Thursday, January 07, 2016

babes in the wood {catch-up post}

Just before Christmas the girls and I got out of town for a few days with two of my girlfriends and their kiddies.

This is what girl camping looks like - cheese, crackers, fruit and bubbly!

Platbos is a small slice of Afro-montane forest a couple of hours drive out of town. Real forest mind you - old man's beard swathed about, fairy nooks, tendrils of mist and gnarled faces in the trees. A cool and quiet place in which to rapidly gear down from the madness of the last few months.
Very peaceful.
Until we lost Stella and her little friend.
For 25 minutes we walked and called through the woods - Frieda's face tight with consternation that she'd let her sister out of her sight, me modelling a courage and calm that came only from the necessity of being the Grown Up.
I honestly didn't think any harm would come to them (actively ignoring the many signs about wild bee colonies), but I knew that the longer they were alone the more upset they'd be getting. Poor wee things.

This little forest - so peaceful, evocative of picnics and fairies and mythical sprites, quite quickly became a darker place - the quiet suddenly seeming a little menacing, our calls of 'Stellllaaaaa' quickly absorbed by the dense undergrowth. Thoughts of bears and witches, every mysterious story ever heard of children disappearing in the wilderness ... amazing how this material rests in our subconscious, just waiting to be awoken.

And then we heard from camp, faintly on the breeze ... 'Found them' ... and there they were, tear-stained and wide-eyed, drinking hot chocolate and trying to find their smiles. Stella rushed to me and clung on, waiting 'til I walked away from the group before letting out a sob.

The recovery was swift, and soon they were out exploring again - staying well close to Frieda this time (the big sister who can read signboards).
I think they'll remember this always though, as I remember similar moments from my childhood - being alone, out of sight, facing adversity, and realising ... there won't always be a parent about.

Baby steps, little wings, safe adventures, nurturing instinct, listening to one's heart, examining one's environment - these are the crucial lessons of childhood. And parenting!

No comments: