Just keep swimming
Just keep swimming
Scott Dunlop

Hello, mighty parents!

We’re on a cusp again - that time of the year where we’re leaning into what can feel like an abyss of the unknown, but, inevitably, we have to take that leap. My daughter taught me something about just that this weekend.

(We’ll get to the school stuff in a moment!)

Last week was terribly sad for my kids. Just four months after my father passed away, their other grandfather died in hospital. My ex-father in law was a fantastic guy. He was always kind to me, even after the “ex” bit, and he was incredibly close to my children. For a long time he was, somewhat unusually, their au pair, collecting them from school and looking after them in the afternoons. They seemed to rekindle a lovely part of his character that adored kids, and I am lucky to have had him in our lives.

The day after he died, my daughter came to me in tears. She said that it just felt wrong that life should carry on. A comment that, in a nutshell, sums up so much about how we deal with life events. When we lose someone, we feel an emptiness that can paralyse us. It’s hard to make sense out of the mundane aspects of living. Eating, sleeping, and tidying: all become meaningless.

What could I say to her? I couldn’t fix her grief. All I could do was to say that I was also very upset, and that she could come to me any time for a hug. The tears kept on coming.

Godfrey, thank you for being a superb grandfather to my kids - they’ll miss their “Gom”; thank you for your humour, patience and attentiveness. I couldn’t have been the parent I am without you.
The wonderful resilience of children amazes me. Instead of staying in that awful place, she has managed to recover some of her giddy energy. We spent lots of time laughing and having fun, proving that life DOES carry on, and that we can wrestle it into submission.

There’s a sense at the beginning of the year that we’re tilting out of the holidays and into the fierce commitment of school that we’d rather not, thank you very much. We know that once we’re in, we’ll have to stay for the full, challenging duration. Even while we’re marking the stationery and trimming the holiday hair, we have this reluctance to move forwards.

Until we do.

Even if it feels as if we’re only doing so under compulsion, we take that step. The best part of that, though, is that where there wasn’t even solid ground, it suddenly appears under our feet. And, where there was nothing except a vague concept of the future, we suddenly have reality: hopes, expectations and a fleshed out life again.

So I get that you may be approaching this year with some trepidation. We can’t predict a single day of it, but I do know that there will some great times ahead and that we’ll deal with the bad stuff, too. One thing to keep in mind is that kids can cope with the bad stuff better than we can imagine. I’d like to adopt that resilient approach to this year, too.

So let’s jump into it together! All together now...

P.S. Don’t forget to send us your pictures of that amazing first day at school - you could win a R500 Mr Price voucher! Enter via email or on our Facebook page.

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