Thursday, 15 May 2014

A significant moment.

Last Saturday night was a real milestone in our family.
Mr Girlfriend & I left our big two at a large Arena music gig ALONE.
Sheesh.  We are involved in a whole new ball game and I feel as if it is one I don't know the rules to.

We had given the tickets to them for their Christmas present. They have been very patient waiting for the gift to materialise. Nothing wrong with teaching patience right?
We had lots of chats leading up to it.
Lots of the "This is what you might expect, this is what I expect of you...." etc etc.
Music is a HUGE part of our family life and so it makes sense that getting to see a band they love in a big concert was a great way of celebrating that.

We let them go through the gates and then waited for the text from them to say "We are in our seats" before we walked hand in hand away.
It felt weird. We felt nervous.  Were we doing the right thing?  Were they ok in there? Are we letting the reins loose too soon?
We stood in silence for a while both staring, wondering to ourselves "At what point do we start walking?" Neither of us wanting to be the one who started to walk away.
A significant moment.
I felt a little panicked that I should be a bit more grown up too seeing as I had nearly grown up children. But what does being 'more grown up' even mean?

We took ourselves off to seek comfort with Wes at The Grand Budapest Hotel.
We sat looking at a group of couples in the foyer of the cinema and Mr Girlfriend said to me "Are we the same age as them?'
I nearly spat out my drink.......they were in their 70's.
We started talking about having a kind of an age dysmorphia.
Of how hard it is to pick how old people are.
But it left me thinking....... when do we grow up? When do we become 'old'?
Aren't I the same age as when I had my first baby nearly 16 years ago?
How is it possible that I am so old that my eldest kids can go out like this at night ALONE?
It feels as though the clock stopped then.  When my first baby appeared 16 years ago.
It was as though I had learnt everything I could ever learn right there at that very moment.
What I really learnt was that I knew nothing at all and never would ever again.
And so it still is.........

As parents we are laid bare. Completely and totally vulnerable. Everything we knew is forever changed. And we are left knowing nothing at all.

We sat there on Saturday night with all the same questions no doubt that all of our parents had as we entered the years of early adulthood.  And all the same emotions and doubts.
But...... our eldest children ARE becoming young adults.
We are entering a very different part of parenting.
The bit where we get to see if all the things we have offered up as preparation to let go of them works.

Before my very eyes I see the physical reminder that my children are becoming adults.
Our (very nearly) 16yo is as tall as his dad and our (very nearly) 14yo is as tall as me.
But it is the way they behave that is more of a reminder.  The deep level of their thoughts & their conscience.  Their understandings of social & world issues.  Their independence.

And their ability to go to a music concert alone.  Without us by their sides.  Just each other. They love music so much and this makes me so very happy.
Music, like  food, is made to be shared. And I love that they share this passion with each other. They play their instruments together often (I have included a short sound clip of them playing at the end of this post).
It was utterly fitting that their first real celebration of this stage was going to a music concert.

It has always been on my radar that one of the best things we can give our children is our trust.
I hope that in all we do and in all the ways we behave in our house, that we have been guiding our children to live with morality and integrity.
And I hope that they know I trust them to make the right decisions.
I have made it clear endless times that I don't expect them to always get it right. And I have told them too, that NO MATTER how badly you get it wrong we will be there to lift you up again.

I hope I have taught them to know it is ok to ask for help- no matter how big or how small.
I hope that they know that it is ok to stumble.  And I hope I have given them the fortitude to get back up again if they do.
I hope they choose things in life that inspire them and fill their hearts.
I hope I have given them the gift of laughter and joy.
I hope that I have given them the courage to stand up for what they believe in even if it is not popular.
I hope they continue to enjoy the things they are passionate about.
I hope they find love.
Most of all I hope they find themselves.

As they enter early adulthood I can't help but burst with pride at the humans I see before me.
These kids are kind, compassionate, big hearted, gutsy, humble, multi-faceted, funny & clever.

I am crying as I write, thinking about how terribly fast it goes, constantly reminded by the fact that we also have children who are very young and SURELY they were all this age just yesterday?
But no........ it is time to start letting out the line.
A time of excitement at what lies ahead but also of reminiscing and feelings of sadness.

I feel positive about the future when I see them and their friends.  Despite the negativity surrounding teens, I see NO evidence of this whatsoever.
These kids & all of their friends are thoughtful, sensitive, clever, forward thinking, community minded people who want to take care of things and of each other.

So while I don't have a rulebook as to how we go about this big and important phase I can know that it is ok for me to stumble and get it wrong and that what matters here is that it is love that will guide me.
So far it hasn't been a bad guide.


  1. May 2014 at 12:40

    Ruth, so beautifully written! We are at the same stage - my eldest is nearly 18 - yikes! - and I look at him with so many emotions as I see this gorgeous young man towering over me and remembering the beautiful soft baby hand resting gently against my neck as I rocked him as a baby. I sent him off to the same concert as your boys, dropping him at the station to go in by train - 'holding my breath' - reminding him to be vigilant. 'Mum, I'm nearly 18!' he sighed!like you, I look ahead with excitement as to what is in store for him after this year when school is finished for him. I know he has good people surrounding him in his family and friends and that together we will all navigate this new state of adulthood x

  2. Oh Ruth! You've done it again! I am bawling my eyes out! So many emotions! I so love reading these words. You are bursting with love and pride! Need to hug you now.xx Danie

  3. BabyMacBlogBeth15 May 2014 at 21:14

    And they will NEVER forget the first time they went to a music concert by themselves. You are doing it ALL right. Both of you. Beautiful Ruthie xxx

  4. I remember letting my daughter go to her first concert , Green Day no less , she was almost 15 , I was very apprehensive but my husband and I trusted her and she needed to learn that trust goes both ways ....she walked in the clouds for months after that concert , she is 22 now and been to hundreds of gigs since and has never let us or herself down . Its such a brilliant phase of life as they grow to adults , she is my best friend as well as my baby .

  5. Katie180 Rainbird16 May 2014 at 23:21

    I admire you and applaud you on so many fronts: the way you make your home so alive and beautiful, the way you cook and eat, how you dress with your heart and how you parent. My girls and I are on our way to a future not unlike the present your big boys have with you and what fortunate children they are. But just because it's all turned out "right" doesn't mean it's easy or without sentiment, you're entitled to those feelings of wonder and fear and gulps of sadness. Hearts on sleeves and all that. x x x

  6. What a beautiful post - and such an "as it should be" thing to cry with pride over your kids. And to tell people that.
    Even as an adult, I am jealous of that kind of bond. I don't know it.
    Amazing stuff. Bloody lucky kids, and parents.

  7. Oh Ruth, tears being shed here as I read also. A beautiful post. I think about this stuff all the time... and even further down the line - i.e. how my mother-in-law must have felt on her son's wedding day.... because I will be her one day watching my sons get married. But my favourite, hit-the-nail-on-the-head part: "What I really learnt was that I knew nothing at all and never would ever again." So so so true. Thank you. Lucinda xx

  8. We are letting our 14 year old go to a concert with his mate in a few weeks. I'm a bit scared but he is so excited it makes me excited for him too. Such a new stage for us too :)

  9. You are doing it the right way,trust is a huge part of letting go,my children are in their 20s and know they can come to us with whatever they want to talk about,with no judgement xx


Thankyou SO VERY much for making time to comment.

I LOVE to read your comments.

Just know that it totally made my day that you made a comment on my blog :)