Went biking around Ayutthaya yesterday with my son– gawking at temple ruins that have been declared a UNESCO Heritage site. And drinking milk tea. Of course.
Nowhere do I feel time marching on more than when I travel with my children. Where before I was the one they followed around, now it is I (and my husband) who follow their lead. They’re more techno-savvy, for one. Way way WAY more. They take to train schedules and GPSing all over the globe with an ease I don’t have. It is 2nd nature to them. Just like breathing.
When they were tiny, we had that double stroller so the 2 younger ones could sit and my panganay would sometimes hitch with them. And we’d have milk, juice, crackers, apples, diapers, wipes, books, their tapes (old style!), crayons, clay, turtles–our whole house basically. And I would make those huge IDs with pertinent info that they wore on in case they got lost. And when we crossed the street, we would take their hands and teach them to look right and look left first before crossing.
We’re no longer there now.
Today my son said to me, “Look before you cross, mom.” I was sightseeing and got lost in thought. When we cross the street, he now takes the dangerous side whereas my husband I used to parenthesis all three of them.
I now follow his lead as we bike up and down the streets of Ayutthaya. And he’s the one who worries if we’re on the right track. I don’t even think about it. Truth is, I kinda like getting lost. You travel to see the world, right? When you get lost, you get off the beaten track and see even more of the unexpected. And I like getting lost with my children.
I get to see what it is they’re made of. And if I can let go a bit now.
We bring them up to the best of our abilities and yet, the truth is, most of the time, I was just winging it–and always, there is this niggling thought in my mind that I might have done it all wrong and that I might have irretrievably damaged them so they’d end up in dark basements all their lives, eating off a can, glued to a computer screen.
And then we travel and I see how they stride purposely and how they’re at ease talking to whoever it is they need to talk to. How they’re respectful of the people and culture of whatever country we’re in. And how they take in the sights and then say something insightful like, “I like that Thais haven’t adjusted all that much to the English-speaking world. I think we might have lost something by letting go of our language to the extent that we have.”
I like that they make me think. What that says to me is that they think. And I like that. A lot. I raised them to be thinkers. To be the atribida that questions the prevailing norm . And I like that that seems to have taken root.
My children–the ones I gave my highly imperfect best–are launching. I see them taking their place in a world that’s changing so fast, it just makes my head spin.
Will they be ok? Some days I doubt it (like when I look at their messy rooms). And some days, my heart beats with wild hope that they, indeed, will take their place in the world and that they will give to this hurting world what it is they’re meant to give it.
Hey, have a great day! My big embrace to you all.