Whilst we've been going about our lives these last few weeks, big things have been going on for the boys and I. It may not be obvious to the casual observer; but quietly, inwardly, we are shifting and growing.
Eli and I are making our aquaintance with Fear. Eli has met it head-on whereas I am feeling around the edges; trying to discover its shape, resisting the urge to run away.
I'm not sure that I've been fully aware, in the moment, of my eldest boy's achievements. Growing up alongside a grab-life-by-the-throat brother and some wonderfully fearless friends means that sometimes his own little triumphs perhaps go unheralded.
Whilst we were at a climbing centre, trying some bigger climbs with ropes; Eli's very good friend scrambled with exquisite agility to the top of the wall, twice. I suspected that my boy would find the challenge more daunting. And he did. But despite momentary reluctance, he gave it a go. His whole body was tense and I guessed that he was getting very wobbly legs and very sweaty palms. He stayed up on those ropes though, tried a couple of climbs and swung about a bit - trying very hard to learn to trust that the harness was keeping him safe. I'm hoping that next time, he'll climb a little higher and feel a little braver, but if he doesn't that's fine too.
Only a few days later and we were swimming. Monty independently and joyfully doggy-paddling about. Eli blue, shivering, stiff with anxiety and swallowing many mouthfuls of pool water. Again though, he kept pushing his comfort; breathing deeply in an effort to relax, trying to trust this time that his arm-bands were keeping him safe. He kept lifting his feet up and willing himself forward despite his worry.
Our children teach us so much don't they? We're not always aware of the lessons we're being taught, but the learning is happening all the time.
My own fears are about making big decisions for our future, facing difficulties and doubts - can I do this? Do I have the strength? As Eli is showing me; sometimes we need to just take the plunge, step out of our comfort zone and find out what we're really capable of.