Wednesday, September 04, 2013

step by step

On the first day of school, I attended the school's "first day" assembly.  As the principal spoke, I could feel this tug-of-war within me...wanting to sit around the campfire with my children for just one more week longer, but also wanting them to spread their wings and join their school friends once again, learning to adapt to new teachers, new schedules, and new rules.

I started to think about the many articles I've read recently, about how some parents are feeling as they send their adult children for the first time to post secondary school, and I realized that what I'm feeling today is just the first step towards that "mixed feeling" moment of the future, when my kids will someday move on to college or university.   Today is just a preparatory step.

I started to look around the school gymnasium...paying attention to little details like how the lights reflected on the ceiling, the smell of freshly washed floors, and the nervous excitement I could feel in the air. For some reason I wanted to pay attention to all of this, as if for a brief moment, time felt frozen because I'm staying in the moment, not planning ahead for what I'm going to do for the rest of the day.  Maybe one day, I will remember this moment as a special memory where I once remembered the smell, the light, the feeling of elementary school and wonder where the time went?

Just as this moment is only one step in my journey as a parent to prepare my children (and myself) to grow and spread their wings, I hope my kids will realize how each of their steps are important foundations toward becoming adults that (I believe) will change the world.

I want to remember that moment when they took their very first step, and how it must have felt like trying to climb mountains but with every courageous attempt, I want them to realize after conquering it, that those mountains were really just large rocks after all.

The kids, particularly our son, loves to "parkour", which is overcoming obstacles in his environment
 as quickly and efficiently, using only his body and his surroundings to propel himself.  Both kids loved
these Reebok* shoes, which were light but had a strong grip to give them speed and momentum. 

I want to remember when they first rode their bikes without training worried they were to go too fast or they'd fall and scrape their knee, and I want them to look back as they ride their two-wheeled bikes today, and realize the freedom they now have because they kept trying and kept moving forward.

I want to remember when they were little, how they tried with all their might and frustration to catch every ball, and I want them to realize that sometimes they may miss a few throws, but with persistence and practice, they will catch more and more every time.

In each stage I hope they will rise to the challenge of new experiences, and we'll be there to support and guide, whether in person or in spirit.  We will do our best to give them the tools they need.  Books, running shoes, bikes...anything that will help equip them so they can take each step, so as parents we can savour in the memory, and the kids can look back and learn from it.

With all these steps, maybe as parents we too will learn...and be better prepared when we reach that "mixed feeling" moment in the future as we send our kids to college or university.

Mmm...well...we'll see.  We'll just have to take it one step at a time.

*A big thank you to Michelle for providing the ATV19 Reebok shoes for each step of our kid's outdoor adventures this past summer.  Reebok Kids ATV19 footwear is available at Foot Locker, Sears, Sport Chek and through

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