I smile and stretch slowly while sipping my tea, reflecting on the start of another week…

No, actually, reality is somewhat different. I have three sons. Monday brings with it a manic rush to beat the Inanda Road traffic, and frantic reminders to ensure all three boys, and school bags, cricket bags, tennis bags, swimming costumes etc. are packed for a busy, action packed day. And a craving for that cup of tea…

With strict instructions from school to avoid being a “helicopter mum” I need to ensure that all is packed in advance, hopefully at the boys’ own instigation. “Helicopter mums” rush in to save their children from the life threatening dangers associated with forgetting one’s PE kit, or homework, or piano book…. Organised mums make sure their children have responsibly learned to pack their things the night before— at least that is the theory!

In the wonderfully old fashioned words of Anne Bronte:

“If you would have your son (or daughter) to walk honorably through the world, you must not attempt to clear the stones from his path, but teach him to walk firmly over them – not insist upon leading him by the hand, but let him learn to go alone.”

 Ah, but that is the crux for a mum… Learning to leave our beloved darlings to learn from their own mistakes and for them to learn to walk firmly over those stones. For the path is not guaranteed to be free of rocks – though we, as Christians, certainly have a wonderful arm to lean on, that of God Himself.

Of course, frequently we, as parents, learn as much as our children. Like the time that I arrived at school to find a class full of little Grade 1 boys all dressed for their outing to the beach at the Bluff – evidently my boy was not! What followed was a frantic rush home to gather the required items and then a desperate attempt to beat the bus (which already had a good head start on me) to the Bluff venue in rush hour traffic before they disappeared on their way down the beach. We both learned a good few lessons that day not least of which was to read the school letter properly and listen to your child, even if he is only six.

Every day brings with it, its own sense of wonder at these amazing small people we have been given to raise… But every day we have to remember to slow down and drink that cup of tea – before we know it our littlest one will no longer be asking us to watch Barney with him, or pretend to be kittens. And then we shall be reminded that:

“The days are long, but the years are short” (Gretchin Rubin)

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