One of the most wonderful and often surprising things about being a mother is just how much my children teach me. My four children have been teaching me things from the moment they were each born. And the more they all grow, the more I learn about life and about myself from each of them both as individuals and also in their wonderful little unit of four.
Here's a little lesson about resilience from my eldest, Imogen.
I am always amazed at how resilient children are. They are so much tougher than we give them credit for and they can really teach us how to follow their lead.
It is the resilience they show when they are learning that inspires me the most. Learning new things is hard. It takes time, patience and resilience.
At Easter we went down to Cornwall and we took Imogen surfing for the first time. When we booked her first lesson I explained that it would be hard. That she might get cold, disheartened and exhausted. I was so worried that she would get in the water, get cold quickly, get knocked off her board in the waves, get salt water in her eyes and give up within minutes. But I also knew just how much she would love it if she could get over all the hard stuff. Imogen is a strong swimmer and I knew she could do it but it still made me concerned.
She simply looked out at the sea, smiled and said "Don't worry Mummy, I'm resilient."
Yes, yes exactly. The next day she went out surfing with Stef and loved it so much. Yes she got cold and needed hot chocolate and so much to eat afterwards but she stood up on her board and feel in love with surfing and the sea.
That afternoon we both went back to the surf school and booked in another lesson. This time for both of us. I haven't been in the sea with a surfboard since my uni days. That is a long time ago. I've had four children since then. I knew I'd be mostly in the water with people so much younger than me and way more likely to stand up on their boards. But I looked out at the sea and looked at all the boards and wetsuits all lined up and I just couldn't not say yes.
As the lesson time got closer I was so tempted to pull out. To ask Stef to go instead of me. To make up some excuse. But I held onto Imogen's resilience and spirit. She gave me the strength and determination to do it. I can be resilient too....even in the water with a surfboard at the age of 40!
The minute I got the wetsuit on I felt so excited and happy. I spent so much time in the sea during my early 20s and once I was back in there with the waves and the salt and the complete emersion in that special place I lost all worries about my age or falling off, or getting salt in my eyes and up my nose. It was simply the best and just so wonderful to be back there.
And it's has a lasting impression too. Just those two hours in the water. It's given renewed trust and belief in my resilience levels for all of my life and work...not just in the sea. Thank you Imogen. xo