Sometimes the bumpiest rides are the most fun. I enjoyed a weekend on an All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) to prove it.
As a stay-at-mother, I have spent countless hours in the company of our children. I taught them their letters, how to make eggs, and when to use their manner words. What I couldn’t show them, nor did I want to, was what their likes and dislikes are. Who they are. How they express themselves. That is all them, and I am proud of how our children have learned that about themselves to this point. I am still learning who I am so I hope they continue finding out more throughout their lives too.
What I discovered about our son on our weekend on the ATV was beautiful. He is a daredevil that I knew, and it has been hard to let those reins out to let him discover that because I’m his protector. I try to trust, but it is sometimes painful.
What I realised on that ATV watching my son in his natural daredevil state is that I don’t need to worry so much. Sure he wanted to go through the mud that I thought was maybe a bit too risky. But he asked me to trust him, and I did. He traversed the ground with ease and found just the right spots (the ones I would have selected) to take our vehicle on a bumpy ride safely and with as much fun as one can possibly have.
It was a gift. Maybe it would have been less of a gift if we had got ourselves stuck in that mud, but that is hopefully something we won’t have to navigate on our treks.
Getting a glimpse into your children’s minds gets more and more challenging as they hit their teenage years. I think some of it is conditioning. They don’t want to open up for fear of judgement while they are outside our house, and that makes them just a little more reserved inside the house too. We don’t see everything because they want to keep somethings to themselves. They need to enjoy some privacy and maybe even a secret or two with their world outside the family.
I hope they trust us with the heavy stuff but sometimes they are going to prefer the shoulder of a friend for those conversations, and I have to believe they have selected their friends wisely. Sometimes, only mom will do, and I am waiting with a tissue, a sparkler, a hug, and comfort food for whatever occasion presents itself when I get to be the ‘one’ to be their sounding board.
For those moments I am privileged to witness our children’s joy, I am thankful. Watching our daughter dance and our son on his snowboard have been real pleasures that make all the hard times worth it. Maybe not ALL the hard times. Like the time she didn’t tell me about a boy asking her out, or the time he didn’t tell me he was drinking at a friend’s house. I am, however, incredibly thankful to be in the passenger’s seat witnessing our son discover a new love. He was utterly animated and alive at that moment, and so was I. I was just thankful I didn’t cry and make the whole adventure weird.
Kids take you on a bumpy ride. Sometimes I am not good at being the passenger. I try not to yell or slam doors, but I’m not always successful. I try not to embarrass them too much, but sometimes I take that on as a challenge and wear their disdain like a badge of honour. When I roll with the ride and be an actual passenger in their lives though, I bear witness to some of the most incredible experiences. When our children are themselves, unguarded and unashamed. Those make all the whiplash worth it.
My Turning 50 Like a Boss Pro Tip: Always Embrace the Bumpy Ride
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