On Monday we decided to shrug off the housework, get out of the house and go for a drive. We visited the Mount Hypipamee National park and on the first leg of the journey we had a great time breathing in the beauty of dinner falls.
But the main reason for choosing the Mount Hypipamee National Park was becuase I wanted to take the kids to see the the Mount Hypipamee Crater.
The crater was formed as a result of a volcanic gas explosion and until recently, it was believed that it had an underwater tunnel connecting it to other waterways.
I had visited the crater when I was a kid, so for me the crater was an amazing, mystical place, and I wanted my children to experience that same sense of wonder.
[I even had dreams about the crater when I was a child. The most recurrent one was where Aliens were attacking the earth, and many of us (humans) descended into the crater going under the green sludge (in real life the green is just a layer of duckweed but in my dream it was green sludge) to emerge into a new, safe land, where we formed a resistance. Other times, the crater was just a part of the topographical landscape in dreams - particularly ones about volcanoes and lava, usually trying to escaping from the flowing lava and fireballs.]
So after we explored dinner falls, we climbed the relatively short but steep rainforest track to the Crater.
(So you don’t think I am totally unfit or anything I’ll just leave out the part where I was huffing and puffing by the time I got to the top. Future Post Alert – Did I mention that I am overweight and just recently discovered I have to lose 20 kilos? I have a plan to do something about this, I just have to work out what that plan is.)
Seeing the crater again after all those years was strange. I had seen the crater so many times in my mind’s eye, from the perspective of a young child. Now that I was here again, I had to take off my rose coloured glasses, and see it again for real.
The crater still was still beautiful. Looking at the sheer rock walls, the rainforest and into the deep abyss (from the safety of the viewing platform) was still a breathtaking experience.
But it wasn’t the way that I remembered it.
It wasn’t exactly the way my mind’s eye had made it out to be.
Of course, the crater has not changed. I have. I am taller. I am older. When I look at things now, I see them from a new perspective.
This got me thinking about the different perspectives we have about things in our past.
Movies that we watched. People that we knew. The things that happened to us.
The movies that were super scary or super awesome when we were kids, are not necessarily that crash hot when we revisit them as adults.
[Take Jaws for example. Worst. Movie. Ever. But back then it was really scary! Another great example of this - Electric Dreams - where the guy's computer comes to life and tries to ruin his relationship and control his life - I watched that again recently and had a red mark from all of the head slaps I gave myself for putting myself through watching it again.]
The people that we knew back then that were super cool or the meanest horrible bullies are *usually* very different people when we meet them again later in life.
The things that happened to us, the things that we did as kids, both good and bad, are all things that we remember from a child’s perspective.
In a world where each day contained the possibility of a new adventure; when the dark contained monster; when each school day (particularly sitting there in maths) felt like it was never going to end.
Sometimes the way we remember things that happened to us or things that we did as a kid can also be totally different from the people that we experienced them with, depending on our age, our likes and dislikes, and many other factors. For example, the school bully will have a different collection of memories about their school lives than their victims do. Even siblings may remember shared experiences with completely different perspectives, and remember things that happened in a completely different way.
Sometimes its a little bit fun to keep those rose coloured glasses on.
I don’t want forget about how the crater was a magical mystical place for me as a child. I can still choose to remember it the way I did before.
I can choose to remember how good certain songs, cartoons, movies made me feel when I was growing up.
However, sometimes its healthy to let those childhood perspectives go, particularly if they are holding us back. If we experienced traumatic times in our childhood, it can be good to look at these things with adult eyes. Going back to process the things that happened to us with the wisdom and knowledge that comes with age, can help us to gain new perspectives, find new ways to cope and achieve a new level of understanding, so that we can begin to heal and move forward with our lives.
The final lesson that I took from my visit to the crater is about the way I parent my children right now and what they will think about me in 20, 30 or 40 years time.
Its my job to nurture them, guiding them to discover their path in life, hopefully shaping them in to beautiful, caring, loving individuals that go onto to lead fruitful, successful and happy lives.
This means that there will be times that they don’t agree with the decisions that I make for them. From their current childhood perspective, I may be mean, or dumb, or just not understand. It may literally feel like the end of the world if my 10 year old daughter can’t do something that I feel is inappropriate for her age.
I am not a saint and I am certainly not a perfect mum. I know they will frustrate me at times and I will make mistakes plenty of mistakes along the way. I work full time. In the hustle and bustle of life it can easy to be overwhelmed by schedules. I can’t always make it to the school assembly. I can’t always do things that stay at home Mums can do. Sometimes I feel guilty about that.
I can also do my best to listen, to love them, to talk to them about anything and everything, to make them feel important, and take an interest in their interests and in what they are doing, even if I can’t be there. I can do my best to make time to provide them with amazing experiences that they will remember for ever, experiences to let them know how much they are loved. These don’t have to be grand gestures. Sometimes the simplest things are the best.
Hopefully when my children are are older and wiser, looking back at their lives, without their rose coloured glasses, they will know three simple things.
I worked hard to make sure they had everything they need.
I did everything in my power to make them feel safe, protected and loved.
I love them very, very much, even more than life itself.