My sister gave me some great advice when I was pregnant, voraciously reading every parenting book and attending birthing classes. In 9 months time the baby will come. It doesn't matter how prepared you think you are for it, it will come on that date or close to it.
And it doesn't matter what you do or how many books you read, the teens will come, then after you think you have navigated the teens, there is this time when they become adults. It is a birth right - turning 16 years old.
At 0 and 16 years old, it really is about holding on for the ride.
There are in between years, where you think you might have some semblance of normalcy or control. But these two ends really take the cake.
I return from the third failed drivers licence. Thankful after sitting in that back seat, that it was failed. What would happen if they had passed him!? This birthright of passage when your world can open up, if you could just pass that drivers test! That is the bonus of living rurally.
Everything that your heart desires is a drive away.
So whilst my child has not got a licence to drive, he is still chained to home and has to tow the line. Luckily for me and them, home is a pretty safe place to be. The boys are able to laugh at themselves and their foibles into the world. They are only limited by their own actions or inactions.
It is one precarious line though. And when one is doing it themselves, it does feel really super hard. And lonely.
When I was a teen, I lived rurally too. With a school in the city, I stole away for days on end. This would scare me as a parent, so I never wanted this for my children. I wanted them to feel loved and safe, whatever they did or did not do. It was important for me that their friends were in the local community. That I knew their parents, that our village would hold our teens together.
I wanted them to know that they are loved unconditionally.
Plus, I wanted them to be able to see me for how they see me and love me anyway. So knowing an unconditional love. That takes alot of practice and patience. With myself and for them.
Another thing that is really important to me, is to be here in this space without judgement or competition. There are enough expectations out there of where we are suppossed to be, by when and by how much. I think it is a left over from a culture that has never worked and never will. One that says your highschool will define your chances in life.
Who puts all these pressures onto our kids?
It is completely made up.
It is not reality and it is not a story that makes you or your kids happy.
Being able to laugh alongside my children, or keep their secrets and hold their trust. My younger son smiles, He disclosed his failure at obtaining his learners licence 3 x. He looked at me, knowing that I had kept his secret. As he joshes his brother. He drops the bomb himself that he didn't make it in his learners.
These are precious moments, moments that build relationships. Secrets that would only hurt a relationship of trust. If revealled. I could have told Oli, I thought of it a few times as we drove home after the third fail, to make him feel better. But I didn't. It wasn't mine for the telling.
When Oskar revealled his secret, that he had failed his learners 3x. It was powerful, it had a power in it's telling. He looked at me, as he first revealled the truth realising that his brother had not heard what he said. He had to be more transparent to allow the connection to the truth to become.
The explosion of emotion as the connection happened.
A little jostle as to what this all meant, did Oli still have the upper hand, or could he see his brothers revelation as a moment to understand and connect to his own humility.
All of this unfolding in a mere moment. A moment that only happens because families are together. Because we are there. Engaged in these moments.
And that is all it is.... just like when they are 0 years old.
Remember that it doesn't matter what you do, or how you do it, in 16 years time after the birth of your child, they become an adult.
Whether they, or you are ready or not!