Children Grow Fast.
The Heartbreak Of Children Growing Up.
It was beautiful late afternoon sun in mid-March. We sat around the big oak tree on the far side of our village. Suni was scrabbling his way up the lightning struck branch that lay at a 45-degree angle from mid hight of the tree to the ground level. Indigo sat on my knee as we drank hot chocolate from our flask. We watched the sun sinking slowly over the fields on the horizon. Alex, my wife, had made her way across the field towards another oak tree, slightly smaller and surrounded by shallow brambles and deadwood. Skipper, our female family dog, a 6-year-old manic but adorable, loving Labradoodle, was ecstatic in play as she searched for Alex, who was hiding behind the tree in the brambles. Jesi, our middle child, followed Skipper towards his Mammy to explore the exciting new terrain.
I sat comfortably in a long moment of gratitude and calm. I took in the simple pleasure of being together as a family, being healthy, being free in such a beautiful moment. It occurred to me as it often does in these moments of presence that we are so fortunate to be here now.
When I have these profound insights, they are enveloped by a very raw feeling of the transient nature of time. The intrinsic knowing, and how quickly it passes us all by and how fortunate I am to recognise this even though it is often quite painful and sad to feel life moving into memories. I try to alchemise the love and the pain and arrive in the present and absorb it.
Watching Jesi skipping through the sunlight in the high grass towards his Mammy, knowing he feels safe, secure, loved and brave in his surroundings, bought this feeling home. I sat up with Indigo and corralled Suni, and we, too, followed Jesi through the golden shafts of sunlight to the smaller oak tree to join Alex and Skipper.
As I approached with Indigo on my shoulders and Suni in my slipstream, I could see a glistening silhouette Jesi was climbing the tree he was elated and now shouting to me, “Daddy Daddy look, I did it on my own, look how high I am, Daddy.”
As the sunlight moved behind the tree, I could now see Jesi, and in that split second, I knew! “Ahhhhhh” I watched Jesi fall roughly 10feet to the ground upside-down head first. My heart fell to my stomach; white light filled my eyes. My body accelerated in flight as I put Indigo to the ground and sprinted to him as fast as I could across the long grass and the brambles.
My father broke his neck at the age of 15. In the split seconds of my running, I visualised my boy possibly suffering the very same fate. The presence of mind I had just been basking in was so raw and honest; now, it had become a nightmare in an instant.
My ability to be calm and to control the situation was not possible. I always react in the same way when danger is around my children! My wife did a fantastic job of cradling Jesi and soothing him, asking the right questions at the right time. She also managed to calm me and remind me that my response is hyper and not helping. I work to calm down with her wisdom, and the situation slowly soothed.
Hearing and seeing your children suffer is a kind of pain I could never have imagined before. Another profound moment of introspection for me. The idea that one day at a time, we will let them go out into the world a little deeper, a little further, to discover their lives through mishap and adventure amidst all the chaos and the beauty. This leaves me feeling true that we must trust and let go. If we can achieve this, we truly are part of the cycle of life. Knowing that no matter our course, no matter our care, children grow, they will, without doubt, learn their most defining lessons in life via their mistakes, their injuries, their hurt and their pain.
Watching my children grow up at a breakneck speed is a tight rope of emotion. I am grateful that I am here with them, present and blissfully committed to every second, every inch of connection. I can offer them the stories of my failings, my adventures, but I must remember to move out of the way and clear the road for these beautiful, powerful and courageous earthlings to go their way, a little more every day.
They say hearts can only break when they’re filled with love; they only become whole again when they are filled by love.
I love you with every fibre of my being, through every dream I’ve ever had, every mistake I’ve ever made, every memory I have locked away;
I know you know Suni, Jesi & Indigo xxx