We wash them, we feed them, we tend to their cries.
And then as they grow we begin to teach them.
Teach them to wash themselves.
Teach them to feed themselves.
Teach them how to dry their own tears, how to resolve their own conflicts.
We teach them to be resilient, how to manage when things don't go their way.
How to lose with grace & dignity.
How to consider other people & how our own behaviour affects others.
We teach them that we live in a big big world but that as humans we have a responsibility to each other.
We watch as our children make little mistakes as they navigate this growing independence.
We reflect on our own mistakes and our own unique journey into adulthood hoping that some of the mistakes that we made won't be made by our children, hoping that we have somehow given them the tools to make that path a little easier than it was for us.
In our family we are watching as our eldest begin the years into young adulthood.
As a parent I am watching and feel conflict as a parent that I have never felt before.
I always felt confident as a parent when they were little. I knew that what I was doing was right.
That I was giving them the right tools to make their way through early childhood.
Now I am not so sure.
There are fights- not big ones but we really haven't had any before.
It doesn't feel familiar.
It makes me feel uneasy.
Makes me question whether I am doing the right thing.
That teenage confidence of 'knowing everything' and ever growing need for independence has crept in.
The secret world of youth.
It is so necessary and right for young adults to have a little bit of secrecy from their parents....but it feels uncomfortable for me and that tug of anxiety is always there.
I know we will make it through and that the groundwork we have paved is solid.
But it is hard.
Really truly hard- the hardest part by far.
What is it that is hard?
I have thought about that a lot.
It is the beginning of really & truly letting go.
Having to trust that I have given him everything he needs to make it through. I have to let go of the safety line a little at a time and trust that he can indeed do it on his own.
The conflict of independence is knowing that independence is exactly what we want without really wanting to let them go from us at all.
After all wasn't it just yesterday that I held this babe, who is now well & truly taller than me, in the crook of my arm?
Whoever pressed the fast forward button would you mind pressing pause while I catch my breath just for a second.
GOURMET GIRLFRIEND'S HOMEMADE HORSERADISH MUSTARD:
Most people don't know how easy it is to make your own mustard.
I love really hot mustard. The kind that blows your sinus to bits- like a good Wasabi hit.
I grow my own horseradish- well really it grows itself (blogged about it here).
I love it in mustard. We got a beautiful batch of Horseradish mustard in our latest delivery from Bruny Cheese and it is all but gone. I promised one of my kids- who LOVES it- that we would make our own . It is HOT so use it sparingly! Also it is worth noting that the flavour develops over a couple of days.
Here is the recipe- it will be enough to fill a small jar.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
- 1/2 cup good quality mustard powder
- 1/2 cup of vinegar
- 1/3 cup of brown mustard seeds
- 60g fresh horseradish, cleaned, trimmed & peeled
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 juniper berries
- 5 whole peppercorns
- 1 clove of garlic
Grind the peppercorns, salt, garlic & juniper berries in a mortar & pestle to a fine paste.
In a food processor blitz the horseradish with the vinegar until a fine paste.
In a small bowl add the horseradish vinegar to the mustard powder.
Add the ground ingredients, whole mustard seeds and the sugar.
Stir through and place into sterilised jar.
Let it sit for a couple of days before you use it to let it's full flavour develop- if you can resist!
This track is a live version of one of my favourite Calexico tunes. Enjoy.