Thursday, 10 May 2012

Somewhere to run

I’d always dreamt of having a tree house. We had 3 greenhouses and a shed, all packed to the rafters with plants in various stages of growth and tools of every kind.
But there was no room in any of them for me. A tree house would have been perfect because then I’d have had somewhere to run.
When you’re a kid, how important is it to have somewhere to run?
Two conversations I’ve had today with two very different Mums, made me think of the tree house. 
Prolific blogger mum of three world talks about sibling rivalry and her eldest needing to get away from it all. And the other, my big sister, shared her fears for her epileptic son when he starts big school, where will he run when he needs help? Both expressed the same fear that they weren’t the ones they could run to. That not being there or your child choosing to run to someone else was a sign of failure.
But it’s not.

The olden days, but no tree house

I have vivid memories of running away many times; sometimes I’d pack a bag and mean it, other times I was escaping to sort my head out.

I had friends with brilliant parents whom I loved and trusted a great deal. I had my Nan who’d be there with a strong tea and lots of sugar (before phoning my mum and gently sending me home).

I’d run away, calm down, and most importantly, come back.
This wasn’t a bad reflection on my own Mum & Dad. I feel privileged that I had other adults I could turn to and looking back, thankful that my parents let me do that.
At certain points in your life, the last people you want to talk to is your parents, either through shame, embarrassment or more likely a huge fear of disappointing them (and most of the time I was probably running away from my sister!)
Kids get stressed, kids occasionally hate their siblings and kids will often feel alone. But as long as they’ve got a tree house they can bolt to, or a friend to support them, they’ll be fine.
And it certainly doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It means you’ve let them deal with things in their own way and if they’re anything like me, they’ll thank you for it and respect you so much more in the long run.
I still run away, all adults do, to have a beer, a walk, or a chat with someone other than my husband. So why should our kids be any different?