Take me by the hand….
At the weekend we arranged to meet my brother, sister in law and their 3 kiddies for a forest walk. The place we planned to meet is somewhere I remember spending many Sundays as a child walking with my family and our pet dog. I hadn’t been for years and was excited to bring my kids to revisit my childhood haunt.
Clare Glen is a fantastic walk along the banks of the River Cusher with plenty of opportunities to do some off-road exploring for curious children. I hadn’t seen my brother and his wife for a while so it was great to walk along and catch up and enjoy seeing the kids running along and inventing little games amid the trees. With almost 8 years between the eldest and the youngest children it was lovely to stand back and see them guide and encourage one another. As I watched them run and jump and play my mind was flooded with memories of playing similar games with my siblings in these very trees and I felt swept along in the nostalgia of the moment. How quickly the years whizz by…
As we made our way alongside the river, we took some time to pause and take the youngest child out onto the rocks. He sweetly took my hand and asked for help. I was happy to oblige, honoured to help him take his first brave steps out onto the stepping stones.
After a few biscuits to refuel the kids all ran on ahead, climbing steep slopes and challenging one another to races. We chatted and laughed and enjoyed the simplicity of one another’s company, testimony that sometimes it’s the simplest of things that are the most precious. As we looped round to walk back down the other side of the river I walked on ahead with my oldest son. He put his arm around me and we chatted. This is a big week for him. He finishes primary school you see and is about to embark on a whole new adventure in September. My heart bursts with overwhelming pride when I look at the young man he has become. He is truly my best buddy. We talk about everything. Silly things, meaningful stuff and all the bits in between. As we walk along, arms wrapped around one another, I am suddenly aware that he is now only about an inch smaller than me! We talk about the new and exciting opportunities ahead of him. I can feel his enthusiasm for all that lies in front of him – a nervous anticipation. Part of me feels sad that this era of his childhood is drawing to a close but I am equally excited for him. This week is definitely bittersweet!
As I ponder the significance of the past few days and the next few days I am reminded that as people we are continually growing and changing, that we go through times of transition as the seasons of life pass. Often change can be daunting, but in these coming months I am keen to embrace the changes that await me and my family, to enjoy this new chapter. Certainly, to look back, to reminisce and fondly recall, to look how far we’ve come, but to step forwards bravely onto the blank pages of this new chapter and boldly write new stories for us. Exciting times!