Wednesday, November 09, 2011

The Risk Business

I've been mulling over risk.  I suppose I must be growing, because I have been taking more risks of late, something I've never found easy to do.  I think, if I wrote a list of qualities I would most like to instil in my daughter, an ability to take risks would be high upon it.

I imagine I'm not doing very well on that score, which is exemplified in my pitiful behaviour in playgrounds, which have long since been places of stomach-churning anxiety for me.  I am the mother hovering pathetically close to the climbing frame in order to be there to break my daughter's fall.  I'm the one who can't concentrate on a conversation with another mother if I know Anna-mouse is seven feet up in the air.  I see danger more frequently than is perhaps healthy, and find myself thinking ahead to avert it.

I know, I know:  I can't wrap her up in cotton wool.  I can't stop her from falling.  I can't keep her from pain.

In an attempt to mitigate this over-protectiveness I found myself a year or two ago taking a decision to exemplify the benefits of risk-taking by living a riskier life myself.  Admittedly, I'm not certain that either the risks themselves or the life this has created are altogether working, but you know what?  I'd rather live like this than not: precariously, uncertainly, working towards a future than stuck petrified in the past.

My hope is this: one day, years from now, Anna-mouse will suddenly find the strength in herself to do that thing she is afraid of, take that turning in the road, or that punt on something new, because some tiny part of her remembers how her mother would sometimes turn to her, take her by the hand and say, "Come on, let's do it!  What have we got to lose?"

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