We spend our lives building up our ability to deal with the sometimes horrible things that life can throw at us. In fact, employers often see that resilience as being a good thing, having someone that will soldier on when everyone or everything around them might be falling apart.
And for the most part, it’s a good thing, unless we take it too far and it becomes uncaring or leaves unable to let anyone in and heading into loneliness territory.
Then you have children and you get to start all over again.
Some of those worries you had relegated to the “forget about it pile” come back in full strength.
What if I die? Have I made enough provisions for the kids? If I lose my job (thank you very much recession!) will I be able to keep a roof over our heads? Who’s going to take care of things if I get sick (and let’s face it no one looks after us mums when we get sick – sorry dads, but it’s true)?
And that’s just the vulnerabilities we have ourselves. What about all the ones we adopt on behalf of our children?
What if they fall off the swing and have to suffer the pain of scrapes and bruises? What if another child is mean to them at playgroup? How will they feel if a strange adult pushes in front of them as if they were beneath notice when they’re queuing to buy their very own copy of their favouritist, favouritist magazine?
How can a toddler fall over so often, and so spectacularly, which a certain small girl does at least 10 times before breakfast, without apparently suffering any ill effects apart from dirty hands (which she hates)? I watch her and I’m sure that within the hour we’d be waiting for the paramedics if I fell over even a quarter as much, and that’s if we were lucky.
There is a positive side to this added vulnerability we have. How many of us are more aware of what we are doing to the environment, or adopt a healthier diet because they need proper food whilst they’re growing up?
How about the life-long heavy metal fan who is quite happy sitting there in a glittery tiara whilst drinking pretend tea from a pink cup they could barely fit their little finger into? (Yes, Other Half. It is coming!) Or the body builder walking down the road carrying a Dora the Explorer back pack and the My Little Pony that wouldn’t quite be corralled inside it? Or the mother who will adopt whichever character name that’s been assigned to them for the day (today it’s Dashi – we’re back in Octonauts mode)?
How about showing our children that it’s all right to be caring and sensitive towards the needs of others? Or giving them a sense that they have some control over their lives, since daddy will comply with the tea-party-etiquette, as laid down by them, without any argument?
Yes, having children does make us more vulnerable when it comes to threats to them, but in dealing with those threats we get the opportunity to show our children the best of ourselves and give them something positive to aspire to.
And maybe that’s a vulnerability for us to aspire to.
You’ll have to excuse me now. Someone’s just sounded the Octoalert.