Let’s put something out there, parenthood is tough! Having a kid is like being born all over again. This overwhelming process is like taking infinite exams simultaneously while studying for them at the same time. Of course, what I just wrote made no sense, but it is not like parenthood does either. Every journey is different and every process unique. Trying to figure out the “right” way on the spot is like expecting your toddler to learn how to walk without tumbling. During my pregnancy I had the opportunity to witness different family dynamics, which helped me to visualize how I wanted mine to be. However, this was something I had no immediate control of and trying to predict my son’s personality gave me anxiety. I fell in the dreaded comparison field and hoped my son would and wouldn’t turn out certain ways. What a mistake! Now that I look back, -with my son on top of me, talking and kissing me while I try to write- I understand more and more the importance of guidance.
I had vague knowledge on parenting, but something I was sure of is that I was going to guide my son through the process of becoming an independent, adventurous, and loving being. I read all of the OB/GYN pamphlets and took mental notes of the milestones and parenting techniques. But the truth is, the greatest book is the one that you write along the way. I actively reminded myself that I was going to become a mother the day that he was going to be born, initiating an interesting and beautiful learning process for the both of us. From teaching him how to chew with his mouth closed (table etiquette freak) to hugging trees, I made sure that his smile shines bright. Little did I know that his smile would shine even brighter when he was climbing the green, leafy towers. They say that you get what you ask for and the proverb delivered. Meeting this milestone set a greater challenge: determining when to hold his hand and when to let go.
I have to confess that my heart stops every time that we are outdoors and he lets go of my hand. I have to focus intensely on my breathing to make sure that I don’t faint and that I show confidence and trust in him. Of course, my friends and I are always around to make sure that he explores in a safe environment but honestly, the outdoors is dangerous in itself. Being conscious of this reality is a must and instilling in him that respect for nature and its inherent risks is also a priority. I have heard several comments ranging from praises to questioning my parenting style. As I mentioned before, every process is unique and our dynamic forms part of it. Teaching him about love for nature, bravery, and confidence through experience is the best tool that I can give him. As a young single mother, my priority is to raise a confident and respectful son and nature has happened to lend us a hand in the process.
We have cultivated this relationship with nature since he was a toddler. We focused on direct contact through picnics, strolls in the park, Ecology Club meetings, camping, and -ultimately- climbing adventures. This process allowed us to take baby steps (no pun intended!) towards trusting and understanding each other. Exploring hand in hand, on different levels, has paved the way to our current dynamic. We have focused on listening skills and trust. When mom says “Watch out” or “Let’s stop,” T knows he must listen. This is how we have gained mutual trust and what has determined how much I can let go. I understand when T is not comfortable or when his feet itch and urge him to explore. This is an ever growing learning process of mutual respect and trust. I am happy that it is a journey that I get to share with my son and, even though it makes my mother senses go off in every way possible, it puts me at ease when I see him hugging trees.. and smiling.
Here I share a video of him cliff jumping (notice his personal body guards!)
We are fortunate enough to have an amazing support system that is ready to jump in the water for us, literally and figuratively speaking.
To our group of friends: Thank you for adventuring with us.
To our readers: Let’s keep exploring, growing, and loving together. Thank you for connecting with us.