Much stress in the Little House these last two weeks as three of the family took on nerve-racking challenges. There is, of course, some unwritten law that all these events should conspire to occur during the same 14 day period. Although I was the only member of the family not about to have some sort of test or interview, as wife and mother (aka chief family administrator) I was required to help calm nerves, assist in preparation, provide moral-boosting pep talks and if that didn't work, a comforting hug.
|Cooking in wellies; a practical solution|
I thought at one point that the kitchen floor may end up with more icing on it than the cake and the bright blue colouring was smeared across her cheeks like some kind of banshee face-painting. The cake was delightful but the mess was of the 'go and lie down in a dark room' variety. Sadly, it didn't win but S coped with the disappointment well and even managed to congratulate the winner.
|The Sunset Cake|
On a more countrywide level H auditioned for the National Youth Theatre. I was full of pride that she could even contemplate standing on a stage in front of strangers without being sick but, not only did she deliver her monologue word perfect, she also managed to complete, and enjoy the three hour workshop (code for more auditions). I would be over the moon if she got in but I am also a realist and know that the statistics make it a very slim chance indeed. We will have to wait a further six weeks before we find out.
|Fabbydoo wanted to be in the audition head shot too|
As these busy weeks played out and the anxiety increased, I tried to analyse what it was exactly that makes being on the sidelines so stomach churning. I decided that despite what anyone may say about how challenges are character building, I think it would be hard to find a parent who wanted life to be difficult for their child. Competition makes us vulnerable; we open up ourselves to be judged and risk the hurt and disappointment if we don't quite make the grade. When our children or partners go through this process we feel judged as well and share their feelings in some strange love-tied symbiosis. We question ourselves - How can we help? Have we done enough? Will they manage? I guess the answer lies in developing that all important life skill - resilience. The dictionary defines resilience as the capacity to adjust, withstand and recover from stress or adversity. It does not say anything about shielding or protecting from stress and disappointment, no matter how much our instinct tells us to do so. And to teach resilience we need lots of it ourselves. I think this is something I definitely need to work on but for now I'm going to celebrate with some champagne and some of that tongue-staining cake as L got the job! I'm sure he will need lots of resilience to cope with the challenges a new job brings but that's to worry about another day.
|Our collection of celebratory corks!|