Recently I took my 2 year-old to The Grounds of Alexandria**, in an inner-east suburb of Sydney, Australia. It’s a cool place for young kids and parents as it combines a café with a petting zoo with live chickens, goats and even a pig called Kevin Bacon.
As expected my son found a lot of joy.
pastry delight anyone?
I could hear it in his voice when he shouted “Pig!” I could see it in his body and his running around to each of the little pens. I could see it in his eyes as they were wide-eyed and dilated.
It was fun watching him. Not so fun chasing him through a throng of people.
We kept exploring the grounds and came across a playhouse in the corner of the outdoor café. The garden area of the playhouse contained the sweetest set up with a multi coloured picket fence and a little old-fashioned bike leaning against the house. The inside was a little dark.
I went inside first to explore.
Now normally my little guy is a bolter. He runs everywhere rather than walks. In this instance, he stepped in tentatively and he stopped just at the door.
I could tell he preferred the light and the colour and the noise outside.
Despite his reservations of the dark interior he trusted me more. He took one last look outside before taking a step inside towards me.
In that little moment, he showed me something my consciousness knew but only took then to bubble to the surface.
Being a parent is hard, unrelenting, ambiguous work. Yes.
It’s the hardest job in the world and we can feel like we’re stuck in the shadows, either feeling isolated and alone or struggling through the universal difficulties with feeding or sleeping. And that’s not even including the general position description for parents. It’s beyond belief.
Would anyone really apply for our role? Watch the video below.
But what bubbled to the surface is, there is light. So much light.
The light is the love that has been nurtured from the very beginning when they put a tiny human being on our chest.
The light is re-discovering the world again through little eyes, little mouths and little hands. The unbridled joy when they’re discovering the animals in a picture book are very much real and alive!
The light is in the little moments where they show infinite trust in us to guide and protect them.
Of course there are days where it gets hard. So hard. But trust that there is light and days where we will find ourselves bathed in it and the shadows and the tears, fall away.
**I am not affiliated with The Grounds.