If you want to know if someone loves you, have a near-death experience.
Alright, mine was probably never going to be terminal, but I’m happy to say my daughter Ayla loves me. My girls and I were on our evening walk when Ayla decided she wanted to go on a hike.
While the flat surrounds of Echuca-Moama don’t exactly lend themselves to hiking, we have what we call our ‘forest walk’ around the small lake of our estate. We pretend we’re trekking through the forest and make our way to the ‘mystical tree’ — in another world a large white gum on the side of the lake. Opposite that is a small but deceptively steep hill in the middle of the lake, which you reach via a narrow concrete slab bridge.
So, we walked to the top, yelled out “I’m the king of the world” line before triumphantly making our descent. I, however, chose to not descend gracefully. While holding Maya’s hand (my youngest), I started sliding down rapidly, branches and twigs pulling at me as I slid inevitably closer and closer to the water. As my leg plunged into the brown swamp, Ayla screamed: “Don’t drown mummy!” And rushed over to rescue me.
She managed to pull a slightly shaken me out, and with a relieved smile, hugged me tightly. “Are you okay, mummy? You scared me,” she said. “You’re hurt. Do you need a bandage?”
Apart from a bunch of scratches and a bruise on my leg, it was more my pride that was hurt. But the concern on my daughter’s face did show how much she cares for me. Yes, of course I know she loves me, but after listening to “I hate you mum” way too many times, it eventually gets to you.
“Why can’t I have a sleepover mum, everyone else has one, ” Ayla asks. “Because I said so, ” I replied with parental logic. “I hate you mum.” Or, “why can’t I have (sugar-loaded, toxic, preservative filled) Froot Loops?” “Because I said so, ” wondering if she will ever get the message. “You’re the worst mum.” Then, “why do we always buy brown bread? Why can’t I eat (sugar-loaded, toxic, preservative filled) white bread like normal people?” “Because I said so.”
Finally the morning whinge: “Why can’t we watch television while (not) getting ready for school?” “Because you sit there like a zombie with your finger up your nostril while it takes you 10 minutes to put on one sock for God’s sake! “I mean, because I said so.”
Well, you get the picture. I know not to take these things personally, but it’s nice to know I am appreciated once in a while.
Even if I nearly have to drown to find out I am not hated all the time.