I’ll Hold Your Hand

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.

Infinite Love,

Gaia
Gaia Co-writer theDIHEDRAL

 

 

 

32 thoughts on “I’ll Hold Your Hand

  1. Alan Sanderson says:

    I have climbed mountains with my kids as young as 8 years old, trusting that they will respect the 1,000 foot cliff and not fall off. It’s hard sometimes. Angel’s Landing is a very different hike with kids than it was when I was a teenager and had no one to worry about but myself. But over time I have learned how much freedom I can give my kids to explore, how much I can trust them out of my sight on the trail. Outdoor adventure is full of life lessons, and I can’t imagine growing up without mountains to climb.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. thedihedral says:

      YES ALAN! This is exactly how I feel too. We are all in this together! Thank you for sharing part of your story, I’m sure your kids are having a blast exploring the outdoors!

      Take care,

      Gaia

      Like

  2. Martha Kennedy says:

    When I was a kid (right? another one of those stories?) my parents just turned me loose and told me to come home by 4:30. My best friend (besides my brother) was the forest near my house. It was always reliable, beautiful as well as completely and totally neutral; that was liberating. It was a great teacher of boundaries. I didn’t have “nature oriented” parents and I really wish I had, bu . Your little guy is lucky. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Alan Sanderson says:

      My dad was a geologist. Not a nature-worshipper, but a nature appreciator. A conservationist, not an environmentalist. If we weren’t hiking, then we weren’t really on vacation. He would give us impromptu lectures on the geology of whatever place we happened to be visiting. It was a wonderful way to grow up!

      Liked by 3 people

    1. Fred says:

      Middle of the night feeding… diaper changes… baby is crying but you have no clue why. Rushing off to urgent care for earaches and colic. And you still have to go to work and pretend to be functional. Worse sleep deprivation than I went thru in basic training.

      Then, before you know it they turn into teenagers. Alien creatures whose only purpose in life is to frustrate you and push all your buttons. Insane levels of testosterone and estrogen and everything that brings. Extremes of emotion over trivial things. Combination of total selfishness and social insecurity. Drugs and sex and booze and rebellion.

      Parenting is not for the thin-skinned or faint of heart.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Fred says:

    Brings back memories! I miss the days when my children were small and discovering the world. Every new sight was amazing and every new thing fascinating. One memory comes thru. We were in Sequoia National Park. I discovered my 8 yo daughter explaining all about the forest to my 4 yo son. I barely have any idea what she was saying but she was saying a lot and went on and on. What wonderful days those were!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. fatimasait says:

    My 22 year old son has only ever hiked with me twice but my 18 year old daughter has hiked and climbed with me a few times….and this one section up Lion’s Head, she could never do while I was around as I couldn’t bare to watch her go up and down those chains….I never forbid her to do it, I trusted her ability…it was my paranoia we didn’t trust and would make her nervous…I however took my 6 year old nephew on 2 scramble routes but he was tiny enough for me to be right with as he scrambled up and down….
    only when my daughter was 16 years old, I finally had the courage (As her mother) to take her on a B3 scramble hike and I guided her up each scramble and I was surprised and proud just how capable she was and didn’t need my assistance.
    I don’t know if I had anything to do with it but she’s first year Nature Conservation student and I couldn’t be more proud as a nature lover myself 😀

    Also, I wasn’t planning on doing this but only thought of it now haha but please give her Insta and FB account a follow? Nature’s Heroes

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Farah Ben Mlouka says:

    I assume that I found myself in all what you say , and all I want you to know that you have to be proud of yourself as a mother and learn day after day how far you can trust your child so he can build confidence and learn autonomy which is a greatest goal . Good luck

    Liked by 2 people

  6. ClassicFlavia says:

    As a “child” I can only say that the more I grow the more I admire my mum and parents in general, we can be so selfish sometimes! I start to understand how many worries a mother has and that there is no wrong and right, is only a matter of perspective. So, I don’t know if I will have ever have children and if I would be capable of it. Anyway, I feel incredibly lucky to have a mother that has alway supported me and all of my choices (the good and the bad ones). Thanks for holding our hands for the rest of our life…a child will always be a child, doesn’t matter how old he/she is!

    Liked by 2 people

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