With a pandemic raging outside, lockdown was a good excuse to stay indoors, let things slide, have a quiet, safe life. Dull, but compared to what others were going through, a breeze.
I could have renovated the homestead or explored hobbies such as scrimshaw and astral projection but I had plenty on, working from home and Youngest’s fascinating online college course lectures (so many questions!) - until she retreated to her bedroom where she could concentrate and no-one would touch her stuff. Selfish.
Being indoors felt safe. Now, however, with easing apace, it’s time to take baby steps, live a little. Maybe a slightly longer walk into the next post code. Some cake on my birthday?
But a message arrives from Middle on the family whatsapp.
“Remember yous are coming climbing tonit for mum’s birthday.”
Climbing? Only myself to blame. Yes I did say bouldering was a great idea, back when there was as much danger of it happening as my dream date with the sadly-departed Barry Chuckle. And I did boast about climbing sea cliffs and threading the needle on The Cobbler, but that was BC, (that’s kids not Covid. My nerves have been shot since childbirth).
But here I am, clinging to a bouldering wall, my life, ok sanity, in Middle Child’s hands. To be fair, he’s a qualified climbing instructor and guiding my every move. Who knew the boy who sat on the roof when your back was turned would turn into Mr Health and Safety. Just as well because up on the Peppa Pig route (Middle: “Piglets route, Ma”) I’m out of my comfort zone. That’s on the ground and covered in bouncy foam - not that I can look down.
I’m having Go Ape flashbacks to the time I depended on my children clipping me onto a tree or I’d have been spreadeagled at the bottom of a gorge. So glad I let them run wild when they were younger and they climb like monkeys, especially Middle who left alone long enough with a typewriter would come up not with Shakespeare, but a health and safety manual.
As he talks me down - “spotty pink hold next your left foot, well done” and Eldest and Youngest encourage me from the mats below, having smashed harder routes (show offs) I realise I’m no longer the alpha here. The time has come to let go… but not quite yet.