This week, of all our time together on this journey, I have felt most proud of you. My heart is full with love and admiration and I’m feeling a bunch of emotions. Most present is a weird happy/sad feeling that’s manifesting in lots of tears, so I decided to write down my thoughts to help me understand what I’m feeling and to share it with you.
As I’ve reflected, I think it is because this week we passed a milestone. One that I knew existed but have never given much thought to. I didn’t realise it was looming, so it’s taken me a bit by surprise. As we reached this marker, I have had clearer and more concrete visions of our future than ever before and they have left me both breathless in excited anticipation but also feeling some self-pitying sadness that our time together, with you as my young & dependent children, is passing so quickly.
The milestone has manifested in you learning to ski – something I never did as a child and am proving to be rubbish at as an adult. After four and a half months travelling, you turned up at the ski school on Monday morning, full of nervous excitment. You smiled and chatted to the instructors, said hi to the other kids and within minutes were walking off to the lift, carrying your skis and heading up the mountain.
I felt the tears come as soon as you left. Maybe it was because this was the longest we would be apart in months? But I don’t think so. I think it was seeing how much you’d grown. You are different kids to those three girls who left the UK back in July. You’ve seen and experienced more in the last few months, than in your entire lifetimes. We’ve become closer as a family and you have as sisters. We’ve had wonderful highs and horrible lows (that night in a crappy motel in Spokane, with me totally losing it, is not a memory I want to dwell on!)
When we picked you up six hours later you were all beaming. Your joy and happiness made my heart burst and after five days you have become more accomplished and more confident skiers than I ever will. Lola – Daddy and Aunty Glynis said they struggled to keep up with you today. How does that happen in a week?! Whilst I’ve tried to learn from you in the past, there was no escaping the fact that in this place, you are my teachers.
So the milestone was passed. You spent each evening this week at supper excitedly bickering about whose turn it was to speak and tell your tales from the mountain. You compared runs and technique. You made your dad and I laugh with your stories and smile at each other with looks that said ‘We’re doing alright. These kids are ok. They are confident. They are learning. They are brave and loving life.’
Every morning you coached me – a scared and cautious beginner:
“Mummy, when you get to a steep bit just go into pizza,” Willow told me.
“Mummy, I sometimes feel scared too”, Betsy reassured me.
“Mum, my favourite runs are the easy, fun ones, so we can ski those together”, Lola promised.
As I sit here, looking outside at the stunning mountain scenery and wonder which part of it you are skiing, I am thinking about the years to come. The many more skills and experiences you will gain that I never have. The multiple ways you will out grow me and the hundreds of times I will watch you learn and do something for the first time. And that’s what I feel so proud of and happy about. The happiness is the dominant feeling…it just comes with a tinge of selfish sadness, triggered by the slightest whiff of my future empty nest.
For now, I will do my best to make the most of this year with you. To create as many opportunities for you to learn new stuff and see the world with wide open, compassionate eyes.
You just keep doing what you’re doing…and wait for me at the bottom of the piste.
Love Mum x