“I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”

Edward Everett Hale

Friday, 20 September 2013

Trusting the System

It has been an eventful week! On Wednesday, my children-no-longer-children and I spent the day at Alton Towers, enjoying a last family day out together before they both go off to university this weekend.

And I was persuaded by my daughter to have a go on the new attraction, a fourteen-loop rollercoaster called The Smiler. From the ground it looked terrifying. But, not wanting to appear a wuss, and not wanting to disappoint her, I joined the queue, which lasted for 50 minutes. During that period, I had plenty of time to regret my decision, as we could watch the ride from below, and people were spending a lot of time upside down, from what I could see. My stomach was full of butterflies, and I really wasn't happy.

image: dailymail.co.uk

Then our turn came. The harness was secured and the ride - which lasted nearly three minutes, which is quite long for a rollercoaster - began.

And yes, I was frightened. As we looped over and under, and round and round I had oodles of time to wonder what would happen if something broke. The only thing that got me through without screaming was the mantra "Trust the system." In other words, I realised that at a place like Alton Towers, safety is paramount, and this was a new ride, which would be maintained to the highest standards. And that therefore I was Quite Safe and in No Danger At All.

And the recognition at the end that the fear is generally worse than the reality, and that I had survived.

This recognition is holding me in good stead now, as I help the children to pack their worldly belongings, in preparation for their departures for university - my daughter on Saturday, my son on Sunday - both freshers. I am, of course, thrilled and delighted that both of them have got into their first choice of uni, and am so happy for them as they start a new phase in their lives.

But my goodness, I'm going to miss them. And of course I'm going to worry about them endlessly in the early days. But I'm hanging on to the knowledge that I can only give them two things - roots to grow and wings to fly (to coin a cliché). And that like when I was on the rollercoaster, I need to trust the system, and have faith that their future reality will be life-enhancing and good, and that I will survive missing them, and look forward to them coming home full of stories about their new lives.

And I know that I am so very lucky - I won't be alone - my beloved husband and cat will still be here. My new reality will be quieter, but not lonely. So I give thanks.

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