So we found ourselves in beautiful Lennox Head, Northern NSW.
It was a muggy and overcast Monday night – our family three instead of four. It felt strange.
Little Yang enjoyed a promised pink drink as we nursed nerves with our beers and a pub meal.
Nearby our family’s missing limb was playing games with her friends, laughing, telling stories (or so we imagined) and tearing up only a little.
She’d ventured off that morning dry-eyed as she’d prepared to get on the bus, having pushed through tears and fears at home, our repeated refrain ‘You can do it’ ringing in her ears.
We didn’t phone the teacher and we didn’t wait for her call – we hoped, believed everything would be alright. And it was!
The dreaded ‘A’ had reared its ugly head that second week of school as the prospect of camp and separation from us loomed large and near.
We hadn’t expected camp so early in the year and Miss Yin must have felt she had no choice but to come clean on the fears that had been growing for a year or more, that we’d seen manifest in her reluctance to have sleep-overs and a major meltdown or two.
What resilience our little girl had shown in finding herself adopted by strange-looking people (that would be us) aged 12 months – her whole world turned upside down.
What resilience she’d shown in moving to Canada for a year, aged 7, leaving the familiar behind and making new friends.
What courage our cautious-by-nature girl has shown many times over as she’s taken on new challenges.
What bravery she is showing as she slowly comes to terms with her own story, her own losses.
What reserves of resilience she’s built up because we’ve tried so hard to instil it in her. Along with empathy (and love of course), resilience is all important in my parenting book.
Still we sought professional help, and we are so proud that she made it through the first night of camp and will make it through the second, no doubt. (Update – all good, home safe and sound)!
Were we being too protective in our precautionary overnight stay in beautiful Lennox Head? Is it in the nature of adoptive parents, or those parents who like us have fought so hard to have their kids (through infertility etc) to be over-protective? In being prone to worry, am I passing on my anxieties, if not my genes? Was I reassuring myself as much as Miss Yin?
I’ve read many stories on adoption forums that make me think many adoptive parents are too hyper-vigilant for problems. We’ve always tried to parent without searching for problems, but without running away from them either. We’ve always tried to parent by believing that resilience is a big part of the solution. And I guess in surviving infertility/IVF and the long adoption process we’ve demonstrated what we’ve tried hard to teach.
Still Lennox Head offered up more lessons.
Little Yang sought his Dad’s shoulders as we prepared to climb the steps to the lookout, before showing us he’s a big (well small actually) four year old now. ‘You can do it’, Little Yang.
The sign at the top of the headland reminded all that there is always hope and help against the worst worries, the deepest despair.
The gorgeous views and the endless ocean reminded us of the beauty and possibilities of a future unclouded by anxiety (even on an overcast day).
The ducks on Lake Ainsworth (stained brown by the tea trees) showed resilience against a blue green algae bloom that Ballina Shire Council warned prevented swimming, fishing and water sports (oh dear, hopefully camp activities aren’t curtailed too much).
And then on the beach Little Yang showed ‘super-strength’ to pick up some rocks he found on the dunes – the rocks reminding us that sometimes things that seem real (like fears) aren’t, that the weight of our worries will never be as heavy as they seem if we only have resilience as our strength.
Our cautionary/precautionary excursion cost us a tidy $300 by the time we stumped up for a motel room ($120), dinner and drinks ($85), breakfast ($45) and petrol ($50) but the reward of seeing resilience in your children is truly priceless to a parent. (Oh and we found a great little cafe/tapas bar for breakfast – Cafe Marius – if you are ever in Lennox Head, which did I mention is beautiful, even on on a grey day).
Linking up with Zanni Louise for Sunshine Sundays, on the theme of FEAR, the enemy of which is RESILIENCE!.
Please check out my children’s meditation video that I’ve put together since, aimed at helping calm ‘monster’ feelings of anxiety.
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