Lessons from my daughter #19.
Miss L is a wanderer. Ever since she began crawling and standing and trying to walk she has been off on her own adventures. She never wanders far, at least, never so far that she can’t hear me but most definitely far enough to be out of reach. And I am surprisingly ok with this.
Last week we headed down to the rockpool for a late afternoon swim hoping to miss all the crowds. We missed the crowds alright. We also missed the water. I had never seen the rockpool at such low tide before, with only about 10cm of water left in a slowly receding puddle. My Miss L didn’t mind one bit. We sat in the puddle and splashed and played and laughed and enjoyed the afternoon sunshine. And then she took off. At first she was headed towards the rocks but I decided to sit back and watch rather than intervening. It wasn’t long before she found a shell and then a piece of seaweed and then a school of tiny fish. She forgot all about the rocks and wandered wherever her fancy took her instead. Every so often she would look up to see if I was still there and still watching but mostly she was just happy to explore this brave new world at her own pace.
I am not a wanderer and I never have been. I’m the kind of person that always has The Plan. It might be The Plan for the week, for the year, for 5 or even 10 years but The Plan is always there. It’s not really a control thing, at least I don’t think it is. I just like to know where I am headed, how long it takes to get there and which path to travel. I like signposts and halfway breaks and checkpoints and graphs and calendars and charts and instruction manuals. Oh, how I love instruction manuals! I could tell you all about Hubs and I putting together flatpack furniture from Ikea but that’s a story for another day.
There has been no instruction manual for this chapter of our lives and, for the first time, I wish there was a little less of the plotter in me and a little more of the wanderer. Watching my little girl in the rockpool made me realise that I don’t even go for a walk spontaneously. I take the same route at the same pace at the same time of day on the same days of the week. If something else comes up then I just don’t go. If The Plan gets interrupted then I just don’t make a move at all. For the past nine months there has been no Plan, not even one with a lowercase p. I’ve had to keep moving but I’ve been travelling in circles looking for a landmark I recognise, something, anything to get me back on track. And along the way I have been missing all the shells and seaweed and schools of tiny fish. I’ve been missing out on the little jewels that life throws our way when we aren’t looking, the ones that still glitter even in the darkest of times.
This week I am going to try out a new track. I am going to stop looking for remnants of The Plan, of the life I knew before my heart condition and the dreams I had for motherhood. Instead, I am going to wander where my feet take me. And I’m ok with that.
I would love to know, are you a plotter or a wanderer?