Aren't children brave or is it just trusting? Today on our walk home from school this morning, child 4 took the path that leads around the field as his chosen journey, he has often wandered down the trail made by walkers and their dogs, usually because there is a lovely muddy bit for him to stomp in but today he walked the whole circular route and quite happily traversed it on his own. Obviously I was there but I had the buggy with the little bit of shopping we had done on the back. I couldn't really push the buggy along the walkers track so followed his progress as I pushed up the hill following the Tarmac path that runs along the edge.
What made me think of his courage was the fact that the field is now completely overgrown, full of dandelion clocks, bright yellow buttercups, pale lilac wild orchids and full headed yarrow all their faces reaching high trying to touch the sky. The tall reeds of swishy swashy grasses bend in the breeze, their blades aiming higher than the wild flowers looking up towards the spring sunshine. The whole field is now taller than our little boy, but off he went exploring in what must have been a huge territory for his little legs. As we walked parallel to each other, he slowly making his way through the towering grasses hunting for bugs, birds and plant life and hiding from his mum too. I watched for that tow head and flashes of red raincoat. He was perfectly safe, the field is surrounded by hedge rows of holly, elderflower and hawthorn the gates for entering and exiting are at either end of the Tarmac track that I was slowly strolling along.
This must be how our children gradually learn independence and autonomy. This ability to hide for a while, just until they wish to be found and then allowing us to pursue and catch them. All this teaches them that as parents we will always seek them out. It must be life and love affirming especially I think for children who have been in care where fear of being left behind must remain in a corner of their psyche. Hide and seek in all it's childhood formats whether it be peek a boo or the physical hiding away teaches our children that we will return to them.
They learn that it is safe to go and explore when mum or dad is close by, we won't leave them. If they find exciting creatures or plants we are there to enjoy their discoveries and share our knowledge. Children love finding snails with houses on their backs, furry caterpillars that will build cocoons and re awaken as beautiful butterflies and pools of frogspawn that give birth to tadpoles, little fishes that evolve into jumping frogs. These early explorations will surely encourage our children to head out into that big wide world to explore life in all it's colour as they grow up, knowing that we will always be there for them to return too.