Did you know how courageous you were as a parent?
As the second of my home educated brood is preparing for uni I’ve learnt that it’s not just the kids that have brave steps to take, parents do too. In fact our entire parenting journey is peppered with acts of bravery.
I reckon it starts at conception – okay you probably didn’t have to be so brave to do that bit. But the first big act of bravery is the birth, after which you have to negotiate a pit of sleep deprivation and mega life change that leaves you feeling you’ve been ram-raided. Then, when the babies grow and begin to toddle from cupboard to stairs, kerb to playground and you want to swaddle them close you have instead to be brave enough to let them off your protective lead and experience life’s tumbles.
Next, you’re told to abandon them on their first day at school to a bunch of strangers who could in no way replicate the care you have given them and face days without knowing what they’re doing or how they’re surviving.
For home educating parents it’s an even bigger act of bravery. Taking on that responsibility, and hacking out such a controversial route, seems to give licence to raised eyebrows and judgemental comments from those all going along the well trodden one. You have to have true courage to maintain faith in your belief that routes don’t always work just because they’re well trodden. And bite your lip whilst masses try and fit their children into a fixed regime that to my mind sometimes, for some children, replicates what Chinese women did to their feet. But no one comments or makes judgements about that.
Whichever way we go this period of time in our parenting requires acts of bravery that make sky diving look like a doddle.
Then there are the teen years. We need a medal for those. As the kids move into teenhood your life tends to be about surviving without getting crushed by the insults and silently mopping your own hurt as you bleed for their angst and their upsets. You try and act like a superhero on the telly, who survives catastrophes without a scratch or a whinge, whereas inside you’ve got a lump of bleeding heartache and confusion about where you went wrong as a parent.
But still you comfort them while they cry their tears and hold their hurts as they face the choppy bits and you try not to crumple yourself. And just when you thought you’d got it under control, it’s their successes that damn nearly burst your brave front after all and the tissues are out for their achievements.
And finally, when they step into a land beyond the home and make their own worlds and their own homes that are separate from yours, you’re introduced to a whole new set of challenges that require superhuman courage to overcome.
Yep; nothing requires more acts of bravery than parenting. I hope you all give yourselves mega amounts of credit for that.
But it’s also likely that nothing you ever do will give you such JOY! So don’t be so busy with life that you miss out on all that too.