away with family and be comfortable. Maybe I will be able to take a week away for myself at some point in the future.
On the day that my kids returned from camping, we had another outdoor adventure planned in the afternoon. This time a 10km bushwalk with three of my besties and their children. It is one of my favourite walks that always lifts my spirits but I was unwell and unable to get out of bed. I was especially disappointed that I could not go because it was an experience that I wanted for my children.
I suggested to my kids that they could still go and join everyone. I expected that they would choose to stay home with me.
I was thrilled and surprised by kids quick affirmative decision. Then I considered the circumstances. My kids have known my besties and their families since they were born. We don’t see them very often because we live in different parts of the city but when we do my friends take the time to bond with my kids and make sure they know how much they are loved.
My kids had a wonderful time on the walk and bounced back in the door six hours later.
They looked older and wiser. Full of joy and light.
My heart is full with love. Grateful for all of our connections within our family and friends.
Experiences, friendship and trust were three of the main things that my late husband and I wanted to ensure was instilled in our children.
It is happening.
Our young children, aged eight and nine, are maturing.
They are becoming more independent and confident.
Less reliant on me.
They are trusting themselves,
trusting and building relationships
with our friends and family, old and new, children and adults
to embrace opportunities and adventures,and test their capabilities.
All the knots I still carry? I know they will keep unravelling. We have a beautiful village.