What kids can teach if we listen

After I stopped working at the cafe, I’ve had the joy and deep pleasure of spending more time with my kids, doing the school runs and being around them more. They seem like nice kids, a real credit to Lady Mackay who has done a bang up job.

With LM heading off to the Big Smoke three days a week, I do the morning hustle of getting them to school and they’re easy to get going. Abigail,13, looks after herself, arrives at the right time to leave and even passes a few ‘ugg’ moments before we get in the car.

Rory, 8, needs a bit more work but with the usual cajoling and motivational techniques (ranging from carrot to big toe swinging at high speed towards his beam end) he gets ready without too much fuss. I do have to watch out for the occasional plum shot from Rory, which is thanks to a Top Gear episode with Chinese Stig that he thinks is hilarious. The Little Shit.

In the car is the usual fun and cavorting, with us all messing around with each other, taking about the day ahead, getting them laughing and cheery. It always is better if you can laugh first thing as it sets you up for the day. Abigail goes to the bus stop in a nearby village being dropped off first, getting out with a grunt and a deep breath, hoping I don’t embarrass her in front of the school bus by being me. Rory goes to the school in the village, which is next stop.

‘Last one out the car is a smelly fart!’ when we reach the school and an unseemly debacle erupts at the back of the car getting his bags. His sports bag goes in an outside container, so we have a race or a game of tig on the way to the door and I normally cheat. Both of us are chattering twenty to the dozen as we enter the cloakroom and normally me poking a lot of fun at him, which he gives back. I am just another Year 4 to him at that moment, a big kid, a man child (as Abigail calls me), a mate.

We get a lot of comments from teachers about it, which is lovely and one asked this morning what we eat for breakfast as we are always happy coming in to school. I responded with something like he’s going to school, I’m going home, which raises a laugh.

The great thing about this is it lifts the mood, gives them both a good start to the day and for me, it gives me the sense of normality. When you’re broken, feeling like all you  want to do is go home, pull the covers over your head and keep the world out, it’s amazing how staying ‘normal’ for your child helps. It’s also really therapeutic hearing the sound of your child giggling away, giving you some banter back, telling you about their day.

So when I hear a teacher commenting on it, I’ve done a good job of keeping them happy and both not seeing me as ill or damaged, in a bad place. I’ve got the rest of the day to sort that for myself. Then it’s off to do it all in reverse.

They remind me that laughing every day is great for the soul, enjoying the moment, that very moment and to be present for it, savouring it. If adults could just learn from kids, we’d be a lot happier but we tend to be wrapped up in something else, heads elsewhere and not in the moment. And childhood really is so fleeting.

The kids are a big part of me keeping the illness at bay and help in my recovery. It is a daily struggle and seeing they are happy and ‘normal’ is fantastic therapy.

At least I am getting that right.

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