This picture represents everything I love and admire and fear simultaneously in one image.
Our little Miss Napier in Frame isn’t so little any more.
It may only be five years, but it feels like a lifetime!
And not just her’s.
Our little baby, who would only ever fall asleep snuggling in my arms is now a smart & sociable girl riding her bike freely (she demanded we take her training wheels off one Saturday afternoon, immediately started riding perfectly without them and never looked back).
She has truly begun making her own way in the world.
Having learned so much by the age of five in Kindy (she can write her name and numbers, count beyond 100 and speak bits of Spanish and Te Reo – I can’t remember being able to do that at 6!) part of me is convinced that she just becomes an adult now, right?
It’s off to school in the next few weeks & into the big, wide, world.
Peer pressure, bullying, body image and boys – All things I can’t always defend her from await, though hopefully in the far-off future for now, at least.
For me Tamatea Primary was the scene and catalyst of some of my most cherished memories.
An 80s childhood at its best.
I hope her primary school years bring her as much fun, knowledge and friendship as mine brought me.
There are, of course, things I CAN help defend her from.
I go to work each week, not for myself, but to provide a safe, warm, loving home and to ensure there is always food on the table.
(That sounds terribly clichéd, but it’s an honourable, old-school trait I got from my Dad – That said, an enjoyable job where I get to be creative wouldn’t go amiss. I continue to write in the hope that lightning might strike twice…)
In primary school I remember the teacher telling us there was a hole in something called “The Ozone Layer” and expecting that within the decade we would all have to be walking around in space suits for protection.
That didn’t quite come to fruition, but there are plenty of equally sized, and bigger, environmental threats out there, so I will do my best to keep the world she will inherit as clean and safe as possible.
I will always be there for her.
Even when she doesn’t want me.
When she hurts herself, she currently runs crying to mum for cuddles.
Even when she is having a screaming match with mum, she STILL runs to her for cuddles afterwards (there is a level of logic there FAR beyond my comprehension).
But, possibly hardest of all, I must let her fall and fail occasionally. To watch her have hopes and dreams dashed. It’s hard, but it will make her stronger.
It “builds character” (another terrible, but true, cliche).
And she already has loads of that – Kindness, caring, love and compassion. All those things too many adults seem to lose as they grow older.
The other day she got her bike out of the garage to ride it around the yard, so I took mine out for the first time in ages, too, and together we went for a ride along the neighborhood cyclepath.
We kept a safe, respectful distance apart, riding along and chatting. Sometimes she was in the lead and sometimes I was. We both occasionally got the wobbles, but it was fun.
I hope as she gets older she will want me to come along on more rides and adventures. To bring picnics and puncture repair kits.
She might even need to bring them for me!
These first five years have been one hell of a ride!
But it’s worth it – She is amazing!