I have four children. I have four very individual children who over the years have given me reason to scream, cry, rant, rave, laugh, hug, giggle, whoop with delight and burst with pride.
Having four, quite close in age (17, 19, 20 & 23), has of course resulted in a fair few moments of extreme high drama over the years. When they were younger the dramas tended to revolve around who had what toy, who was playing with it first and who got Mummy's attention. Straightforward, childlike arguments which I could deal with in a simple, no nonsense way.
As they've gotten older it has become much more complex. More to do with who said what to whom and quite often the way in which things have been said. Having four highly articulate young adults in the house I often feel more like the Head of a debating 'tag' team than their Mother.
I don't have a naughty step or a time out option anymore. Although I will secretly admit to occasional bouts of nostalgia for those simpler times, just to make it easier.
Having said that, here are the good parts, just in case you thought there weren't any.
Because what has emerged is their ability to discuss. To listen and to be heard. To make themselves understood over the maelstrom of many voices. To hold a thought until the right moment. They understand about respecting other's views even if they disagree with them (often!) Their right to hold an opinion and for others to hold a different one (also often!). A realisation that through discussion, even if heated, and believe me, many a time I have left the room just to bang my head in frustration, most situations can be resolved. Either that or they just take the piss out of each other...and agree to disagree!
I sometimes look on in amazement.
They also have the most incredible ability to forgive each other. They don't hold grudges. Ever. Probably an unrealistic view of the world, and the people in it, but I love that about them. Within hours of arguments they will be talking with each other as though nothing had happened. I know they will always have each other to turn to and that makes me very happy...
This is a photo of a photo, having been taken on my old film SLR, so apologies for the quality. But I had to use this one as it's one of my favourite pictures of them together.
This post and photo are for this weeks theme of Children on The Gallery over at Sticky Fingers.
Get clicky on the links and have a look, there are some truly wonderful pictures and posts.