At the end of April I was on holiday at the coast with my family. We are not from the coast so my young girls are rightfully afraid of the sea, the crashing waves in particular. We stood on the beach with our toes in the water with my four-year-old jumping over the foam. For the first few minutes they screamed and squealed and ran for safety with each new wave. And slowly they began to be lulled into the false sense of security that is the sea. We edged forwards until we were ankle deep in the waves as I wanted them to reap the benefits of sea water and the fun of being in the sea.
A rogue wave caught us all by surprise and hit me around the waist. It knocked my little girls down. I had to make a split second decision as to which one to help. My seven-year-old is much taller and I thought she might be able to withstand the wave better. So I scrambled towards my little one. She got tumbled and churned by the water. I got to her and pulled her up, ready to comfort her. I noticed sand on the top of her head and she was drenched. “Are you okay?” I said, tapping her back in case she swallowed water. She smiled a broad smile and said “That was so fun!”
Next I checked on big sister. She was on her hands and knees clawing her way up to the beach as the wave receded. The water only reached her shoulders, with her head and hair remaining dry. But she was mortified. She complained bitterly and was far more cautious after the fright.
The contrast was so interesting and I regularly marvel about how different their characters are. I’m aware that my four-year-old is the bold one of the two. My oldest is more responsible and serious, the sensitive introvert. I’ve often felt so much closer to my seven-year-old because she is so similar to me. We look the same and feel the same way about things. We both love being creative and both need alone time. That day, however, I was in awe of the resilience shown by my ‘baby’.
I haven’t always noticed the characteristics of the child that is less like me. But suddenly I see her in all her beauty. It reminded me of the lyrics of a KT Tunstall song:
And everything around her is a silver pool of light
The people who surround her feel the benefit of it
I admire her spirit and her strength. She enriches our lives in so many ways that I didn’t notice when I was ill. Through this journey that I’ve been on to recover and to find the authentic me again, I’ve found joy in savouring, in relishing those little moments that make up our lives. While my health was deteriorating I was not focussed on my children, not savouring them and their quirks and not enjoying parenting. I was just too overwhelmed. But I am now able to really enjoy being a parent and to actively acknowledge the good in them. When you’re struggling, you are in danger of squashing a strong spirit and I’m so grateful that didn’t happen to my silver pool of light.Follow me: